Deborah Garwood and Alex Poole Named Finalists for Best Short Research Paper Award at iConference 2021

Drexel University College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) doctoral student Deborah Garwood and Assistant Professor Alex Poole, PhD were named runners-up for Best Short Research Paper Award by the planning committee of the 16th annual iConference 2021 (March 17 to 31, 2021).

The goal of the Short Research Papers track is to encourage the iConference community to present new, provocative and cross-cutting themes in a short paper submission limited to 3,000 words.

Garwood and Poole's paper, titled “Case Study on COVID-19 and Archivists’ Information Work,” presents preliminary findings from an exploratory, qualitative case study of archivists working in Philadelphia and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The case study brings the literature on information work (IW) to bear for the first time on archives and special collections repositories.

The researchers gathered empirical interview data on archivists’ information work at five medical history collections, pre- and post- pandemic onset. The resulting data suggests that institutional and personal conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic prompted archivists to change their information work tasks in phases, first shifting office tasks to remote work under quarantine, then to hybrid work contexts.

Garwood and Poole also explored an information work model (including work purposes, work tasks and work roles) which shows how tasks of collection management, reference services, and outreach constitute the context and purpose for archivists’ information work. Additionally, the paper details how hybrid work tasks and hybrid work contexts emerged.

Poole was also named a finalist in the Best Short Research Paper track for his paper titled "Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Library and Information Science through Community-Based Learning." His paper argues for the usefulness of Community-Based Learning (CBL) as a vehicle to promote demographic diversity, equity and inclusion in Library and Information Science and iSchool education. The paper discusses its methodological approach through a qualitative case study, and also reviews the literature on diversity, experiential learning and Community-Based Learning (CBL). It also provides an overview of how Drexel CCI is implementing community-based learning in a novel way, namely by embracing data science and design thinking in its pedagogical approach to a new three courses as part of a twelve credit post-baccalaureate certificate in Community-based Librarianship.

The iConference series is presented by the iSchools, a worldwide association of Information Schools dedicated to advancing the information field, and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. This year’s iConference was hosted virtually by Renmin University School of Information Resource Management.

Other Drexel CCI faculty participating in this year’s iConference include Assistant Teaching Professor Tim Gorichanaz, PhD (“The Information and Contemplation Salon” workshop session; short research paper, "How the Intellectually Humble Seek and Use Information"), and Professor Il-Yeol Song, PhD (“Curriculum Committee Reports: Data Science & Digital Humanities” special presentation session).

Since 2005, the iConference series has provided forums in which information scholars, researchers and professionals share their insights on critical information issues in contemporary society. Learn more at

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