SILS graduate student, Emily Roscoe, to receive Impact Award

March 28, 2012

Emily RoscoeOn April 4, School of Information and Library Science (SILS) graduate student, Emily Roscoe, will receive a Graduate School Impact Award for her research. The Impact Award honors students whose research has been of benefit to North Carolina and beyond. Roscoe is one of 22 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduates who will receive the award and participate in a poster presentation during the Graduate Student Recognition Celebration.

“For the seventh year, the Impact Awards are recognizing outstanding graduate students whose research offers reason for hope—whether it's the promise of saving a life or saving a way of life,” said Graduate School Dean Steve Matson. “This year's award-winning research covers a variety of areas: education, the environment, economic development, health, public administration and more. The recipients, however, share a determination to find answers to some of our state's most compelling challenges.”

Roscoe, an Educating Stewards of Public Information in the 21st Century Project (ESOPI-21) fellow, who is working toward a dual degree in library science and public administration, will be recognized for her research on, "The Need for a Return to First Principles in Public Records Law."

Technological advances continue to accelerate our ability to create and share information. For public officials, this creates a challenge: how to ensure public accountability as well as access to records located within an unprecedented level of data. Roscoe conducted several research projects focused on creating information management resources to help N.C. policymakers manage this critical issue.

As a part of her capstone study, Roscoe surveyed N.C. public officials on their understanding of state-issued retention and disposition schedules for public records. She then conducted a legal analysis of public officials' obligations and the original intent of laws governing public official accountability. Her findings indicated inconsistency between current policies and the first principles of public records law—to offer meaningful information to the public about the rationale behind important government decisions. Roscoe presented her findings to more than 200 government representatives and faculty experts in the field.

While serving a federal fellowship at the N.C. Government Records Branch, Roscoe conducted background research for and developed policies including a social media policy for the State of North Carolina and local governments. This policy is believed to be the first recognized state social media policy in the nation.

Some of her publications about the social media usage include:

Roscoe spent 18 months in partnership with the UNC at Chapel Hill School of Government providing guidance on storage capability and regulation language to a committee of the N.C. Association of Registers of Deeds charged with drafting new indexing standards for local land management records. She also taught classes for public officials at the School of Government on issues related to public information.

“My aim is to contribute to the reform of important but not well-understood laws and rules, shed light on the growing complexity of public recordkeeping and educate the citizens of North Carolina,” Roscoe said.