FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2023
Conference: International Conference on Digital Preservation (iPRES 2023) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA
It is a great honour for me to have my first peer-reviewed conference paper accepted by iPRES 2023, the foremost conference in the field of digital preservation. I had the privilege of presenting my work, “Preserving Online Journalistic Content in Disruptive Times: The Case of Collection.news,” at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on September 19, 2023.
Attending the conference as both a first-time attendee and presenter was truly enlightening. The conference delved into numerous topics within the field, providing me with an invaluable opportunity to deepen my understanding of professional practices, innovative technologies, and emerging challenges in the sector. As a presenter, I focused on the nuances of memory preservation under challenging circumstances. This presentation not only aligned with the conference’s theme but also, I hope, expanded the attendees’ comprehension of censorship and its countermeasures. The constructive feedback I received during my session has given me fresh perspectives, prompting me to consider my topic from broader and more holistic angles.
One of the key takeaways from the conference was the opportunity to network. I was fortunate to meet experts from around the globe, each bringing their unique backgrounds to the table. Through these conversations, I was apprised of the latest developments in digital preservation across various sectors – from libraries to software companies, community organizations, and national bodies. These interactions have undoubtedly paved the way for potential future collaborations across these domains.
Conner White (Formally Natasha White)
Conference: Seventh European Congress on World and Global History in The Hague, Netherlands
From June 29th to July 1st, I had the privilege of participating in the Seventh European Congress on World and Global History organized by the European Network in Universal and Global History. This year’s congress, under the theme “Conflict and Inequity, Peace and Justice: Local, Regional and International Perspectives”, was convened in the city of The Hague in the Netherlands. As The Hague is the international city of peace and justice, being able to present and attend other panels on these topics in such a historic city was a wonderful experience.
In my three days in The Hague, I was able to listen to a variety of panels which explored topics such as imperial policy in the Hispanic World, political imaginations of equality and justice, forensics as a tool of knowledge and justice, and peasant societies in the network of global capitalism. I also had the pleasure of presenting my ongoing research on the treatment of Alaskan Natives by Russian and the United States.
The opportunity enabled me to meet and discuss with scholars in the fields of sociology, anthropology, forensics, history, and information studies as well as get feedback on my own research. Much of the advice provided by senior scholars during this conference will help me better myself as a young academic.
Conference: Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) 48th annual conference in Charlottetown, PEI
At the end of June, I attended the ACA’s conference in Charlottetown, PEI where I listened to presentations and gave my own on the impact of war on Ukrainian cultural institutions. Attending this conference connected me with several Ukrainian heritage professionals who offered profound insights that expanded my research focus if I decide to pursue Ukrainian cultural institutions for further research. The conference’s presentations and social events also allowed me to develop professional connections with a wide range of archivists. This included provincial and university archivists who encouraged me to think about academic publishing and other emerging archivists who had recently begun their professional careers in the field. I enjoyed connecting with other emerging archivists since they had just recently been in my shoes as a student and were able to offer great advice on how to navigate the archival world after graduation. This is the beauty of national conferences since this one allowed me to connect with archivists from Newfoundland, Yukon, British Columbia, and many more whom I would have otherwise not known about. It helped me feel like I was part of a bigger community beyond the region of southern Ontario. This diversity was also reflected in the talks I attended, including discussions on accessibility, truth and reconciliation, and outreach. One of my most impactful takeaways was a speaker’s emphasis on finding moments of ‘archival joy’ – something that makes you happy in the archives and sharing them with others. A concept that can get buried under all the challenges that archives face.
Conference: Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) 51st annual conference in Mexico City, Mexico
I am a curator and emerging librarian eager to learn more about art librarianship. I was excited to come across the ARLIS/NA (Art Libraries Society of North America) annual conference as it provided the opportunity to network with emerging and established art librarians while taking part in conversations relevant to the field. While I am also interested in attending the ALA conference, I was very grateful to be able to have space to further delve into my specialization as an art librarian.
Likewise, as a student that is focusing in both Library & Information Sciences and Archives and Records Management, I was very pleased by how many of the sessions also focused on archiving and the GLAM sector more broadly. Attending sessions, I learned from a diverse range of professionals who work in academic art libraries as well as museums and galleries. Some of my favourite sessions included “Perspectives in Black Memory Work” and “Visual activism and performance” – both of which connected information management to social experiences and affect . The conference also provided practical workshops, keynote speaker events, and exhibitors – all of which I took advantage of by making connections and learning more about possible work and research opportunities in the field. Of note, most of the colleagues that I met worked in the US. This was interesting because they oftentimes had more private funding which posed opportunities and challenges. That being said, going forward I am going to make an effort to connect with more ARLIS/NA members based in Canada as well so that I can learn more about the art librarianship opportunities in Canada. The conference organizers encouraged me to join their planning committees and attend next year, I am excited to do so.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Fall 2022
Research: Information behaviour, hobby campers
I am completing my Master of Information thesis, “Information Outdoors: Exploring the Information Behaviour of Hobby Campers,” under the supervision of Dr. Jenna Hartel. Hobby campers engage with a variety of sources and forms of information before, during, and after each camping trip in which they participate. My thesis explores the information behaviour of hobby campers during each stage, and employs qualitative, exploratory methods including interviews with ten research participants. Drawing from the Serious Leisure Perspective, my research adds a new context, that of Ontario-based hobby camping, to the study of information in hobby activity participation. I am grateful for the FIAA’s support toward this research.
Thanks to the support of the FIAA grant, I am able to cover the costs associated with my research. These costs include compensating my participants for their time and acquiring necessary materials to deepen my understanding of the research process. With this support, I have been able to conduct research directly with camping participants. This has given me a better opportunity to assess different forms of information within this social hobby setting. The FIAA Grant has allowed me to gain further experience in conducting research of this type as I move toward completing my thesis.
Research: Information behaviour, life coaching
I am completing my masters’ thesis, “The Information Behaviours of Life Coaching Clients”, under the supervision of Dr. Jenna Hartel. My project is exploratory and utilizes mixed methods to understand the information dimensions of life coaching clients in online membership. This is an original contribution to the Information Behaviour literature.
My project is progressing well! In January, I completed ten interviews with life coaching clients. In February, I finished transcription of these interviews. The funding that I was offered has been allocated in two ways. First, I purchased coffee shop gift cards for the interview participants in my research project. This was appropriate, and well-received, compensation for my participants’ time. Second, I subscribed to Otter.ai, a digital transcription service, for three months. I am grateful for this service as it has enabled me to complete transcription—a laborious task—within the timeline that I outlined in my proposal.
If I continue to meet the goals on my timeline, I will defend my thesis in September 2023. Presently, I am considering submitting my “work in progress” on this project to the Association for Library and Information Science Education conference in October. This knowledge mobilization is possible because of the generous support of the FIAA committee. Thank you!
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2022
Helen Jingshu Yao
Conference: Museums as Spaces of Cultural Translation and Transfer, Tartu, Estonia
I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to attend the “Museums as Spaces of Cultural Translation and Transfer” conference hosted by the University of Tartu College of Foreign Languages and Cultures in Estonia. I presented the research paper “Translators, tools, and two-way-streets,” with my co-author, Faculty of Information Ph.D. candidate, Natalia Toronchuk.
The paper is a case study of my experience volunteering for a community-based project as a translator. Usually, my role in a project like this was from the institution’s perspective, however, for the purpose of this paper, I analyzed my role as a community collaborator, which exposed me to a point of view that I might not have as a museum professional. I was able to gain a better understanding of community collaboration and community-centred heritage projects. I was reminded of the importance of diversifying the museum workforce so that the museum environment could be more comfortable and accessible for the community members they serve.
This experience helped me combine my theoretical learning with my experience working in the museum field and gave me the opportunity to explore different perspectives. It was also a great learning opportunity, especially the process of collaborating with another author who has similar interests but is more advanced in her academic career. I felt encouraged to continue pursuing my research in future education to build on and expand my current work.
Conference: Oxonmoot 2022 at the University of Oxford, England
Christina is currently a Master of Information student at the University of Toronto. Her research interests includes natural language processing, computational literary analysis, and information architectures of digital humanities resources. Her greatest hope is that her research leads to equitable, anti-racist, and inclusive communities within academic libraries. You can find her past and current work via her ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0938-9836.
In early September 2022, I was fortunate enough to attend the Oxonmoot 2022 conference at the University of Oxford, England, which was hosted by the Tolkien Society. I presented a talk and a workshop on computational approaches to literary analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works; this conference focuses especially on introducing new approaches and perspectives to the field. It was also exciting for me to hear from other researchers bringing gothic, statistical, and post-colonial approaches to the literature. My talk, titled Towards Tolkien research with computational literary analysis, gave a brief overview of what computational methods could work in Tolkien studies, what work has already been started (i.e. this is a pioneering field), and potential access challenges researchers face when creating literary and linguistic corpuses for sharing between institutions. My workshop was a practical introduction to using R to perform computational analysis, helping beginners “get their feet wet” in a constructive environment. These experiences of presenting solidified my desire to continue my research and constantly improve my academic skillbase. I am extremely thankful to the FIAA committee for the financial support, and enabling me to visit a lovely city to take part in an excellent conference.
Conference: IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Dublin, Ireland
It was such a privilege to be able to attend and volunteer at the World Library and Information Congress hosted by the International Federation of Library Associations (and Institutions) in Dublin, Ireland this year – the first in-person conference since 2019. With over 2,000 attendees and volunteers there was no shortage of new faces, and as it was my first time overseas the experience was all the more exhilarating. Throughout the course of presentations, cultural events, receptions, and caucuses you could feel the excitement and energy of these dedicated professionals who were (understandably) ecstatic they could all be in one space again.
It felt fantastic to be able to discuss so many topics with such a variety of people from all over the world. I learned so much about how libraries around the globe are fighting disinformation, marketing themselves, signing transformative agreements, as well as engaging in international partnerships through IFLA and beyond. Being a volunteer was itself a critical opportunity, as it allowed me to connect with other volunteers (many of whom were also there for the first time) and interact with so many more people than I might have otherwise.
As someone looking to get started in librarianship, archives, or policy internationally this was a wonderful opportunity to network and to see for myself what opportunities were out there and what a wide range of experiences both my fellow volunteers and the delegates had had over the course of their careers. I will definitely be attending and volunteering the conference next year in Rotterdam, and hope to see many of those same faces there.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2019
Conference: McGill-Queen’s Graduate History Conference, Kingston ON
On Sunday, March 2nd, I presented a paper at the annual McGill-Queen’s Graduate History Conference in Kingston, ON. This year’s conference theme was the exploration of place as a mode of historical inquiry. My paper, “In the Market: a Jewish Culinary Community,” was presented on a panel entitled “The 416” alongside two other graduate students, whose topics also discussed local Toronto histories. “In the Market” stems from research I conducted for my MMSt capstone exhibition project, Storefront Stories, which opened on May 1st. The paper’s thesis suggests that the study of place and space is important in researching diasporic foodways, as demonstrated in the study of micro-histories such as Kensington Market’s Jewish history.
This conference was both an exercise in professional and academic development. On one hand, having the opportunity to deliver a presentation beyond a classroom setting and make my research accessible to a broader audience are skills that are invaluable as an emerging museum professional. On the other hand, through the preparation of researching, writing and receiving feedback on my paper, I was able to explore new avenues of historical inquiry that has aided in the curation of Storefront Stories. For example, my conference peers engaged me in thoughtful commentary both during my panel presentation and afterward, thereby offering audience insight and suggested points of interests for me to consider as I had continued developed Storefront Stories with my team post-conference.
Conference: WIPO Standing Committee on copyright and Related Rights, Geneva, CH
In April 2019 I travelled to Geneva Switzerland in the company of 11 colleagues from the faculty of Information and sessional instructors, Victoria Owen, CFLA representative to the SCCR, and Dr Jean Dryden, International Council on Archives (ICA) representative to the SCCR. I had the privilege to attended and participate in the 38th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) at the World Intellectual Property Organization as fellow representatives to the Canadian Federation of Library Associations. I had the opportunity to interview Daren Tang, chair of the SCCR where I posed questions regarding my understanding of the outstanding challenges to an international instrument for limitation and exceptions for libraries, archives, and museums. Mr Tang outlined the means of the consensus model used at WIPO and highlighted the importance of advocating for change at the local, national, and regional levels. Finally, as representatives to the CLFA at SCCR, we drafted an intervention as observers of the formal deliberations. This document reflects our preparation, engagement in the meetings, and expertise in our field. The full response to the deliberations was submitted to the secretariat on behalf of CFLA and will impact future discussion on copyright limitation, and expectations help in this international platform.
Attending the session at WIPO presented me with an opportunity to learn how policy and legislation are developed in ways that reflect the practical and theoretical elements I’ve learned in the classroom. It provided me with a mature perspective on the role of LAMs in a global society and how these institutions are perceived by external parties.
Conference: WIPO Standing Committee on copyright and Related Rights, Geneva, CH
As a recipient of the FIAA conference grant, I was able to attend the thirty-eighth session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Along with eleven other Faculty of Information students, I attended sessions as an affiliate with the Canadian Federation of Libraries Association (CFLA). Thanks to professor Nadia Caidi, Dr. Jean Dryden, and Ms. Victoria Owen, we met with the Canadian delegation, the Chair and Deputy Director General of the SCCR, the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee Deputy, and many other intellectual property lawyers and scholars from the around the world. In addition, thanks to the Croatian Consulate General Andrea Javor, I also met with the Croatian delegation and learned more about European intellectual property law.
This experience complimented and enhanced my understanding of critical information policy, and in particular, copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. Moreover, it was invigorating to observe the political arena at the WIPO and to consider the underlying framework of international relations that ultimately influences the progress of intellectual property law. Altogether, my participation in the thirty-eighth session of the SCCR was a unique networking opportunity through which I grasped a more practical understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and international law.
Oy Lein Jace Harrison
Conference:HASTAC: decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education
I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to present at the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) Conference alongside my colleague Jamie Lee Morin. This year’s conference theme, Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education, focused on uplifting systemically silenced voices from Black, Indigenous and Coloured [BIPOC] professionals in STEAM. It was refreshing and heartening to hear about reconciliation efforts from other BIPOC folks working in education, ICT, art, languages etc., and the common cross-disciplinary, challenges that we face.
Our presentation, Radical Ontologies: Indigenizing Libraries at the University of Toronto, summarized the research that we have been conducting as TALint interns for UTL’s Metadata Services. In particular, we focused on challenges and barriers that we have encountered in our Indigenous Metadata research, as well as reconciliation initiatives in the GLAM landscape as a whole. We argued that GLAM institutions have skipped past the “truth” and are quickly moving towards checking reconciliation off of their to do list. Reconciliation, however, is not a box to be checked. It is a process centered on building a relationship with Indigenous Peoples whilst acknowledging the harm induced by our colonial behavior – as individuals and institutions. The conference also granted networking opportunities with other librarians and academics who are working on similar projects. I am looking forward to sharing knowledge with other librarians and learning about how our department and libraries can create more safe spaces for Indigenous patrons. I am very thankful for the FIAA’s support, which has made this opportunity a reality.
Conference: Annual Graduate History Symposium, Toronto ON
Thanks in part to the FIAA conference grant I was able to travel from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Toronto, Ontario in May to present at the 15th Annual History Graduate Symposium (AHGS) titled “Unwieldy Archives: The Past, Narratives, and History.
The event took place over the course of three days and brought together graduate students from many disciplines from all over the world. My presentation, “Is it an Archive: Analysing the J.S. Mclean Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art,” was based on a paper I wrote for MSL 2360: Museum and Indigenous Communities: Changing Relationships, Changing Practises. In my presentation I treated the J.S. Mclean centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art in the Art Gallery of Ontario as a multisensory public archive. In my presentation I posit that with the latest renovation the J.S Mclean Centre has erected itself with a structure of reconciliation. The structure of reconciliation can be seen through the use of space, relinquishing ownership, and surrendering authoritative voice.
As a scholar who is interested in interdisciplinary cooperation amongst the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) sector, I saw the AGHS as a wonderful opportunity to make connections with colleges from different academic disciplines and geographic locations. Representing the iSchool at a conference was a rewarding experience and I would certainly encourage current and future iSchool students to attend conferences outside the iSchool community whenever possible.
Conference: Archives Association of Ontario Annual Conference, Belleville ON
On May 8, 2019, I returned to my home town of Belleville, Ontario, to attend the Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) annual conference and the pre-conference workshop.
The workshop was led by Camille Callison of the Tahltan Nation in Northern BC. Callison’s presentation was entitled, “Indigenous Knowledge: Relationships, Responsibilities, Access and Mobilization”. After her presentation, Callison invited the participants to work in groups to brainstorm how we could facilitate reconciliation and take steps toward implementing the guidelines from reports such as the UN DRIP and the First Nations Information Governance Centre’s OCAP®. Because the participants were from a wide range of institutions, our experiences and prior knowledge were all very different. Sharing each other’s stories and proposals allowed me to consider options that I would not have otherwise thought of.
During the conference, I chaired one session which gave me to practise speaking to a group and directing the question and answer period. For the other sessions, I focused my attention on issues applicable to smaller archives such as; finding funding, reaching out to community, creative use of technology, and, how to fulfill our mandates following the principles of reconciliation.
The conference was organized in such a way to provide structured learning sessions as well as much time to socialize and meet other attendees. I connected with many people; a few from my iSchool cohort, other new and mid career archivists and several people in senior positions at their respective organizations.
I have since followed up with a number of people and am beginning an archival research project based on discussions I had during the event. I look forward to attending next year’s AAO conference and catching up with the connections made in Belleville.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Fall 2018
Conference: OMA Conference 2018, Toronto ON
I had the privilege of being the summer intern for the Toronto Ward Museum on the Pathways to Toronto/Journeys to the Frontline project as the curator and designer of the digital exhibition. The project’s collaborative and inclusive approach is very unique within the museum world and was at the heart of the theme of the 2018 OMA Conference Collaborating for Impact: Not Business As Usual. As such I was part of a panel of 5 members of the project that included the project leader Professor Irina Mihalache, the Ward Museum’s Founder and Executive Director Gracia Dyer Jalea, and 2 of the participants whose stories are features in the exhibition, to present the project and highlight its innovative integrated team approach, as a new model for exhibition development.
In addition to presenting, the OMA Conference was my first opportunity to get a wide overview of how different museum institutions and professionals are creating their own collaborative opportunities, and embarking on innovative initiatives to increase their engagement with the communities they serve, including leading edge digital technology such as the use of VR. The conference also gave me the opportunity to network with other museum professionals establishing a multitude of new contacts to enrich my academic and professional career.
Competition: Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge, New York, NY
The Cyber 9/12 competition presented a scenario of impending cyber attacks against the United Sates. In response, the competing teams had to come up with an array of policy responses, a policy brief which provided a strong summary of the available options, as well as a presentation for the panel of judges.
Overall, attending the competition has been a valuable experience for three reasons. First, the competition provided an introduction to the world of cyber security. Not only did we learn a lot about what a career in cybersecurity would involve, but we also made connections with many peers and professionals in the area that provided a lot of insight into what cyber policy work is like. Second, the competition created a space where we could all practice many of the analysis and communication skills that we have learned at the iSchool. And finally, the competition allowed us to learn from our peers and gain a deeper understanding of the many different perspectives that policy problems can be examined through.
Overall, the Cyber 9/12 competition has been an incredibly valuable learning experience and one of the highlights of my time at the iSchool. The support of the FIAA is greatly appreciated and is invaluable in managing the trip’s expenses. Thank you again for all of your support.
Conference: Code4Lib, San Jose, CA
During Code4Lib2019, I had the pleasure of facilitating a workshop with a colleague, May Chan, introducing participants to handling data using tools such as regular expressions and SQL. We had 15 participants from across the world, with the furthest participant travelling from Saudi Arabia! The workshop was a lot of fun, and combined skills and knowledge from my work as an E-Resources and Metadata TALInt student, my training as a Library Carpentries Instructor, and my coursework – especially INF1003 (Information Systems) and INF2190 (Data Analytics).
While the workshop was great, I was also immensely grateful to have the opportunity to also attend Code4Lib and build relationship with so many interesting people. The sessions offered ranged from lessons learnt during difficult technical projects, to socially focused experimental projects targeting metadata and bias in technology. My past experiences definitely made me more comfortable with the latter. However, the intellectual rigor of the technical sessions introduced me to a wide variety of systems and tools in libraries, archives, and other similar institutions, while also challenging me to gather the courage to ask lots of questions so that I could expand my knowledge. I left the conference feeling proud to have represented the iSchool, energized with plenty of new ideas, some new connections, and excited to continue to participate in the professional community.
This was an excellent opportunity, and I am very appreciative for the financial support of FIAA, and the time and energy provided by the Grants & Awards Committee. Thank you!
Conference: Environmental Impact of Data Driven Technologies, New York, NY
The purpose of the Data & Society Workshop was to enable deep dives with a broad community of interdisciplinary researchers into the topic of the environmental impact of data driven technologies. This is a topic that I was exposed to through my coursework in the iSchool, specifically in Professor Leslie Shade’s INF1001 course, and to actively engage with scholars and professionals whose work I have read in that course was an incredible experience.
I attended the conference as the author of a submitted paper “Invisibility, Breaks, and Contesting Land: Information Communication Technology Infrastructure and Development as a Tool of Colonialism”. This was an opportunity for me to participate in a critical discussion with the assembled group about my paper, with the explicit intent of making my work stronger and more interdisciplinary. The feedback I received on my paper was truly enlightening and being able to have academics from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds engage with my work in such an intimate environment was extremely rewarding. With the feedback I received, I am now looking to submit my paper to a peer reviewed journal.
Overall, it was also helpful to network, ask questions, and receive advice from both established and junior scholars concerning my future goals and aspirations in the field of information studies.
Conference: OLA Super Conference, Toronto, ON
At the 2019 Ontario Library Association Super Conference I presented a poster showcasing the multilingual library audio tours at the University of Toronto Libraries. This project alone allowed me to collaborate with many players in the library system and engage in outreach initiatives at the University of Toronto.
With over 370,000 international post-secondary students studying in Canada in 2017, academic libraries are experiencing an increasingly linguistically diverse user-base. I helped to create audio tours in English, French, Korean, and Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) to ease these students’ transition to an Anglo-dominant university and welcome them to the library. My poster presentation focused on exploring the process I used to develop these tours as well as share some of the initial impacts of the tours with other libraries and information professionals who may be interested in implementing similar initiatives.
The ability to see a project through from start to finish, and then discuss findings with other professionals and students is an eye-opening experience. Thanks to the help of the Faculty of Information Alumni Association student conference grant, I was able to share my work and passions with others in my field. In addition to the beneficial experience of presenting a poster, this grant enabled me to attend presentations and workshops on topics in library communications and marketing, supplementing my academic experience at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2018
Conference: Canadian Museums Association, Vancouver BC
I presented at the 2018 Canadian Museums Association National Conference in Vancouver, BC this past April. This conference is made up of professionals in the museum industry from around the country. It was an honour to present among and for them on my thesis research, which delves into community engagement practices in local museums of Alberta. My hope is that by presenting this research to a community of other museum professionals, we can begin the important conversation about the resources, strategies, obstacles, and solutions that small museums not only in Alberta but across the country may use to remain sustainable and relevant in their smaller communities. This is an area of museum studies that is not well-researched and yet, as I found out during my case study visits this past year, is a wealth of knowledge and interesting ideas.
By attending the event and presenting as well, I gained a better picture of what our current museum industry talks about and the direction of the field. One thing I noticed was less small museums in attendance, which directly ties to my thesis research. It was gratifying to meet up with those small museum directors who could attend after my presentation who wanted to read the thesis and talk further about the distinct experiences of Canada’s local museums. This was incredibly exciting for me! To know that my research can be valued and utilized by many people in the future—my fellow professionals, government officials, museum staff, and more—I hope means that we can continue to better understand our country’s provincial and national museum experiences.
Competition: National Forum on Ethics and Archiving the Web, New York NY
In March 2018, a National Forum on Ethics and Archiving the Web took place at the New Museum in New York. The aim of this gathering was to foster and foment conversation among artists, activists, developers, archivists and other practitioners about how web archiving can both combat and cause harm. Web archiving is still an emergent field, and the National Forum was the first of its kind. I participated in a panel on “Documenting Hate,” in which we asked if and how documenting white supremacy and hate speech online could be a means to dismantle white supremacy. These questions had arisen for me during both my coursework and my role as a web archiving intern at the University of Toronto Libraries. It was exciting to be able to put these questions to a larger audience, and the panel generated many thoughtful and diverging responses.
Throughout the forum, I was able to be present for other conversations unfolding around ethical approaches to the practice of web archiving. Overall, it was very gratifying to encounter so many other people concerned with social justice and the societal impact of web archiving, and invigorating to learn about the incredibly important work that people in the web archiving community are doing.
Research: Older Adults’ Acceptance of Virtual doctors
My Master’s thesis, “Older Adults’ Acceptance of Virtual Doctors”, was a preliminary investigation of older adults’ perceptions of virtual doctor systems. Virtual doctors are a form of virtual agents, which in turn are artificially intelligent virtual characters that complete tasks. Virtual agents are an emerging technology and are increasingly moving into the commercial space. Therefore, the investigation of user perceptions of virtual agents now is critical. Such research will help improve the design and increase the adoption of virtual doctors and virtual agents alike by older adults, a user group who stand to benefit greatly from these technologies.
Thanks to the FIAA Student Research Grant, I was able to complete a study to collect older adult user perceptions of virtual doctors through surveys and interviews. The grant allowed me to complete a full research project from start to finish, from formulating a research question, to running a study first-hand, and to finally processing, analyzing, and presenting the results in my Masters Defense. This journey has led me to develop critical skills in academic research and the field of user experience design, which is my field of study in the Master of Information program at the iSchool. The FIAA Student Research Grant has played a key role in enriching my research career and enabling me to move to further PhD studies at the iSchool.
Conference: Cultivating Connections: Museums and the Environment, Alberta Museums Association Conference 2018, Canmore, AB
I was one of two panelists in a session titled Museum Footprints: Rethinking Cultural Modes of Sustainability. In this session, I presented the preliminary findings of a 1 month research trip to Japan for my Master of Museum Studies thesis, titled Museums and Human-Nature Relationships in Japan. This research, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, investigates emerging museum models that promote regionally relevant sustainability practice through socially-engaged arts practice in Japan.
This session was a valuable opportunity to get early feedback on my research findings, which was achieved through a “rapid workshop” in which the audience was asked to discuss cultural assumptions surrounding sustainability. As the conference was largely attended by museum professionals, I was challenged to communicate the theories that underlie my research in an intuitive, applicable way. My participation in the conference was also integral for gauging the field’s awareness of the non-Western contexts that I introduce in my thesis. Further, I could gather information on the current state of environmental studies as it pertains to culture and heritage by attending numerous other sessions. As a result, I have made connections with those at the forefront of my field—a network I will leverage as I continue towards the completion of my thesis.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Fall 2017
Conference: Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences Triennial Convention, Kansas City MI
In November I was given the opportunity to present my research at the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences Triennial Convention in Kansas City Missouri. My paper, “Archival Descriptive Standards between the United States and Canada”, was written for the course Archival Arrangement and Description. Through my research for this paper I detailed the histories of archival arrangement and description for each country as well as the attempt to create a universal descriptive standard between the two. Through my presentation at the conference I was able to introduce archives to a wider audience of people who may have never used archives before.
In addition to bring archival science to a larger group of people, I was able to meet with the editor of the International Social Science Review, Pi Gamma Mu’s International journal. Based on my archival knowledge I have been asked to write an article, to be published this spring, that introduces the archival profession in order to continue to enlarge the number of people who know about archives and hopefully entice more people to make use of archives. Finally I was able to meet and discuss with a group of similarity minded academics on a wide range of topics that I can now count in my network and whom I will keep in touch with as I continue with my career.
Internship: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Geneva, Switzerland
This summer, with the help of the FIAA Alumni Professional Development Grant, I took an archives intern position with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The IFRC is part of the international Red Cross Movement, along with National Societies of all countries around the world, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The IFRC’s sphere of work is coordinating and directing international assistance around the world following disasters (natural or man-made) in non-conflict situations (the ICRC is responsible during conflict, and the parts of the Movement work together when needed).
Over the course of the internship, I worked on my appraisal and description skills, describing to the file level. As the IFRC was founded in 1919, there are a lot of records to be processed and made available. Throughout the summer we started and completed one full series of bankers boxes that ended up containing multiple subseries. The series totalled 28 linear metres of files at the end of the 13-week internship.
In addition to valuable archival skills learned, I also ended up receiving a crash course on geography, languages, and the history of disasters around the world. The series we worked on was a general one, and covered the entire twentieth century and the whole globe. The records were in many languages, but predominantly English, French, and Spanish.
Merci beaucoup to the FIAA for their assistance!
Conference: Canadian Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada (CHLA/ABSC) Annual Conference, St. John’s, NL
Dear Faculty of Information Community… whadda y’at?? (“Whadda y’at” is a Newfoundland slang greeting meaning “what’s up?”). From June 15-18, 2018 I attended the Canadian Health Libraries Association/Association des bibliothèques de la santé du Canada (CHLA/ABSC) Annual Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland. As a new information professional in the areas of health and hospital librarianship, this was my first occasion to attend the CHLA/ABSC conference and I’m grateful for the opportunity afforded to me as the recipient of the 2018 Faculty of Information Alumni Association’s (FIAA) Alumni Professional Development Grant.
In 2017 I entered the field of health librarianship by joining St. Michael’s Hospital as the Health Sciences Library Team Leader. Attending this conference enabled me to network with colleagues from academic, hospital, and health agency libraries across North America, to meet vendors, make connections and put faces to names. I attended a wide variety of sessions on systematic searching, developing instruction for evidence-based practice, online health information seeking behaviours, Indigenously-authored children’s health literature, and much more.
My conference experience also included presenting two sessions (a paper and lightning talk) where I shared outcomes of two new library initiatives at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Health Sciences Library with the broader health libraries community.
Without the support from the FIAA’s Alumni Professional Development Grant I would not have had this significant career opportunity. Thank you FIAA! I leave you with one final Newfoundland saying: long may your big jib draw (i.e. “may you have good fortune for a long time”).
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2017
Conference: Folklore Studies Association of Canada annual meeting at Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, Toronto, ON
Participating in the Folklore Studies Association of Canada Conference at Congress 2017 in Toronto was a rewarding opportunity as an emerging museum professional. The panel on which I presented was made up of four students from the MMSt program and was organized by Professor Mihalache, who helped us to develop our presentations and prepare to share our research with academics and museum professionals from around the world.
We each delivered a ten-minute presentation on our individual interpretation processes from a project completed in the Exhibitions, Interpretation, Communication module, which was partnered with the Toronto Ward Museum. Each student was paired with an object from the University of Toronto Archives to share a story of migration. After our presentations, Professor Mihalache led a discussion period where the audience could ask questions about our objects. This opportunity helped us to further develop our research skills and strategies, practice sharing interpretive processes, and discuss the challenges we faced and how we overcame them.
We also attended other presentations and engaged with professionals who shared their own research and experience. It was so interesting to hear about what museologists and researchers are practicing all over the world, and it was valuable to hear about how they manage challenges that arise. The conference also provided me with an opportunity to network and discuss my interests with representatives from institutions across Canada and beyond. Overall, attending Congress 2017 was highly advantageous to my academic and professional career, and I am so grateful that I was able to partake.
Conference: Archives Association of Ontario’s Annual conference, Toronto, ON
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to present a paper and sit on a panel with other young professionals at the Archives Association of Ontario’s 2017 conference, held at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. With the financial help of the FIAA Grant, I was able to attend this event, where I discussed my current work at the Media Commons Archive and presented to current professionals what students are doing in our respective student associations.
Attending this conference was an opportunity to not only showcase the knowledge and skills that I have acquired during my time at Media Commons, but also a way to advocate for the preservation of culturally significant moving image records. These records differ so much in their description and handling needs, that they often get ignored. Being able to share my work with others allowed me to give a little more insight into the unique skills moving image archivists have.
I also organized and sat on the Young Professionals panel. Many join student associates during their academic careers, yet are unsure as how these chapters will benefit them when they graduate. Additionally, as a leader of two student chapters at the University of Toronto, I personally want to ensure that the chapters are able meet the needs of the members. By working with other student leaders and discussing the many problems we face with well-respected professionals in attendance, we were able to gain insight into how to better our chapters.
Photo credit: University of Toronto Libraries
Conference: Archives Association of Ontario’s Annual Conference, Toronto, ON
In April, I had the opportunity to speak at the Ontario Archives Association Conference at the University of Toronto. I was part of a panel titled “Young Professional Collaboration” representing the Faculty of Information and the University of Toronto student chapter of the Association of Canadian Archivists, in my current role as Chair of the student chapter. In addition, I presented with representatives from the Association of Moving Image Archivists student chapters at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.
The panel explored the value to students of belonging to a professional organization, the opportunities for professional development through student groups, and ways to better collaborate both between student groups and between student groups and their parent organizations. The panel shared our successes over the past few years and as well as some of the challenges we have faced in recruiting members and organizing events. The panel was also used to encourage more students to become involved with professional organizations and to increase the awareness and visibility of the work that our student chapters do within the archival community. Finally, through the active participation and discussion of the audience we brainstormed more ways of interacting with established professionals in Toronto, Ontario and beyond. I was also able to talk to many professionals who indicated their interest in participating in an event with our chapter next year.
Conference: Archives Association of Ontario’s Annual Conference, Toronto, ON
Participating in the Archives Association of Ontario 2017 Conference at U of T was a great way to cap off my degree in Archives in Records Management at the iSchool. The conference gave me a better understanding of the Ontario archives community as a whole, and furthered my understanding of the many common issues archivists face in the field. Despite the community being small in numbers, the ongoing work is diverse, and takes many nuanced paths to propel the discipline forwards.
Participating in the student panel titled Young Professionals and Collaboration allowed my peers and I to engage with more seasoned professionals in our field. As representatives from three archives-focused student associations in Ontario we spoke about our cross-institutional collaboration, the dynamics of these relationships, what we have learned, common difficulties we face, how we help each other, and what we feel needs to be improved. We were also able to pose questions to the audience of archivists, about how we could improve our student engagement, where we should channel our focus when preparing for the world of archival employment, and what we can bring to the field to set ourselves apart today.
We were well received by the audience. They provided us with helpful and thoughtful feedback, which we have passed on to our new association leaders for future students, and which we are currently taking into interviews, applications, and the information workforce.
Conference: Folklore Studies Association of Canada annual meeting at Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, Toronto, ON
In late May I had the opportunity to present at the annual conference of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada (FSAC). Along with my colleagues, Aurora Cacioppo, Jessica Svenningson, and Julia Zungri, I discussed the role of museum interpretation in bridging gaps in time between an audience and objects on display. Our presentation focused on our experiences creating an online exhibition, Finding Myself in the Archive, as a component of a course taught by Dr. Irina Mihalache. Our presentation was well-received, garnering interest and discussion from attendees throughout the conference weekend.
Presenting at FSAC provided the opportunity to reflect critically on my practice as a budding museum professional. Working with my classmates and Dr. Mihalache produced many rich discussions about the role we play in shaping history, as well as the types of assumptions we carried into our original work on this project as a course assignment. I believe that this experience has left me with a more nuanced view of my own interpretive work, as well as a greater understanding of and appreciation for the range of interpretive strategies available to heritage professionals. I’m very grateful to FIAA for having supported this fantastic experience.
Conference: Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Annual Conference, Victoria BC
Recently I had the pleasure of attending the annual conference of the Society for
the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) 2017 in Victoria, BC, co-hosted by the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, and University of Victoria Libraries. The theme of this year’s conference was “Technologies of the Book,” which “aim[ed] to encapsulate the long history of technological transformations of authoring, reading, and publishing, as well as the book’s longstanding role as a technology, and the evolving ways that individuals interact with medias.” 1 As such, I found myself attending panels with titles like: “Gendered Literary Spaces and the Digital Public Sphere,” “Materiality and the Digital,” as well as “Social Media, Social Spaces.”
In my own panel, titled “Myriad Images,” I argued that the voluntary acquisition
of tattoos and the arrangement of authors’ archives, as compiled by the archiving “I” and various “coaxers and coercers,” are strikingly similar performances. 2 Both practices reflect an image of the self that is subject to misinterpretation, and both are inextricably tied to issues of textual permanence.
SHARP is, without a doubt, the biggest networking event for book history and
print culture scholars. This conference allowed me not only to get a sense of work being conducted abroad, but also to witness the research being done by fellow peers at the University of Toronto – facilitating a truly full-circle experience.
1 “Call for Proposals,” SHARP 2017, accessed July 5, 2017, http://www.sharp2017.com/cfp/.
2 Jennifer Douglas, “The Archiving “I”: A Closer Look in the Archives of Writers,” Archivaria 79 (2015): 53-89.
Maria Laura Marchiori
Conference: Society for the History of Authorship, reading, and Publishing (SHARP) Annual conference
Having taken a course at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria (5-9 June), I attended the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) conference for the first time this month (9-13 June). The theme was “Technology of the Book”, which expressed an affinity with the DHSI, as many of the participants engage in the Digital Humanities.
As a graduate of the MI program in the Archives & Records Management stream and the Book History and Print Culture program, I immediately felt “at home” at SHARP, which is multi-disciplinary, forwardlooking and welcoming. Unlike conferences I’ve attended in the past, at SHARP I felt “safe” in contributing comments and asking questions. I took part in sessions dealing with library history, digital libraries, book history big data, incunabula and medieval books online. I especially enjoyed Lisa Gitelman’s plenary talk entitled, “Emoji Dick, Prequels and Sequels”, which dealt with an emoji translation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. My paper was titled, “How we read: contemporary technogenesis and the book as archival record”, in which I presented a case study of incunabula cataloguing by means of a media archaeology of the library catalogue through its various material evolutions [see Session F9 at http://www.sharp2017.com/program/].
I concluded by recommending that digital humanities projects not utilize data from library catalogue records, but rather adopt a new descriptive paradigm based on the archival descriptive practices. I had an enthusiastic response from audience members, who offered many helpful questions and comments.
Lily Yuxi Ren
Conference: CAPAL & CAIS (Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences)
From May 30th to June 2nd, I had the pleasure of attending Congress 2017, Congress on the Humanities and Social Sciences, where over 70 scholarly associations converge to each hold their annual conference under one umbrella.
This year I was invited to present my poster, Leveraging KM in Designing Academic Libraries, at CAPAL. At the CAPAL keynote speaker session, Ms. Harsha Walia spoke about her involvement with grassroots community organizing and social movements. Making connections to race, gender, and poverty, she discussed her community organizing examples to librarianship, encouraging librarians to organize to critically challenge ways in which the profession is influenced by social, political, and economic environments. The discussion she generated aligns and supplements my learning in the LIS concentration at the Faculty of Information, including INF1320H Knowledge Organization. At the poster session, I engaged conversation with my colleagues and scholars in the field about the historical past, present and possible futures of library design, from the physical architecture to the spaces within. It was particularly interesting to hear about opportunities and challenges different librarians experience in their library.
The discussions, feedback, and experience has been tremendously valuable and will guide my work on this topic in the future. In addition, I also joined Professor J. Hartel on a panel discussing my research on one of Bates’ big ideas at CAIS. At CAIS, I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting on panel with canonical LIS scholar Marcia Bates. Having spent the semester studying her work, it was both rewarding and edifying to meet her in person. With FIAA Conference Grant, I was able to partake in these experiences to share my research, facilitate discussion, and network with scholars and professionals alike in the field.
Conference: Folklore Studies Association of Canada annual meeting at Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, Toronto, ON
During the 2017 Congress Conference for the Humanities, I took part in a panel of fellow Masters of Museum Studies Students, with Irina Mihalache as our advisor. We were sharing our research strategies and findings from a class assignment completed in the fall semester, 2016, to be published by The Ward Museum this month. My research was centered on food migration patterns in Japanese-Canadians, and how they were affected because of internment during the 1940s.
Preparation for the conference was guided by Irina who helped guide us edit and critique our presentations to reach a professional level beyond the student level. I learned a great deal from her about the importance of specific use of language, consideration for how to present information to an international audience, as well as when and where to further examine critical details. It was a wonderful exercise in learning how to tell a story to keep an audience engaged, and prepare myself for potentially difficult questions.
Being able to attend the Folklore Association Annual Meeting was a wonderful professional experience. This was my first conference, and I now feel more confident and interested to attend more conferences for both interest and professional purposes.
Attending and presenting at the Folklore Studies Association Conference at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences was an incredible opportunity for networking, career building, expanding my communication skills, and building my confidence. First, preparing for the presentation impelled me to re-evaluate my project and recognize the research and writing strategies that I pursued, which can often be overlooked throughout the entire writing process. Working with Professor Mihalache and my colleagues helped me learn about the different challenges that we faced and the strategies we adopted as a response. This has led me to become a much better writer and researcher.
Presenting at the conference gave me a chance to share my research and writing experience with interested individuals who provided useful feedback for future projects. I successfully engaged in an interesting question and answer period after our round table was finished: some questions were specific to my project, while others were general relating to archival research and partnerships between museums and communities. My colleagues and the audience were extremely supportive and thought provoking, making me eager to present at future conferences. Attending other talks, as well as the Folklore Association banquet helped expand my network as I was introduced to professionals who share similar interests to mine, leading to constructive and rewarding discussions. Presenting at such a large event was initially intimidating, but I am delighted with the impact that it has had on me as a student and rising museum professional.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Fall 2016
Conference: Ontario Museums Conference, Mississauga, ON
My internship last summer as the Programming Coordinator Intern for the Toronto Ward Museum was one of the most enriching experiences of my degree and helped me understand more about museums and the role I want to have in my future career. Being able to share that experience at the Ontario Museums Association Conference in November was incredibly rewarding. The Ward Museum pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a museum, and how museums can share authority with the communities they serve.
At the OMA Conference, I co-presented with one of the museum’s tour guides and local historian, Arlene Chan. Our presentation, Shared Authority and Inclusive Storytelling, spoke about the museum’s pilot project, Dishing Up Toronto. These food and storytelling tours put personal stories and experiences at the forefront, inviting participants to share their own stories and eat incredible food along the way. The opportunity to present at this conference gave me time to reflect on my experience as an intern, and helped me develop my public speaking skills. In addition to this, the OMA Conference was an opportunity to network with other museum professionals and to learn what other museums are doing to push the boundaries of the museum field.
Conference: Consultation with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) launched a call for submissions to discuss how the online information consent model could be improved under the Personal Information and Protection of Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). I wrote my “OPC Consent Model Submission” paper during the summer and was subsequently invited by the Privacy Commissioner to present my research at its consultation on the matter in Ottawa in December 2016.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2016
Research: Digital exhibition on tourism in 19th century Florence, Kunsthistorisches Institut (KHI), Florence, Italy
As a recipient of the FIAA Grant I was able to complete a digital exhibition on tourism in 19th century Florence through my research with the rare collection of guidebooks at the Kunsthistorisches Institut (KHI) in Florence, Italy. This solo project was designed, written, and created during a three-month period at the KHI as I researched, inventoried, wrote, photographed and designed the website that will be released on September 1 st , 2016. My exhibition, entitled Saunterings in Florence: Guides to Place, Space and Tourism in 19th century has opened possibilities both for my professional as well as my academic career and has given me the opportunity to work collaboratively with an internationally recognized institution.
Conference: International Association of Music Libraries Conference, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome
In July I had the opportunity to speak at the International Association of Music Libraries conference held at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. My paper, Kathleen Parlow: A Life in Letters was one of three presentations on a panel about musical life seen throughout libraries. Over the course of my final year at the iSchool I arranged and described the Kathleen Parlow correspondence at the University of Toronto Music Library for digital access. Kathleen, as one of world’s most revered violinists of the 20th century corresponded with many international figures in music. The correspondence she kept presents music researchers with a wealth of information in regards to Kathleen’s international career, and the interesting period in music history she occupied. It was wonderful sharing this project, Kathleen’s story, and the interesting and challenging questions that arose from applying standardized metadata to the unique materials and many formats found within this correspondence collection.
In addition to talking about this collection and project, IAML provided the opportunity to meet with other like-minded music librarians and hear about the happenings and projects going on in music libraries all over the world. I not only left Rome inspired by the beautiful art and architecture that adorns the city, but also the wonderful people I got to know while at the conference and plan to keep in touch with as I move forward in my career.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Fall 2015
Conference: Do-It-Yourself in Anthropocene: New Political Imaginaries, the Winter Colloquium of the Nordic Summer University – Study Circle 6, Appropriating Science and Technology for Social Change, Fengersfors, Sweden
In March, I had the opportunity to travel to Sweden to give a talk at the Winter Colloquium of the Nordic Summer University (NSU), which was held in a re-purposed paper factory in the small town of Fengersfors, north of Gothenburg. The talk was an overview of research I had undertaken for a reading course with Professor Irina Mihalache, looking at early conceptions of social engineering at the beginning of the 20th century and the relationship of this work to national diet programs that emerged post-WWII. The theme of the Colloquium was “Appropriating Science and Technology for Social Change,” which not only fit with the research I presented but was a great match for my general interest in combining the technological, social, and psychological elements of privacy and information security.
Attending and presenting at the NSU Winter Colloquium was a wonderful experience and immensely beneficial. The set of attendees was highly interdisciplinary, consisting of academics, technologists, and environmentalists, which resulted in a diversity of feedback and constructive criticism of my project that was immensely useful. It was also very small; as a result I had a one-hour speaking slot, which provided time to present a significant amount of my research. This meant the feedback I received from my fellow attendees was able to address a large portion of my research and engage in nuance and criticism that would not be have possible if I had been presenting only a highly condensed summary. The intimate nature of the conference also helped me develop the beginnings of a Northern/Western European network of academic and research colleagues that is complimentary to the Canadian network I have been able to build through my time at the Faculty of Information. I am very grateful to the FIAA for their significant support in subsidising the cost of attending this conference and helping make possible the wonderful experience I had there.
Research: Preserving Culture with Songs and Symbols
My research grant from the Alumni Association allowed me to travel to a location where I was able to interview several informants and gather rich data to finish my pilot study on how Franco Ontarian teachers preserve cultural information. I was able to successfully complete my Information Ethnography course while also designing my upcoming PhD research project. I hope to publish my final paper in the coming months and have been able to make new connections for future field visits in Northern Ontario. While on my trip, family members helped me with travel between remote locations not accessible by standard transportation and I’m grateful that the grant will allow me to reimburse them for some of their expenses. This grant has allowed me to cover expenses I normally wouldn’t be able to afford as a graduate student and my ability to complete the study as intended and designed has allowed me to gain valuable experience about field visits and ethnography as a research approach as well as develop my research skills further by expanding my informant pool. Overall, this financial resource has made it possible for me to turn my vision into a reality.
Conference: 47th Annual Northeast Modern Language Association Convention, Hartford, Connecticut
I was fortunate enough to have been accepted to two panels: a creative writing panel titled, “The Canadian Postmodern Creative,” and a Comparative Literature/Interdisciplinary Humanities panel titled, “Future Humans.” During the latter panel, I presented an informal paper titled, “Utopian Sci-Fi Responds to the Great and Mysterious Human Technology.” In my presentation I drew on concepts I have encountered within the first year of my Master of Information degree, such as Bowker and Star’s (2007) “live zone” model, David Lankes’ ‘new librarianship’ and Cory Doctorow’s fiction. The presentation aimed to encourage people to be active in their communities and to be lifelong learners.Attending the convention was an invaluable experience as it provided me with a greater sense of what information professionals can do to improve media literacy and the classification systems within speculative fiction. The interdisciplinary nature of both panels afforded me the opportunity to engage with people from a variety of backgrounds and foster my presentation and networking skills.
Conference: 2015 Ontario Museum Association Annual Conference, Windsor, Ontario
I was one of four panelists for the session The (im)possible museum at the Ontario Museum’s Association (OMA) 2015 conference in Windsor, Ontario. The session featured current research that pushed the boundaries of existing museum conventions. My presentation, Who has the Right?: New Museology and Content Authority at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), examined the effects of new museology theory on community collaborations, using the CMHR as a case study.
As a second-year Master of Museum Studies candidate, the presentation was an important part in sharing my research. My area of study focuses on interpretive planning processes in museums related to difficult history presentation. Therefore, the conference presentation was the first step in presenting my research to the museum community and garnering their feedback and support. The session had a successful turnout, which in turn elicited meaningful discussion and new angles on my research.
Furthermore, the conference was a fantastic opportunity to network with other cultural sector professionals, including museum directors, educators, and government officials. I was able to learn from other presenters’ achievements and challenges, from engaging immigrant communities to breaking down social barriers at science centres. Thus, presenting at the OMA conference was not only an important experience for my research endeavours, but also allowed me to receive feedback and support from my peers.
Conference: ASIS&T Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missourin early November, I along with Dr. Jenna Hartel and the iSquare team were proud to represent the University of Toronto at the ASIS&T (Association for Information Science and Technology) 78th Annual Meeting: Information Science with Impact: Research in and for the Community, which took place in St. Louis, Missouri. Our Visualizing Information Worldwide panel session gave us a chance to report emergent findings from our study of visual conceptions of information across 12 countries.As Social Media Manager for the study, I live tweeted the panel and engaged with the broader research community in-person and by answering audience questions about our findings and protocol via social media. The panel included presentations from our research team as well as a video that collated highlights from six pre-recorded 3-minute videos that document the work of iSquare contributors in Brazil, France, Finland, Iran, Malaysia, Russia, and Taiwan.I am grateful for the FIAA Student Conference Grant as it afforded me the opportunity to participate in the panel session that I helped prepared for. Being able to engage with the research community and get feedback from who attended the session was invaluable.
Research: Museums on the Moon: Cultural Heritage Management Policy in the Space Age
My Masters thesis asks what structures and systems will be put in place to create and preserve the archaeological heritage of moon landing sites. As space tourism becomes a reality the objective of this research is to examine the prospect of heritage spaces on the moon while investigating the possibilities and limits within current cultural heritage management structures.
As a starting place, I am currently investigating how Earth based museology presents human achievement in outer space. I visited two national museums – the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum – in order to gain insight into what ideologies are present and how rhetoric is employed to craft the narrative of space exploration.
It was immensely valuable to travel to both of these museums. I took thousands of pictures and saw hundreds of milestones in flight and aviation. It was also beneficial to compare and contrast a national space museum in Canada and the United States. Thanks to the support of the FIAA, I was able subsidize the cost of travel to these destinations, take the time to properly gather information and in turn, generate the bulk of my primary data for my thesis.
Conference: Web Archives 2015, University of Michigan
I was given the opportunity to contribute ideas to an emerging field of inquiry – the digitization, preservation, and management of online archival collections – and this proved an extremely insightful experience. I gained invaluable learning through scholarly exchange with fellow researchers and scholars from a range of North American institutions on critical issues in web archiving, notably the practical challenges of creating a web archive and ethical aspects of collecting and preserving data that can impact personal lives. I attended several panels composed of multidisciplinary experts – including librarians, archivists, historians, and graphic designers. Their perspectives added new dimensions to my knowledge of web archives and provoked deeper reflection on my future roles in the information profession.The conference was also an excellent networking opportunity. The presentation resulted in scholarly feedback and I made contacts with several professionals for future exchange of ideas and discussion. Finally, the conference further informed my education in the Master of Information program, with the resultant theoretical and practical knowledge of web archiving enriching my scholarly discussions in related courses and projects at the iSchool. I can thereby develop web archiving as an important tool for my practices as a future information professional.
Conference: ASIS&T Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri
It was in June 2014 when I started to work as Professor’s Hartel volunteer Research Assistant in the “iSquares” project. For me, it was a great honor to join this international research team uniting scholars and information professionals from 11 countries. In November 2015, our findings and discoveries were presented in the “Visualizing Information Worldwide” panel at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Saint-Louis, Missouri. My part of the presentation mainly touched my role in data collection and data management of this visual research-based study of the nature of information, utilizing draw-and-write technique. Specifically, it reflected my work with a textual massive of the project data, and its prospective role in our future research work.
Having an extensive experience in education and research from my country of origin (Russia), it was extremely useful for me to attend this worldwide-recognized conference. I was pleased to see that the panel ignited a positive discussion during the conference and on our project’s website. This was also an invaluable chance to grasp the most up-to-date trends and innovative ideas in the sphere which I’ve chosen to be my new career path.
Conference: ASIS&T Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri
Since April 2014, I have acted as Data Coordinator for an ongoing study on the visualization of information with the iSchool’s Dr. Jenna Hartel. As part of the iSquare team, I participated in the panel Visualizing Information Worldwide at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. During the panel I discussed the data management of the iSquare corpus and my role in classifying, organizing and digitizing the data set of 500 images from around the world. In addition to discussing the project’s data management, I liaised with our international team members from France, Finland, Taiwan, Russia and Iran to curate a video on their experiences with the project to be screened in conjunction with the panel.
As a first time conference attendee, presenting at the ASIS&T Annual was an exciting step in building my career as an information professional. Not only was I able to share my experiences as a researcher, but our panel was fortunate to secure Dr. Toni Carbo as an expert discussant, who was gracious enough to share her decades of experience in information science with my fellow iSquare students and myself. The panel received positive feedback from audience members during the Q & A as well as via Twitter with people praising the project’s team spirit and innovativeness. My experience travelling to ASIS&T taught me to be confident in my skills as a researcher and presenter and introduced me to some incredible information scholars.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2015
Conference: The New Horizons in Intercultural Dialogue Inaugural Conference, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
I was a co-presenter on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Epigraphic Documents (CCED), a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteer information professionals and graduate students in Information Studies, for the Harrak Collection project. The New Horizons in Intercultural Dialogue Inaugural Conference, titled Cultural Heritage of the Christian Communities of the Middle East: challenges and opportunities, was held at University of Cambridge and organized by Aradin Charitable Trust. The purpose of the conference was to raise awareness to the adversity Christian communities face in the Middle East at a particularly tumultuous time in that region and to their contribution in the intercultural dialogue between East and West.
The presentation, titled Preserving Syriac Language and Heritage through the CCED Inscriptions Database, focused on highlighting the importance of archiving, digitizing, and cataloguing epigraphic materials from Iraq. It also sought to demonstrate how accessible collections could stimulate intellectual dialogue, which can increase academic output and thereby draw people’s attention to Syriac heritage and its role in the history of the Middle East. In the end, I believe presenting at conference enhanced the importance of the project. It also enabled me to broaden my knowledge on the Syriac community and the issues they face directly from experts in the field. However, it also made me realize that there is much more that information professionals can do to help preserve endangered heritage.
Conference: 2015 Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing Conference, Montreal, Quebec
My first major academic conference, I presented my research on manuscript waste bindings that I had encountered during my time as a work-study student at the John M. Kelly Library at Saint Michael’s College. My experience at SHARP was both challenging and rewarding, and I am grateful to FIAA for the funding that made my participation possible. Because I have been spending my summer working at an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I flew to Montreal midway through the conference, hoping to balance my work responsibilities with seeing a full day’s worth of panels before my presentation. Not an hour after my flight landed in Montreal I was in the middle of a full day of panels. I had the opportunity to discuss book history with the leading international scholars in the field, and attended panels on topics ranging from handwriting to the science of dog-earing pages. On Friday, I gave my paper as scheduled and it was a success! Although I had participated in professional conferences and the iSchool Student Conference, SHARP was my first major academic conference and the confidence I gained by successfully presenting my research will be invaluable in my future scholarship. I am no longer intimidated by the prospect of conference presentations, have put my name and my research forward in the field of book history, and was able to make international networking connections that would be otherwise impossible.
Conference: Association of Canadian Archivists Conference 2015, Regina, Saskatchewan
I had the privilege of presenting a paper at the students panel of the 2015 Association of Canadian Archivists conference in Regina, Saskatchewan. The primary benefit of my participation was the practice of presenting at a major conference and the feedback I received from professionals. The crowd at the student session was very supportive and provided thoughtful questions and constructive criticism. Presenting at ACA will not only set the foundation for more conference participation in the future, but will also demonstrate to potential employers that I am professionally active and capable of research, an asset in applying for many full-time jobs as an archivist.
Besides my own presentation, I had the opportunity to attend sessions led by others and learn from their research and practices. For example, I attended a session on making archives more accessible led by the archivist at the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights and I learned some very practical tips and software for making the archives a better place for patrons with disabilities. Additionally, I was able to meet my ACA mentoe, which would not have been possible otherwise since he lives in British Columbia. Overall, it was an enlightening and exciting experience and I am better equipped professionally for having done it.
Research: Master of Museum Studies Candidate in collaboration with Sexual Diversity Studies
I am currently a Master of Museum Studies Candidate in collaboration with Sexual Diversity Studies, completing my thesis under the supervision of Dr. Irina Mihalache. Utilizing the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) as a case study, my research interrogates the rhetorics and affects of normative museology within the neoliberal context. The goal of this project is to consider the formation of non-normative arts and cultural space through the lens of queer and affect theory, creating space for potentialities within museology. The FIAA Grant enabled me to visit the CMHR in Winnipeg, MB from February 3-7, 2015. Forming the core thread throughout my argument, this trip was necessary for my thesis. The CMHR is the first museum in the world dedicated solely to human rights, opening its doors in September 2014 as an inaugural fifth national museum for Canada, as well as implicating cutting-edge museological practice. Thanks to the support from the FIAA, I was able to immerse myself within the CMHR’s exhibits for four days, collecting primary material for my thesis that enables me to draw original arguments based on the architectural space, the narratives at play, and the affective journey of the institution.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Fall 2014
Research: Museums and Money: The Influence of Provincial Cultural Policy
My Master of Museum Studies thesis, Museums and Money: The Influence of Provincial Cultural Policy, examines the influence of subnational policy on museum public programming in New Brunswick. While I conducted a literature review and archival work, my primary research method is semi-structured interviews. I conducted 15 in person interviews throughout New Brunswick at the museums or offices of the participants, as well as two interviews by phone. The in-person interview allowed me to develop a better rapport with the participants resulting in more detailed responses. Further, it enabled me to obtain documents and view some of the exhibits discussed. During the summer I lived and worked in New Brunswick conducting some of the aforementioned research. In July, August and the first week of September, I conducted 13 interviews across the province. I returned in the fall to conduct additional interviews with government employees and access the provincial archives. These interviews and archival research are a crucial component to my project. The FIAA Grant assisted in defraying the cost of travel to and within New Brunswick in order to conduct interviews as well as research in archives. I look forward to defending my work and appreciate the FIAA’s help in accomplishing the research.
Conference: EUCLID’s Bobcatsss Conference, Brno, Czech Republic
By attending EUCLID’s Bobcatss conference in Brno, Czech Republic, I was able to learn from librarians and information professionals from around the world. The conference had a diverse mix of presentations, workshops, posters and social events, covering topics such as design thinking, the role of the International Federation of Library Associations and digital humanities in libraries. Something that was completely new to me but that I enjoyed learning about was bibliotherapy and two people presented on their experiences using bibliotherapy in Hungarian prisons and Hungarian public schools. These presentations and workshops will help shape my iSchool education and development as a professional librarian. I was able to present in front of an entire lecture hall of fellow librarians and information professionals, which was both nerve-racking and edifying. Outside of the presentations and workshops I also had enjoyable experiences with the conference’s social program. I visited The Museum of Romani Culture, which is located in and run by a local Romani community and provided information and perspective of the experiences of Romani both historically and contemporarily. This museum also has its own library system to organize its holdings, which I found very interesting as I have been reading about the convergence of libraries and museums in many of my first-year iSchool classes. Another interesting library that I visited in Brno during the conference was RE:PARÁDA, which is “the first Czech clothing library” and circulates women’s fashion items.
FIAA Grant Recipient Reports - Spring 2014
Conference: Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (CAML) Conference, St. Catharines, Ontario
At the CAML Conference I spoke about The Leslie Bell Papers, an archival fonds that I have been organizing at the University of Toronto Music Library for the past year. Leslie Bell was a prominent Canadian musician and educator who died in 1962. I talked about the collection, the process of organizing the fonds and Leslie Bell’s insights into Canadian musical culture in the 1950s touching on several topics that he discussed in his column in The Toronto Star and on his CBC radio shows. I then talked about the continuation and completion of this project. Immediately after my presentation I met Maureen Nevins, a music archivist at Library and Archives Canada who has been working with music archives for more than 25 years. She introduced herself, gave me her contact information and graciously offered to assist me if I had any questions regarding preservation. The feedback I received after my presentation showed that people were intrigued by Leslie Bell’s acerbic writing and clever commentary. James Mason, the University of Toronto Music Library Technical Services Librarian, who was also at the conference, has asked me to write a blog post on ML5: Periodic Musings from U of T’s Music Library describing The Leslie Bell Papers and encouraging students to explore the fonds once it’s complete. James and others at the CAML conference also encouraged me to submit the paper I presented for publication. Bringing The Leslie Bell Papers to the public eye will increase access to this fonds and to the Music Library’s Special Collections and participating in professional social media and publishing, this paper will help me as I search for a position at an academic library.
Conference: GRASAC Research Conference, Brantford, Ontario
The 2nd GRASAC Research Conference, entitled: Generating New Knowledge from the GKS was hosted in Brantford, Ontario at the Woodland Cultural Centre. I was part of the 3rd panel on Saturday which centred on the topic of mixed media and research methodologies. I was there to present my experience related to a spreadsheet I developed in conjunction with a GRASAC project I undertook during my 2013 summer internship at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg. The conference was a terrific professional opportunity. The FIAA grant enabled me to rent a car to get to and from the conference each day. This coincidentally allowed me to provide a ride to Daniel Laxer, a University of Toronto Ph.D candidate who was also presenting at the conference. During our time on the road we were able to discuss many aspects of our work and GRASAC’s relationship to it. While at the conference, I was able to reconnect with my internship supervisor Dr Maureen Matthews. Being able to experience first-hand how a professional conference was managed presented me with valuable lessons on how these professional gatherings can be both successful in their desire to disseminate knowledge in addition to gathering like-minded people together to push their knowledge and resources even further. Not only did the conference excel in delivering thought provoking presentations, it also shed light on the necessity of embedding Indigenous voices and practices into the structure of a conference of this nature.
Conference: 2014 University of Ottawa English Graduate Student’s Conference, Ottawa, Ontario
Thanks in part to my FIAA conference grant, I was able to travel to Ottawa in March to present a paper at the 2014 University of Ottawa English Graduate Student’s Conference titled The Page: Visual and Material Literature. The event took place over three days and featured the work of 28 other graduate students from English and History departments across Canada. My presentation, “How Blank Space Matters: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in Print and Electronic Form” was based on a paper I wrote for INF2331: The Future of the Book. I used methods from bibliography and book history to compare print and Kobo EPUB editions of the same novel. By analyzing individual passages of Foer’s novel, I suggested that the rearrangement of blank spaces in the EPUB edition significantly disrupted Foer’s original narrative. My analysis confirmed how, as Jerome McGann and other book historians have noted, the same text can vary throughout the process of republication and that textual meaning is closely tied to materiality. As a member of the interdisciplinary Book History & Print Culture (BHPC) collaborative program, I saw the Ottawa conference was a fantastic opportunity to make connections with graduate students from different academic disciplines. I enjoyed hearing the other presenters explore similar issues around the visual and material aspects of texts. More importantly, I received valuable feedback on my presentation from multiple disciplinary perspectives that has helped me to rework and strengthen my paper. Representing the iSchool at a conference was an intimidating yet very rewarding experience and I would certainly encourage current and future iSchool students to attend conferences outside the iSchool community whenever possible.