International Scholars Bring Diverse Perspectives to SILS

September 27, 2011

The School of Information and Library Science (SILS) is a multicultural place, and nowhere is SILS’ commitment to bringing diverse perspectives to our intellectual community more evident than in the range of international scholars, both visiting scholars and research collaborators, who are currently spending time working with faculty sponsors at Manning Hall.

HuangDr. Kun Huang arrived at SILS in January 2011 from her home institution, Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China, where she is associate professor in the Department of Information Management at the School of Management. Dr. Huang’s primary research interest is in image information retrieval. In her time at SILS, she has collaborated with her faculty sponsor, Dr. Diane Kelly, Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor, and SILS doctoral student Wan-Ching Wu on a project examining how people evaluate query quality in information search.

She gave a talk based on her image retrieval research as part of the CRADLE (Center for Research and Development of Digital Libraries) seminar series in April, and is currently designing a study on image information seeking behavior, also in collaboration with Dr. Kelly. Having audited a number of SILS graduate courses over the last two semesters to gain a more thorough understanding of American information science pedagogical methods, Dr. Huang will return to Beijing in December.

This month, Huabing Qiu begins a six-month period as a research collaborator at SILS. Qiu is a librarian in Wuhan – the capital of Hubei province in central China – at the Wuhan Branch of the National Sciences Library, a part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Qiu’s research focuses on information seeking behavior and metadata information literacy. After an initial period familiarizing himself with the knowledge management and resource development practices at UNC’s largest libraries, Qiu will work with his faculty sponsors, Dr. Brad Hemminger, associate professor, and Dr. Jane Greenberg, professor, on understanding the information seeking behavior of graduate students in the sciences and how they manage their datasets. Qiu hopes his involvement with the Informatics and Visualization Lab and the Metadata Resource Center at SILS will enable him to conduct studies about information seeking behavior at his home institution when he returns in April. 

Another Wuhan native will be among the visiting scholars at SILS this year as well. In November, Dr. Fenglin Li will begin his year-long stint at SILS sponsored by Dean Gary Marchionini. Dr. Li is a professor at the School of Information Management at Wuhan University. His research will focus on aspects of cognitive architecture related to information needs analysis. By applying theoretical aspects of cognitive and behavioral science to information needs research, Dr. Li will examine how psychological factors, such as an individual’s motivation, interest and knowledge affect a person’s conscious or unconscious need to locate information. Dr. Li will be conducting research at SILS, and he hopes to have time to attend some classes, until October 2012.

ZongAs the SILS community gets to know these international scholars, it also bids a fond farewell to those whose time at Manning Hall is drawing to a close. Dr. Xiaojie Zong is returning this month to her position on the faculty of the School of Computer Science and Information Engineering at Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou, eastern China. Having been sponsored by Dr. Deborah Barreau, Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor, Dr. Zong spent the last year furthering her research interests in information systems design and the management of information systems in organizations, completing a couple of papers that were accepted for publication in China. She was also able to sit in on some classes at SILS to learn about our curriculum and requirements. 

Finally, SILS bids farewell to Dr. Özgür Külcü, a visiting scholar, and Hande Uzun Külcü, a research collaborator. This husband-and-wife team’s time at SILS was sponsored by Dr. Barbara Moran, Louis Round Wilson Distinguished Professor. Hailing from the Turkish capital, Ankara, Dr. Külcü is an associate professor in the Department of Information Management at Hacettepe University. Mrs. Külcü is a senior records manager at the Turkish Red Crescent Society. Their research focuses on electronic information systems and developing metadata tags for archival resources. In their short stint at SILS, from June 20 to September 30, the Külcüs visited information centers, record centers, archives and museums around the Research Triangle and in Washington, D.C. and New York City, as well as attending conferences and classes. The Külcüs are highly involved with the Turkish team of the InterPARES 3 (International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems) project, which seeks to “translate the theory and methods of digital preservation developed by InterPARES… into concrete action plans for existing bodies of records that are to be kept over the long term by archives – and archival/records units within organizations – endowed with limited resources.”

“International visitors serve multiple aspects of the SILS mission,” said Dr. Gary Marchionini, dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor. “First, they bring alternative experiences and insights to our educational program. By sharing their unique perspectives, our students and faculty learn contexts for our own studies and have foils to reflect upon our own practices (e.g., a librarian who comes from a culture of closed stacks surprises most American students who typically only know about libraries with open stacks). Second, these visitors act as ambassadors from SILS to their native lands. These links lead to student applications, collaborative research, and exchange for our students and faculty.”