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Project: Linnaeus University as a unique iSchool

The core idea of this project is to establish a unique iSchool (information School) at Linnaeus University. An iSchool refers to university-level research and education in the information field (iField) which relies on interdisciplinary approaches to enrich and facilitate generation, transfer and curation of data, information, and knowledge by the widespread use of technology in order to maximize the potential of humans. "The information field is widely recognized for creating innovative systems and desThe core idea of this project is to establish a unique iSchool (information School) at Linnaeus University. An iSchool refers to university-level research and education in the information field (iField) which relies on interdisciplinary approaches to enrich and facilitate generation, transfer and curation of data, information, and knowledge by the widespread use of technology in order to maximize the potential of humans. "The information field is widely recognized for creating innovative systems and designing information solutions that benefit individuals, organizations, and society. iSchool graduates will fill the personnel and leadership needs of organizations of all types and sizes; and our areas of research and inquiry will attract strong support and have profound impacts on society and on the formulation of policy from local to international levels" (iSchools Organization).

NEWS

  • On 20 November 2017 a formation of LNU iSchool announced by the vice chancellor, in the form of an institute. Read more about it at: https://lnu.se/en/iinstitute
  • 16 November 2017: "Linnaeus University closer to becoming an iSchool" -- The iSchool initiative at Linnaeus University has received funding during 2018 to explore the potential for establishing an iSchool at the university. Koraljka Golub says that the evaluation given by executive director, Michael Seadle, Dean of Faculty of Arts at Humboldt University, and iSchools' Chair-elect, Sam Oh, Head of School at Library & Information Science and Data Science Department, Sungkyunkwan University, was indeed positive; the model of an iSchool which brings together educational programmes and research nodes with colleagues coming from all five faculties was considered a rather unique way of building an iSchool, with all the benefits that may arise from such an interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral environment. Read full article at: https://lnu.se/en/meet-linnaeus-university/current/news/2017/linnaeus-university-edging-closer-to-become-an-ischool/.
  • 13 November 2017: Seminar "Emerging Information Field, iSchools Organisation, and Potential for Linnaeus University" -- The seminar will be held at 14:00-15.30 (H1210, Växjö) featuring Michael Seadle, Executive Director of iSchools; Dean of Faculty of Arts, Humboldt University and Sam Oh, iCaucus Chair-elect; Head of School, Library & Information Science and Data Science Department, Sungkyunkwan University. The recorded video of the seminar is available at: https://connect.sunet.se/p92gwguambp/. Presentations by Sam Oh & Michael SeadlePoster.
  • 22-25 March 2017: 12th Annual iSchool Conference at Wuhan University -- Koraljka Golub participated at the 12th annual conference of the iSchools organization in March 2017 at Wuhan University under the theme "Effect, Expand, Evolve: Global Collaboration Across the Information Community." Koraljka Golub got specific counseling about the admission requirements for LNU's iSchool institute in forming. The discussions concerned the organization, staff and funding requirements, and also possibilities to build interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral programmes, and the following advantages of being accepted was noted: externally, for international recognition and access to collaborative opportunities in the field and the non-academic sector; internally, for strengthening collaboration with other programs and departments. Also, contacts were established that further the development of the iSchool at LNU and collaboration at international levels, and this was also noted in external media (EContentXTRA, April 25, 2017). The iConference of 2018 themed "Transforming Digital Worlds", will be hosted by the Information School at the University of Sheffield and the iSchool at Northumbria University in the UK, March 25 to 28, 2018.

What is an iSchool?

The iSchools Organization today involves over 70 prestigious universities from around the world such as: University of California, Berkeley; University College London; University of California, Los Angeles; Cornell University; Carnegie Mellon University; University of British Columbia; University of Hong Kong; Humboldt University of Berlin, to mention a few of those ranked among the top 50 universities in the world. The University of Washington was one of the first iSchools that was instrumental in developing the iSchools movement into what it is today. Each of the iSchools offers:

  1. At least several Master degrees in, for example, Data Science, Bioinformatics, E-Health, Knowledge Management, Business Informatics, Information Architecture, Digital Libraries, Information Systems, Library Management, Information Management etc.
  2. Conducts extensive research in these fields for which considerable external funding has been received.

Why an iSchool at the Linnaeus University?

Linnaeus University holds significant potential to become a unique iSchool for three major reasons:

  1. Interdisciplinarity-wise, education programmes in many of existing iSchools seem to still put a large focus on just one or two disciplines, rather than actually harnessing the power of interdisciplinary approaches. In the region most relevant to ours, all three Scandinavian iSchools (Borås, Copenhagen, Oslo) seem to be focused on Library and Information Science only. Linnaeus University has proven its interdisciplinary collaborations on examples like the Digital Humanities Initiative which is also proposing an interdisciplinary Master programme, or the Data Intensive Sciences Centre of Excellence.
  2. Cross-sector-wise, existing iSchools do not seem to involve external sectors to a large degree. Linnaeus University, as seen from the Innovations Master, Digital Humanities and Data Intensive Sciences initiatives, offers a rather unique potential for cross-sectoral collaborations, for example through student project / theses work on topics that need addressing in the external private and public sector.
  3. If we, in addition, build on our international contacts at more renown universities, and advertise our programmes as truly interdisciplinary, cross-sector, and, taught in collaboration with prestigious international universities, the predictable return on investment would be considerable as all EU students could study for free and other students would be offered to study at a lower cost than at American or British iSchools, while getting a unique education. As such, compared to Data Intensive Sciences and Digital Humanities initiatives, far-reaching as they are, the iSchool initiative could involve even more departments, work on a bigger range of projects relevant to society, and create more attractive university and professional courses and inter(national) programmes at (under)graduate levels with various specialisations. International collaboration with the universities that joined the iSchools organisation generally, and with the Nordic Hub of iSchools particularly could ensue in further possibilities. The unique iSchool at LNU would give us students, international collaboration possibilities with renown universities, resulting in new research and funding possibilities with a significant return on investment. The prestige gained would spill over to basic bread and butter programmes that all universities have.

Project goals

University in the region and beyond, based on which a strategy for future actions would be defined. In order to better understand the niche for Linnaeus Universiity, a survey of existing iSchools in the world needs to be conducted. Similarly, in order to understand the potential of Linnaeus University, existing research and educational activities need to be determined. In order to bring in international and external sector partners and further identify possibilities, a network with potential partners for education and research in the iField would be built. Finally, a workshop would be organized where all interested parties could take part and discuss further steps. Applications for further funding would be also written and submitted.

Our long-term vision is to create a leading education, development and research regional centre that combines in novel ways already existing expertise from different Linnaeus University departments and faculties working in close collaboration and co-creation with relevant stakeholders from the surrounding society. Addressing future societal challenges would be possible by highly skilled professionals whose education has been markedly enhanced by practice-informed education and joint, cross-sector innovation. Strategic values to be developed during these efforts refer to uniting and consolidating the expertise we already have to create new constellations for collaboration leading to new knowledge and products (expertise, education, research, public and commercial services relevant for the region, such as a cultural tourism industry perspective), resulting in a return on investment.

Project time plan

The project plan includes five related activities during 2017, with the main goal to understand the niche and potential for Linnaeus University in the region and beyond, based on which a strategy for future actions would be defined.

1. Perform a survey of existing iSchools in the world in order to define the niche for Linnaeus University iSchool

  • Implementation mode: an examination of the ischools.org website, and of websites by all iSchools.
  • Partners: all are invited to take part, lead: Koraljka Golub and Joacim Hansson.
  • Output: a project report with an overview of iSchools' research and educational programmes.

Time frame: January to November 2017.

2. Perform a survey of Linnaeus University for existing programmes and projects in the iField

  • Implementation mode: an email and / or in-person discussion with programme responsibles / heads of departments at LNU.
  • Partners: all are invited to take part, lead: Koraljka Golub.
  • Output: a project report with an overview of LNU's research and programmes related to the iField.

Time frame: January to November 2017.

3. Create an international, cross-sector network with potential partners for education and research in the iField

  • Implementation mode: attending the yearly iSchools conference, email discussions with potential partners, in-person meetings with IEC representatives.
  • Partners: all are invited to take part, lead: Koraljka Golub and Joacim Hansson.
  • Output: a web site and a mailing list.

Time frame: January to December 2017.

4. Organize a workshop with international project advisors

  • Implementation mode: one-day workshop with Sam Oh, iSchool Caucus Chair-Elect, and all interested parties. Combine with a half-day workshop on EU funding possibilities and proposal writing with Anna Kivilehto, EU Grants Advisor, Linnaeus University.
  • Partners: all are invited to take part, lead: Koraljka Golub and Joacim Hansson.
  • Output: a more complete picture of the future strategy.

Time frame: October to December 2017.

5. Define a strategy for the future

  • Implementation mode: based on input from WP1-WP4, write a project report with guidelines for future strategy and apply for further funding.
  • Partners: all are invited to take part, lead: Koraljka Golub.
  • Output: project report defining future strategy including project proposals.

Time frame: October – December 2017.

Project leaders

  • Koraljka Golub, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities; 
  • Joacim Hansson, Professor, Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities; 
  • Welf Löwe, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Technology; 
  • Marcelo Milrad, Professor, Department of Media Technology, Faculty of Technology.

Prospective project partners

Prospective collaborative partners among faculties and the wider community are as follows:

From Linnaeus University.

Koraljka Golub, Associate Professor, project leader (Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities);
Joacim Hansson, Professor, project leader, Department of Cultural Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities;
Welf Löwe, Professor, project leader, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Technology;
Marcelo Milrad, Professor, project leader, Department of Media Technology, Faculty of Technology;
Soniya Billore, Senior Lecturer, advisory board member, Department of Marketing, School of Business and Economics;
Annelie Ekelin, Senior Lecturer, advisory board member, Department of Media and Journalism, Faculty of Arts and Humanities; and,
Anna Kivilehto, European Grants Advisor, advisory board member, Grants and Innovations Office.

Supportive partners at Linnaeus University

The Global Classroom

Organizations and companies

Information Engineering Centre (IEC) with over 200 IT companies;
Imma Subirats Coll, United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization; and,
Fredrik Gunnarsson and Helena Victor, Kalmar County Museum.

Selected expert researchers from ASIST5 and iSchools' organisations as advisors:

iSchools Organisation:

Sam Oh, Professor, iSchool Caucus Chair-Elect, iSchool at Sungkyungwan University;
Andrew Dillon, Dean, School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin
Jack Andersen, Associate Professor, iSchool at University of Copenhagen;
Christine L. Borgman, Distinguished Professor & Presidential Chair in Information Studies, Director, UCLA Center for Knowledge Infrastructures; iSchool at UCLA;
Andrew Cox, Senior Lecturer, iSchool at Sheffield University;
Marija Dalbello, Associate Professor, iSchool at Rutgers University;
Ying-Hsang Liu, Lecturer, iSchool at Charles Sturt University;
Kim Tallerås, PhD candidate, iSchool at Oslo University; and,
Joseph T. Tennis, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Information School at the University of Washington.

Others

Theresa Anderson, Associate Professor, Connected Intelligence Centre, University of Technology Sydney;
Tatjana Aparac Jelusic, Distinguished Professor, University of Zadar;
Isto Huvila, Professor, Uppsala University; and,
Fidelia Ibekwe-SanJuan, Professor, Aix-Marseille University.