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iSchool Researchers Receive Over $750,000 in IMLS Funding

September 28, 2011

iSchool faculty members Xia Lin and Denise Agosto recently received National Leadership Grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The National Leadership Grant Program is designed to support projects that have the potential to advance museum, library and archival practice.

iSchool Associate Professor Denise Agosto is PI on a project that received $378,014 in funding to investigate how teenagers use social web technologies to find information, and to identify key issues and preferences libraries should consider as they try to construct new reference and information services. As online social networking sites increase in popularity, many libraries are establishing identities in these spaces, and are looking for productive ways to leverage new connections with users. Teenagers are a target audience of particular interest to libraries because of their strong affinity for online social networking. Also working on this project is iSchool Assistant Professor Andrea Forte. This research will provide valuable data for use by school libraries and public libraries across the country.

iSchool Professor Xia Lin is PI on a project that was allocated $413,378 to investigate and evaluate ways of improving library and museum searching and social tagging by presenting users with thesauri, taxonomies, and other structured vocabularies as a way to discover relevant content. The aim of this project is to create and test a prototype tool that serves as a mediator between the user and search interfaces, allowing users to search multiple digital collections simultaneously. The prototype will also allow users to create annotations that may be useful to others.

The iSchool will lead this study, with the school's Assistant Professor Weimao Ke and Danuta Nitecki, dean of Libraries and iSchool professor, contributing to this study. The iSchool is also in cooperation with partners at the University at Buffalo, Getty Research Institute, ARTstor, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The results will ultimately be useful to a wide range of museum and library users and can be directly applied by library and museum service providers and search engine designers.

The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

To learn more about the Institute, visit www.imls.gov.

--Susan Haine McDonnell