Category: Book Arts News

Faculty Spotlight – December 2020

Professor Sarah Bryant has been named a 2021-2022 Faculty Fellow of the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative (CARI). According to the press release, “These fellows will participate in a collaborative arts research community for the next two years. The CARI Faculty Fellowship aims to help fellows diversify the impact of their work and to develop new interdisciplinary research.” Learn more about CARI fellowship here.

Dr. Bharat Mehra is a featured speaker in a workshop on December 16 offered by the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and Naseej Academy. Titled, “Webinar on Infodemic, Info-Vaccine and Libraries during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the event also features library leaders from Kent State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Jeff Weddle’s book Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press is being reissued in paperback. Initially published in 2007, the hard cover book was published through the University Press of Mississippi. More information on the title can be found here. Dr. Weddle also has a brand-new publication that should be available in the coming month. A poetry collection, There’s More To It Than That, is being published by Poetic Justice Books.

Student Spotlight – MFA and MLIS Thesis Defenses

SLIS is proud to celebrate two students who recently completed public defenses of their thesis projects.

Eric Coleman, MFA Book Arts student, defended his thesis on October 2. Titled “Year, Make & Model,” Eric’s project parallels his journey in printmaking, saying, “it’s the culmination of my work with vehicle restoration. It highlights the cars & relationships throughout a ten-year period of my life. This book is not only a glimpse into the inner workings of my psyche, but it’s a world that most may not consider.” Eric’s thesis committee was chaired by Prof. Anna Embree. Coleman will be graduate in December 2020. Join us in wishing congratulations to Eric for a successful thesis defense!

On October 19, Juliana Mestre successfully defended her MLIS thesis entitled, “A Derridean Reclamation of Hospitality in Library and Information Science.” A work of information theory, this thesis uses philosophical deconstruction to argue that learning to embrace hospitality’s irreducible paradoxes provides a model for how library practitioners can, through discourse, continue to serve patrons authentically despite other seemingly unresolvable conflicts in professional values. Juliana’s thesis committee was chaired by Dr. John Burgess. Mestre will graduate with her MLIS in December 2020 and intends to pursue a PhD in LIS. Congratulations to Juliana on this great accomplishment!

Faculty Spotlight – Summer Recap

Faculty and students at UA SLIS persevered beyond unexpected challenges in summer 2020 and continued to produce research and creative activity in a variety of venues.

On June 6, Prof. Sarah Bryant released a book project called Read This Out Loud in response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. This book is a downloadable template that is available through her website alongside detailed binding video tutorials. The purpose of the project is to enable anyone to participate in the production and dissemination of this book, a list of names of almost 2,000 Black people killed by police between the years 2013 and 2019. This book was distributed for free in the local community and across the United States. The book template has been downloaded nearly 1,000 times. The San Francisco Center for the Book staged a book binding event for it on September 1 and German artists Birgit Nielsen and Ann Carolin Renninger adapted Prof. Bryant’s work to include victims of racism and right-wing violence in Germany, where they staged a binding event on September 9 and 10.

Dr. Steven MacCall presented in July at the LD4 Conference on Linked Data in Libraries. The conference had originally been scheduled for May 2020 at College Station, Texas; however, the ever-present threat of COVID-19 prevented maintaining the original schedule and plan of events. Delivered virtually, Dr. MacCall presented in the “digital collections” track of the conference with his presentation titled “Data-Driven Semantic DAM Indexing Incorporating Statistical Play-by-play Game Logs: A Linked Data Application using Wikibase from the 2017 Football Season of the Alabama Crimson Tide.” The objective of this project was “to demonstrate how statistical play-by-play datasets generated by loggers during college football games could be incorporated into a semantic indexing process for photos and video clips captured during those games.” The YouTube recording of his presentation can be found here.

Dr. Bharat Mehra had several co-authored articles published in various academic journals. “Framing a Discussion on Paradigm Shift(s) in the Field of Information” was published in the Journal of the Association of Information Science and Technology and can be accessed here. Dr. Mehra also co-authored “An ‘Owning Up’ of White-IST Trends in LIS to Further Real Transformations,” published in The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy and “Scenarios of Technology Use to Promote Community Engagement: Overcoming Marginalization and Bridging Digital Divides in the Southern and Central Appalachian Rural Libraries” in a special issue of Information Processing & Management. The link to the later article can be found here.

Dr. Miriam Sweeney, along with collaborators Dr. Todd Freeborn (UA’s College of Engineering) and Dr. Claire Major (UA’s College of Education), received a $299,997 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project “Using Problem-Based Learning to Increase the Ethical Reasoning Skills of Electrical and Computer Engineering Students.” Read more about the project on Dr. Sweeney’s site here.

Congratulations SLIS faculty!

SLIS Faculty Present at Faculty Research Day

Several SLIS faculty presented at the 2020 UA Faculty Research Day. This event is held to display and commend excellence in research, creativity, and scholarship by uniting faculty from across campus. Faculty Research Day is also aimed at increasing awareness of faculty research and to foster enthusiasm among faculty, as the University of Alabama prides itself on being a world-class research institution. Due to the threat of COVID-19, this year’s exhibition was held virtually. Prof. Sarah Bryant, Dr. Steven MacCall, and Dr. Steven Yates were all recipients of Research Grant Committee (RGC) grants that were highlighted in poster presentations.

Prof. Sarah Bryant’s research poster, “Color Cards Artist Book,” received a 2019 RGC grant. The focus of Prof. Bryant’s research was on “the history and binding structures of 20th century color cards, sample books, and mixing guides.” The intent of the research was to “design, print, and bind a limited-edition artist book using the visual and structural formats used in the production of swatch books.” Prof. Bryant’s poster can be viewed here.

Dr. Steven MacCall also won a 2019 RGC grant. Dr. MacCall’s research, “Investigation of a Data-Driven Indexing Method for Multimedia Asset Collection in Sports: Phase I: How Much Data Can Be Recovered from Alabama Football History?,” aimed at “contributing to the development of a data-driven method for indexing multimedia asset collections documenting sports games by incorporating play-by-play statistical datasets including play data recovered from the historical record.” The purpose of the research was to determine how much data could be recovered from historical data sources of football play-by-play data, specifically from typewritten game logs from the 1992 season and newspaper accounts of games from the 1961 season. Dr. MacCall’s poster can be viewed here.

Dr. Steven Yates received a 2018 RGC grant. Dr. Yates’s poster presentation, titled “School Libraries, Standards, and the Summer Slide: One Public School District’s Approach,” examined the “presence of standards-based activity in the summer library program for an Alabama public school district over time.” The purpose of this research was to “document a public schools system’s school library operations outside of the  school calendar year, specifically during the summer months” and “how a public school system implements the National School Library Standards” per the American Association of School Librarians in 2018. Dr. Yates’s poster can be viewed here.

Congratulations to these faculty members on their research and we are proud to have them represent SLIS so well!