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iSchools, disaster prep, and privacy at ICADL 2016.

There are more advertised positions than informatics graduates to fill them, according to Ron Larsen (University of Pittsburgh), who gave the first keynote speech, "Seismic Shifts in Professional Librarianship," at the 18th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries (ICADL 2016), held Dec. 5-9, 2016, in Tsukuba, Japan. Quoting statistics on job posting trends for graduates in various categories that he obtained from Indeed (, he said, "Traditional employment areas appear to be flat or declining," while cybersecurity, networking, and computer and information science jobs are increasing. However, library and information science degrees are exceeding the projected demand. He noted that nontraditional employment opportunities are emerging and appear to be increasing, and he displayed trends for information steward, data steward, data governance, and digital curator jobs. Growth rate seems to be the strongest in jobs that didn't exist 5 years ago. He asked, "How might curricula adapt to leverage contemporary needs, opportunities, and realities?" and discussed new iSchools initiatives as an answer.

ICADL 2016 was co-located with the Asia-Pacific Forum of Information Schools (APIS) under the name International Forum 2016 and with the theme Knowledge, Information and Data (KID) in Open Access Society. It featured two thematic sessions, Digital Libraries and Information Schools--Future Directions and Natural Disasters: What KID Can Do in/for It.

All About iSchools

"Collaboration Across Time and Community: Building a Technical Infrastructure" was presented by David Fenske (iSchools' executive director). He noted that the iSchools organization, which was founded in 2005, was the result of a meeting among five deans from Syracuse University, Drexel University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. Its mission is "advancing the information field in the 21st Century." The organization now has 77 institutional members and is expected to grow to about 120 by 2020.

"A Reflection on iSchool Success Factors" was presented by Sam Oh (iSchools' iCaucus chair-elect). He discussed the diverse expertise required in iSchools: IT, organization, architecture and security, user behavior, and data analytics. A core concept is informatics, which he defined as "the study and practice of creating, storing, finding, manipulating, and sharing information." He listed sample job titles of iSchools graduates and programs grouped by their specializations (visualization, interaction design, information management, information organization, cognitive psychology, and social data analytics).

Shigeo Sugimoto (University of Tsukuba), a general co-chair of the International Forum, moderated the Digital Libraries and Information Schools--Future Directions thematic session, which discussed digital libraries and information schools from different viewpoints, such as IT, social and cultural issues, regional differences, and professional communities. The panelists included Chern Li Liew (Victoria University of Wellington), Andreas Rauber (Vienna University of Technology), and Atsuyuki Morishima (University of Tsukuba), who were all co-chairs of ICADL 2016, as well as this article's author, Emil Levine, who represents the Asia Pacific Chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), and Larsen.

Dealing With Disasters

Morishima moderated the Natural Disasters: What KID Can Do in/for It thematic session. "How Web Mapping Services Play an Important Role in Disaster Management" was presented by Nizamuddin (Syiah Kuala University). He was involved in the rehabilitation and reconstruction processes in the Aceh province of Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami (this area coincidentally experienced an earthquake during the conference). He described the work done by Indonesia's Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency to rebuild 140,300 houses and 1,759 schools, as well as roads, bridges, and airports, and the role of digitized geographic information in support of these projects. Munenari Inoguchi (Shizuoka University) presented "How to Realize Effective and Rational Decision Making in Disrupted Society at Disaster--A Keyword is 'Intelligence.'" He displayed a Disaster Response Process Model that showed processes (disorientation, protect life, restore social flow, reconstruct social stock, and planning/logisties) over a period of 1 hour to multiple years. Sebastien Penmellen Boret (Tohoku University and the University of Oxford) presented "Tsunami Digital Archives: KID, Disaster Education and Sustainable Societies" and discussed the March 11, 2011, tsunami in Japan. He praised the concept of crowdsourcing in recruiting experts for assistance.

Although they were not part of the thematic panel, others covered the same topic. Liew presented a firsthand account of her experience during the earthquake in New Zealand in November 2016, including teaching her course in digital collection without the use of a computer. Feili Tu-Keefner (University of South Carolina) presented "The Value of Public Libraries During a Major Flooding: How Digital Resources Can Enhance Health and Disaster Preparedness in Local Communities." She discussed the role of local libraries after the severe flood in South Carolina in October 2015. She investigated their legitimacy as partners in public health during and after such disasters. She found that the internet was predominantly used and that social media was a main channel for real-time information services. However, many people in the community did not have internet service and came to the library for help. Major findings were that public libraries are not fully prepared to provide essential information to adult users and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not realize the low literacy skills of some community members.

Privacy Papers

Two papers concentrated on the topic of privacy. "When Personal Data Becomes Open Data: An Exploration of Lifelogging, User Privacy, and Implications for Privacy Literacy," by Zablon Pingo and Bhuva Narayan (University of Technology Sydney), traced the concept of privacy from 1890 (starting with Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis' "The Right to Privacy" article in the Harvard. Law Review) to the recent Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) activities. Pingo noted that the "onus of privacy is often on the consumer or user" and his research asks, "Do users understand the eventual use and implications of their personnel data?" Research to date shows a lack of user understanding of these implications, alarm that data can be shared with insurance companies and other entities, and admission that terms and conditions concerning privacy are often not read.

"Current Situation and Countermeasures of the Legal Protection of Digital Archives Users' Privacy in China," by Zhang Jing and Lin Jiaping (Sun Yat-sen University), expressed a concern for the privacy of the information provided in order to use public websites. Sites will automatically record the user's IP address, access time, and results. The Qingdao Digital Archives requires a user's name, gender, age, identity, ID number, address, email address, education level, occupation, and other data. Jing and Jiaping noted, however, that the Qingdao Digital Archives makes it clear in its service terms that "respect of user's privacy is a basic policy of this site. ... [T]he site will not open, edit or disclose the non-public contents that saved in this site without user's legal authority." They quoted specific penalties in Chinese law related to privacy and recommended further legal measures.

Other Noteworthy Presentations

"The Rise and Fall of the Wonder Okinawa Digital Archive: Comparing Japanese and American Conceptualizations of Digital Archives," by Andrew Wertheimer and Noriko Asato (University of Hawaii), presented a case study of a failed digitalization program that cost about $13.5 million and discussed the lessons learned. The paper analyzed the causes of the failure and explored some key differences between the conceptual model of digital archives in Japan and North America. Wertheimer said, "Perhaps our most critical point is that no librarians or archivists seemed to be part of the Wonder Okinawa team." He listed a variety of contractual and intellectual property issues that contributed to the failure. Discussing a unique application of the digitization of multiperspective spoken-word content, Douglas Oard (University of Maryland) described initial experiments in processing tens of thousands of hours of multichannel audio of the Apollo missions to the moon and the development of special devices and software, including retrieval, to support the project.

The International Forum 2016 included a Doctoral Consortium of 20 presentations by attendees from four countries and nine universities. They covered topics such as information behavior, libraries and the information environment, digitization and data acquisition, web and large document sets, and community and policymaking.

"Rule Based Page Segmentation for Palm Leaf Manuscript on Color Image," by Papangkorn Inkeaw (Chiang Mai University) and others, was selected as the best student paper. Inkeaw noted that palm leaf manuscripts are an important source of history, but multiple, unsegmented palm leaf images make it difficult to manage an optical character recognition (OCR) process. He developed a new process for digitizing such images. He was awarded a student membership in ASIS&T by its Asia Pacific Chapter (which also sponsored a social event and held a chapter meeting during the conference).

In Summary

Since its first meeting in Hong Kong in 1998, ICADL has provided a forum for digital library research in Asia and around the world. The conference explores digital libraries as a broad foundation for interaction with information and information management in the networked information society.

Eighteen full papers, 17 short work-in-progress papers, and seven short practitioner papers were presented (from a submission total of 80 from 16 countries), as well as three keynote speeches. Conference proceedings are located at

iConference, iSchools' annual event, will take place March 22-25, 2017, in Wuhan, China (ischools .org/the-iconference). A joint Asia-Pacific Conference on Library & Information Education and Practice (A-LIEP)/ICADL meeting will be held at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Nov. 13-15, 2017.

Emil Levine is an American information science and library consultant living in Vienna. He has been a member of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) for 40 years. Send your comments about this article to

Caption: Katsumi Tanaka (Graduate School of Informatics at Kyoto University) gave one of the keynote speeches, "Can 'Big Data Learning' Enhance information Retrieval and Content Production?"

Caption: David Fenske

Caption: Papangkorn Inkeaw (center) was given the award for best student paper for 'Rule Based Page Segmentation for Palm Leaf Manuscript on Color Image." Left to right Jose Miguel Baptista Nunes (ASIS&TAsia Pacific Chapter chair-elect), Christopher Khoo (chair), Inkeaw, Emil Levine (chapter advisor), and Songphan Choemprayong (treasurer).

Caption: Shigeo Sugimoto

Caption: Feili Tu-Keefner

Caption: Douglas Oard

Caption: Zablon Pingo
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Author:Levine, Emil
Publication:Information Today
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Mar 1, 2017
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