UNC at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science welcomed three new faculty members in 1997-98 year

Release date: 
February 1, 1998

Chapel Hill, NC — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (SILS) faculty grew stronger by three this year when Gregory B. Newby, Brian W. Sturm and Charles L. Viles joined the school's ranks.

Assistant Professors Newby and Viles joined the faculty in fall 1997 and are teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses. Recruiting for these positions began in 1996 after SILS instituted the new undergraduate minor in information systems minor.

Sturm, who began this spring semester as an instructor, was recruited to round out the children's and young adults' library services portion of the SILS curriculum.

Gregory Newby came to Chapel Hill after six years (1991-97) as assistant professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There he taught graduate-level courses dealing with information technology, networking tools and use, information organization and system design, and user-based design and analysis. During the 1996-97 academic year he also served as assistant dean for GSLIS' technology-based site-independent Master of Science program. He was also instrumental in obtaining start-up and ongoing funding for "Prairienet," Urbana-Champaign's community computing system (Free-Net).

From 1989 to 1991 Newby was an adjunct faculty member in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University in N.Y., where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with information networking. He also worked as project coordinator in the implementation of a new virtual reality laboratory.

Newby's research interests focus on text retrieval, visual information systems, community information systems, electronic and mass media, digital libraries and user-based research methods. Last fall Newby taught INLS 80: Data Communication. This course on Internet technologies is one of those required for the undergraduate minor in information systems. In the spring he will teach INLS 283: Distributed Systems and Administration, in addition to Data Communication.

Newby earned a doctorate in information transfer from Syracuse University in 1993; the title of his dissertation is "Towards Navigation for Information Retrieval." In 1988 he received a master of arts in communication from SUNY Albany, where he had gained a bachelor of arts in communication and psychology in 1987.

"It's a true pleasure to become part of SILS," said Newby. "I have great admiration for the academic quality of the degree programs here and believe SILS offers among the most advanced technical environments for research and teaching of any IS or LS program."

Charles Viles came to SILS from the University of Virginia, where he spent six years (1991-97). In 1997 Viles served as a research associate for the Legion Research Group within the Department of Computer Science. He managed a team that is designing and implementing a run-time library for wide area distributed systems software.

From 1991 to 1996 he worked as a graduate research assistant for the Information Retrieval Group in the Department of Computer Science. There he designed and implemented DRIFT, a novel prototype system for conducting experiments in distributed, dynamic information retrieval. He also maintained a central technical report server for 35 sites; served as Webmaster for the department; installed the first official web server at UVA; and developed a software toolkit for prototyping distributed applications.

Viles' research interests include distributed information retrieval, distributed object systems, Internet resource discovery and undergraduate education. "One of the main reasons that I was interested in SILS was that there was such a good fit with my research," said Viles." The faculty here seem to welcome a real diversity in research areas."

Last fall Viles taught INLS 181: Internet Applications, which covers Internet concepts and technology and related policy and management issues. In the spring he will teach INLS 162: Systems Analysis, as well as co-teaching INLS 172: Information Retrieval and INLS 70: Organizing and Retrieving Information. "I really enjoy teaching," said Viles, "and I am quite excited about having the chance to influence the undergraduate minor." Previously at UVA, he taught Program and Data Representation and Introduction to Computer Science.

Viles earned a doctorate degree in computer science from the University of Virginia in 1996; his dissertation topic was "Maintaining Retrieval Effectiveness in Distributed, Dynamic Information Retrieval Systems." In 1988 he completed a master's of science in computer science at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Va., and received a bachelor's of science in forestry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1984.

"Libraries are changing so rapidly," said Viles, "and I am very interested in studying issues of appropriate use of computers and technology in them."

Sturm was recruited to SILS from his doctorate program in library and information science at Indiana University, in Bloomington. He will complete his dissertation this March, graduate in May and then be reappointed as assistant professor in SILS.

From 1994-95 he was the Acting Assistant Director for the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science at South Bend, Ind. He has also been a children's librarian in Indiana and Rhode Island and an outdoor educator for fifth- and sixth-grade students in California. A professional storyteller since 1990, Sturm has performed and conducted workshops for adults and children at schools, libraries, conferences and special events.

Sturm's teaching and research interests focus on the entrancing power of storytelling, children's literature and public library services to children and young adults. The topic of Sturm's doctoral dissertation is "The Storylistening Trance: A Systems Approach to the Storylistening Discrete Altered State of Consciousness." "Storytelling has a remarkable ability to enthrall or entrance those who listen to it," said Sturm. "I'm interested in finding out what listeners experience when they listen to a story and are 'entranced.'"

This spring at SILS Sturm is teaching INLS 243: Administration of Public Library Work with Children and Young Adults, a course designed for those who may work directly with young people or who intend to work in public libraries. "Already I can see that SILS has really dynamic, dedicated students," said Sturm. "One of my challenges as a professor is finding out what is essentially interesting to each student. If they walk out of class without loving what they've done, I've failed."

Sturm earned a master's of library science in 1991 from Indiana University, in Bloomington, Ind., and a bachelor of arts in French from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., in 1985.

"I am really thrilled to be here," said Sturm. "I am honored to start my academic career in a school of this caliber."

The School of Information and Library Science is home to approximately 250 graduate students, 60 undergraduates and 19 full-time faculty members. It prepares students to work with computer information systems and networks or for careers in library administration, acquisitions, collections management and other aspects of library work. The school offers master's degrees in information science and library science, a certificate of advanced study, a doctor of philosophy in information and library science and an undergraduate minor in information systems.