Category: SLIS News

Faculty Spotlight – September 2020

SLIS Director Dr. James Elmborg was elected co-chair of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Council of Deans, Directors, and Program Chairs for 2020-2021. ALISE is a non-profit organization that serves as the intellectual home of faculty, staff, and students in library and information science, and associated disciplines. It promotes innovation and excellence internationally through leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and dissemination of scholarship.


Dr. Jamie Naidoo presented “Diversifying Library Services via Inclusive Spaces, Programs, and Collections” as part of the Jefferson County Public Library Association’s (JCPLA) Staff Appreciation Week at the Birmingham Public Library in September 2020.


Dr. Steven Yates was a featured speaker for the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Virtual Conference on September 26. He presented “Titans for Advocacy: Building Your Publicity Plan for Success.”

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!

Student Spotlight – September 2020

At UA SLIS, it is always exciting when current students have scholarly work published and presented in academic venues. Two current MLIS students, Laura Langberg and Tara Peace, have both recently had their work from previous classes published. MLIS student Valeria Dávila Gronros recently presented at a virtual summit convened by the Library of Congress.

Laura’s article was recently published in the Serials Librarian. Titled ” Espaanol & Inglaes: Reinforcing English Hegemony in Library Information Systems,” her work was originally written for Dr. Sweeney’s class on Race, Gender and Sexuality in Fall 2019. Laura’s article “investigates the ways in which libraries codify and replicate English-centric practices by exploring encoding and acquisitions to begin to uncover for whom libraries are meant to serve through a qualitative literature analysis.” Langberg’s article can be found here.

Tara’s article was published on the Library History Round Table News and Notes website, the blog of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association. Her work was written for Dr. Steven Yates’s class, Information in Communities, in Fall 2019. Tara’s paper, “Librarianship and Neutrality: Thoughts on the Core Values of  Diversity and Social Responsibility” examines neutrality in librarianship and how it interacts with the American Library Association core values of diversity and social responsibility. Peace’s article can be found here.

Valeria Dávila Gronros recently co-presented at the “I\V/A\V: Informal Virtual Audio Visual Summit” online on September 15, 2020. The presentation was centered on accessibility to information and making information more accessible to others. Valeria has participated the “No Time To Wait” symposium and has been translating the content of the symposium’s video recordings to Spanish. The symposium’s video presentations are made available every year through YouTube, and Valeria and her co-presenter Joanna White have both been translating and editing auto-generated caption content by using the “community contributions” tool that YouTube plans to discontinue by September 28, 2020. Valeria and her co-presenter talked about their work and how the move to terminate community contributions might affect people relying on this tool, creating an equity issue. A recording of their presentation can be found here by accessing Session 2 of the I\V/A\V content.

Congratulations to Laura, Tara, and Valeria!

Archival Studies Community Partner Panel Discussion

– Alexandra Smith, (MLIS ’18): Digital Archivist, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
– Kevin Bailey, (Archival Studies Certificate ’20): Digital Archives and Collections Coordinator, UA Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society
– Bob Friedman: Founder/Director, Birmingham Black Radio Museum
– Dr. Alan Blum, MD: UA Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society

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!