School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
INLS 882 – Research Issues and Questions
[Last Updated: 2019-01-21]

Spring 2019
Meeting Time: 2:00-4:45
Location: Manning 303
Credits: 3
Instructor: Cal Lee
Office: Manning 212
Phone: 919-962-7024
E-Mail: callee [at][ils - DOT - unc DOT - edu]
Office Hours: By appointment
Course Web Site:


Overview. Intensive and systematic investigation of the fundamental ideas in information and library science. Exploration and discussion in seminar format.

The goal of this year-long course is to prepare students to become productive scholars. Students will be introduced to the range of research questions and issues that arise in the field of information and library science, with particular emphasis on the research interests of the current SILS faculty and doctoral students. The role of both theory and prior empirical research in generating research questions will be discussed. The variety of methods available to conduct ILS research will be reviewed.

The class members will participate in reading, reviewing, analyzing, and discussing, in some detail, relevant research literature in many facets of information and library science. As we explore each of these areas, you will be asked to consider how your own research interests interact with them. Is your research interest fully included in one of these areas? Is it a combination of two or more of the areas? Is it related to one or more of these areas, but also brings in the perspectives of other disciplines? Through our discussion and the assignments, you will have the opportunity to further develop your own interests in relation to the larger field of information and library science.

A second goal of this seminar is to assist the participants in being successful as doctoral students at SILS and as future scholars. This goal will be addressed by providing opportunities for you to develop particular research-related knowledge and skills, including:

Rationale and relationship to the current curriculum. It is required that students take INLS 881 and INLS 882 in consecutive semesters at or near the beginning of their doctoral studies. The discussions in this seminar will help students identify research questions of particular interest to them and will provide a context within which initial explorations of those questions can be conducted.

Special Needs: If you feel that you may need an accommodation for a disability or have any other special need, please make an appointment to discuss this with me. I will best be able to address special circumstances if I know about them early in the semester. My office hours and contact information are listed at the beginning of this syllabus.

Diversity Statement
"In support of the University’s diversity goals and the mission of the School of Information and Library Science, SILS embraces diversity as an ethical and societal value. We broadly define diversity to include race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual orientation and physical and learning ability. As an academic community committed to preparing our graduates to be leaders in an increasingly multicultural and global society we strive to:

The statement represents a commitment of resources to the development and maintenance of an academic environment that is open, representative, reflective and committed to the concepts of equity and fairness."

~The faculty of the School of Information and Library Science (


It is very important that you both attribute your sources and avoid excessive use of quotes (see separate document called "In Your Own Words"). Be aware of the University of North Carolina policy on plagiarism. Your written work must be original. Ask if you have any doubts about what this means.

All cases of plagiarism (unattributed quotation or paraphrasing) of anyone else's work, whether from someone else's answers to homework or from published materials, will be officially reported and dealt with according to UNC policies (Instrument of Student Judicial Governance, Section II.B.1. and III.D.2,


The assignments for the two-semester seminar aim to foster your growth as a scholar and researcher in information and library science, through participation in discussions, reviews of current issues and the relevant literature, and development of research questions and proposals. They include:

Seminar participation and contributions (20%)

You are expected to complete reading assignments prior to the class in which they will be discussed. I will be expecting you to be an active participant in class, remembering that the quality of your comments and questions is as important as the quantity.  Other contributions to the seminar are also important, such as sharing interesting articles you have read, things you have learned, or questions to which you do not know the answer. As a researcher, you are expected to express opinions, as well as the reasons and evidence for them.

Seminal works; inspirational works/events (10% total, 5% for each)

As we read and discuss important topics in library and information science this year, we will have the task of exploring each area’s underlying theories, the methods used, and current work in the area. We’ll increase our exposure to these research areas through your contributions. Each semester, each student will be expected to select, read, and report on (a) one seminal work and (b) one inspirational work or event, in the context of a class discussion.

Rewrite of INLS 881 Final Paper: Developing your own research interests in relation to specific aspects of the field (10%) [Due: February 8 at 5pm]

For this assignment, you will rewrite your analytical literature review focused very specifically on your own research interests from last semester. You should again include a brief prospectus for a study that you’d like to conduct as a preliminary look at your research area. The introduction and literature review of the paper should provide a rationale for conducting the study; the prospectus should provide a brief explanation of how the study will be carried out.

Evaluation criteria

The paper should be approximately 5-7 pages, single-spaced, plus references; the prospectus portion should be approximately 1-2 pages.

The criteria used to evaluate your final product will be similar to the criteria routinely applied to research proposals. These include the significance of the question/problem to the field, the adequacy of the citations to previous work, the feasibility, validity and logic of your plans for a study, and the organization, clarity, and style of your presentation.

Seminal works

A seminal work is one that initiates a new area of research – it might propose a different way of understanding some phenomenon and/or be a ground-breaking empirical study. In all cases, it was work that later scholars built upon fruitfully. For the purposes of this assignment, any article that was published prior to 1998, that has been cited more than 50 times, and that you believe was important to the development of the field is eligible.

Read a seminal article of your choosing. Are there issues or questions from the literature we discussed that built on this work or were informed by it? In what way is this article still important for current research?

Be prepared to give a brief, informal summary of the selected article and your thoughts and ideas about it (5 minutes, no slides). You should report on the seminar work during the section of the course to which it is pertinent. Send the article citation to the class list by NOON ON SUNDAY before the class session in which you will present it (earlier is appreciated), as well as posting the full text in the Forum section of our Sakai site.

Inspirational works/events

An inspirational article or event may help you develop or understand a research question, make you think about something you thought you understood in a new way, serve as the basis for a line of research, model a particular research method, drive you to demonstrate that the author/speaker is wrong, or be an example of excellent research.

Select your inspirational work or event (it could be an article, a book chapter, a web site, a lecture, a video, or a conference presentation). As soon as possible after you’ve identified the inspirational work or event, you will share it with us in class.

Please notify me when you’re ready to tell us about this work or event — why you find this work or event inspirational, and how it is helping you or will help you with your work. (Note that I am not asking you to summarize it.) Send the work’s citation or a link to the event’s website to the class list by NOON ON SUNDAY before the class session in which you will present it (earlier is appreciated), as well as posting the full text (if applicable) to the Forum section of our Sakai site.

Evaluation criteria

This assignment will be evaluated in terms of the selection of the works/event (i.e., it was important for the field and relevant to the topic at hand), the clarity of your summation and analysis, and the originality of your ideas about it. This assignment (seminal work and inspirational work/event combined) will account for 5% of your grade each semester.

Looking outward: Understanding the field in relation to your own research interests (30%)

Throughout the course, we will examine current research questions (including current studies, relevant theories, and applicable methods) in a variety of areas.

You will be asked to conduct an analytical literature review in three of these areas, with a focus on how your own research interests are related to the area.  In each review, you should focus on the literature in a particular area that connects with your own research interests.


You will write a brief description (about 1 paragraph) focused on the particular facet of our field that the review will cover, along with how your own research interests connect with that facet of the field.  You will then informally discuss your work with your classmates.

Schedule of due dates

    Brief description - due one week before the relevant class session
    Informal discussion in class - on the week of the relevant class session
    Final product - one week after the relevant class session

Evaluation criteria

Each review should be approximately 5 pages (single-spaced). While the number of citations included in each will vary, each review should incorporate at least 20 references. (You’ll likely read/examine more than 50 works for each review, in preparation for writing it.)

The criteria used to evaluate each of your analytical reviews will be similar to the criteria routinely applied to scholarly literature reviews. These include the significance of the question/problem to the field, the adequacy of the citations to previous work, the validity and logic of your analysis of that literature, the originality of your perspective on past work and its relationship to your own interests, and the organization, clarity, and style of your presentation.

Looking inward: Developing your own research interests in relation to specific aspects of the field (30%) [Due: April 29 at 5pm]

In each of the reviews just described, you are considering a particular aspect of the field of information and library science, and how your research interests are positioned in relation to that aspect of the field. In other words, you’re taking the broad view and positioning your interests within it. In this assignment, you’ll focus on your own research interests and try to specify them more clearly, still keeping in mind their position within the field. In other words, you’ll take the specific view based on your own interests, and discuss them in relation to what you’ve learned about the broader field.  As you consider the various things that you’ve learned about these three areas in the first semester, your own interests will likely evolve. For this assignment, you will write an analytical literature review focused very specifically on your own research interests. You should identify a target publication venue (conference with published proceedings or journal) for your literature review.

Evaluation criteria

The final paper should be approximately 10-12 pages, single-spaced, plus references.

The criteria used to evaluate your final product will be adequacy of the citations to and synthesis of previous work; articulation of a specific area (or areas) of research within that context; organization; clarity; and style of your presentation.

Week 1 - No Class - (Classes begin on January 9)

Week 2 (January 15) - Intro Week

Week 3 (January 22) - Teaching and Learning; Producing and Maintaining CVs

Guests: Sayamindu Dasgupta, Gary Marchionini, Maggie Melo

Assigned Readings:

Dasgupta, Sayamindu, and Benjamin Mako Hill. "How 'Wide Walls' Can Increase Engagement: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Scratch." In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: ACM Press.

Marchionini, Gary. "Search, Sense Making and Learning: Closing Gaps." Information and Learning Science (2018).

Melo, Marijel, and Antonnet Johnson. "Teaching Technical Writing through Designing and Running Escape Rooms." Dialogue 5, no. 2 (2018).

Week 4 (January 29) - Information Retrieval and Information Seeking - Part 1

Guest: Amelia Gibson

Assigned Readings:

Gibson, Amelia N., and Samantha Kaplan. "Place, Community and Information Behavior: Spatially Oriented Information Seeking Zones and Information Source Preferences." Library and Information Science Research 39 (2017): 131-39.

Gibson, Amelia N., Samantha Kaplan, and Emily Vardell. "A Survey of Information Source Preferences of Parents of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 47 (2017): 2189–204.

Mostafa, Javed, and Jacek Gwizdka. "Deepening the Role of the User: Neuro-Physiological Evidence as a Basis for Studying and Improving Search." In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, 63-70. New York: ACM Press, 2016.

Week 5 (February 5)  - Data Science and Curation

Guests: Arcot Rajasekar, Ryan Shaw

Assigned Readings:

Billah, Mirza M., Jonathan L. Goodall, Ujjwal Narayan, Bakinam T. Essawy, Venkat Lakshmi, Arcot Rajasekar, and Reagan W. Moore. "Using a Data Grid to Automate Data Preparation Pipelines Required for Regional-Scale Hydrologic Modeling." Environmental Modelling and Software 78 (2016): 31-39.

Marchionini, Gary. "Information Science Roles in the Emerging Field of Data Science." Journal of Data and Information Science 1, no. 2 (2016): 1-6.

Rajasekar, Arcot, John Orcutt, and Frank Vernon. "Workflow-Oriented Cyberinfrastructure for Sensor Data Analytics." In iRODS User Group Meeting 2017 Proceedings, 23-34. Chapel Hill, NC: iRODS Consortium, 2017. [Sakai]

Shaw, Ryan. "Big Data and Reality." Big Data and Society  (July-December 2015).

Other Related Readings:

Tibbo, Helen R. "Digital Curation Education and Training: From Digitization to Graduate Curricula to MOOCs." International Journal of Digital Curation 10, no. 1 (2015): 144-53.

Week 6 (February 12) -  Information Retrieval and Information Seeking - part 2

Guests: Jaime Arguello, Rob Capra

Assigned Readings:

Arguello, Jaime. "Aggregated Search." Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval 10, no. 5 (2017): 365-502. [Introduction: 366-383]

Arguello, Jaime, Bogeum Choi, and Robert Capra. "Factors Influencing Users’ Information Requests: Medium, Target, and Extra-Topical Dimension." ACM Transactions on Information Systems 36, no. 4 (2018).

Shah, Chirag, Rob Capra, and Preben Hansen. "Research Agenda for Social and Collaborative Information Seeking." Library and Information Science Research 39 (2017): 140-46.

Week 7 (February 19) - Telling Stories - Verbally and Visually

Guest: David Gotz, Brian Sturm

Assigned Readings:

Gotz, David, Wenyuan Wang, Annie T. Chen, and David Borland. "Visualization Model Validation Via Inline Replication." Information Visualization  (forthcoming).

Guo, Shunan, Zhuochen Jin, David Gotz, Fan Du, Hongyuan Zha, and Nan Cao. "Visual Progression Analysis of Event Sequence Data." IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 25, no. 1 (2019): 417-26.

Nelson, Sarah Beth, and Brian William Sturm. "Storytelling." In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 4437-46. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2017. [Sakai]

Week 8 (February 26) - Social Networks and Social Media - Part 1 (Foundations); Grant Proposals

Assigned Readings:

Eschenfelder, Kristin R., Morgaine Gilchrist Scott, Kalpana Shankar, and Greg Downey. "Social Science Data Archives: A Historical Social Network Analysis." IASSIST Quarterly  (2016): 6-19.

Otte, Evelien, and Ronald Rousseau. "Social Network Analysis: A Powerful Strategy, Also for the Information Sciences." Journal of Information Science 28, no. 6 (2002): 441-53.

Scott, Jason. Social Network Analysis. Fourth Edition. SAGE, 2017. [Chapters 1 and 5.]

Other Related Readings:

Freeman, Linton C. The Development of Social Network Analysis: A Study in the Sociology of Science. Vancouver, BC: Empirical Press, 2004. [See especially Chapter 1.]

Week 9 (March 5) - Social Networks and Social Media - Part 2

Guest: Zeynep Tufekci

Assigned Readings:

Law, John, and Michel Callon. "The Life and Death of an Aircraft: A Network Analysis of Technological Change." In Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change, edited by Wiebe E. Bijker and John Law. Inside Technology, 20-52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992. [Sakai]

Winget, Megan. "A Meditation on Social Reading and Its Implications for Preservation." Preservation, Digital Technology and Culture 42, no. 1 (2013): 1-14. [Sakai]

Wu, Yingcai, Nan Cao, David Gotz, Yap-Peng Tan, and Daniel A. Keim. "A Survey on Visual Analytics of Social Media Data." IEEE Transactions on Multimedia 18 (2016): 2135-48.

Tufekci, Zeynep. Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017. [Specifically: Introduction - xx-xxxi]

Week 10 (March 12) - (Spring Break)

Week 11 (March 19) - Library Services to Meet Specific Population Needs

Guests: Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Cliff Missen, Casey Rawson

Assigned Readings:

Fahia,Saeed. "Using Digital Libraries to Overcome Information Famine." University World News, January 11, 2019.

Hughes-Hassell, Sandra, Pauletta Brown Bracy, and Casey H. Rawson, eds. Libraries, Literacy and African American Youth: Research and Practice. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2017. [Ethnic and Racial Development in African Amercan Youth (49-62), Characteristics of Effective Library Services for African American Youth (103-117)]. [Sakai]

Miner, Edward A., and Cliff Missen. "'Internet in a Box': Augmenting Badwidth with the Egranary Digital Library." Africa Today 52, no. 2 (2005): 21-37.

Philbin, Morgan M., Caroline M. Parker, Mary Grace Flaherty, and Jennifer S. Hirsch. "Public Libraries: A Community-Level Resource to Advance Population Health." Journal of Community Health  (forthcoming).

Week 12 (March 26) - Conceptualizing Information Artifacts and Systems

Guests: Melanie Feinberg, Colin Post, Ryan Shaw

Assigned Readings:

Feinberg, Melanie. "Reading Databases: Slow Information Interactions Beyond the Retrieval Paradigm." Journal of Documentation 73, no. 2 (2017): 336-56.

Feinberg, Melanie. "Material Vision." In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 604-17. New York: ACM Press, 2017.

Lee, Christopher A. “Digital Curation as Communication Mediation.” In Handbook of Technical Communication, edited by Alexander Mehler, Laurent Romary, and Dafydd Gibbon, 507-530.  Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter, 2012.

Losee, Robert M. "Information Theory for Information Science: Antecedents, Philosophy, and Applications." Education for Information 33 (2017): 23-35.

Post, Colin, Patrick Golden, and Ryan Shaw. "Never the Same Stream: Netomat, XLink, and Metaphors of Web Documents." In Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Document Engineering. New York: ACM Press, 2018.

Week 13 (April 2) - Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

Guest: Fei Yu

Assigned Readings:

Jarrahi, Mohammad Hossein, Gabriela Philips, Will Sutherland, Steve Sawyer, and Ingrid Erickson. "Personalization of Knowledge, Personal Knowledge Ecology, and Digital Nomadism." Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, forthcoming.

Mosaly, Prithima Reddy, Lukasz M. Mazur, Fei Yu, Hua Guo, Merck Derek, David H. Laidlaw, Carlton Moore, Lawrence B. Marks, and Javed Mostafa. "Relating Task Demand, Mental Effort and Task Difficulty with Physicians’ Performance During Interactions with Electronic Health Records (EHRs)." International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction 34, no. 5 (2018): 467-75.

Wang, Yue, Dawei Yin, Luo Jie, Pengyuan Wang, Makoto Yamada, Yi Chang, and Qiaozhu Mai. "Optimizing Whole-Page Presentation for Web Search." ACM Transactions on the Web 9, no. 4 (2017).

Week 14 (April 9) - Scholarly Communications

Guest: Brad Hemminger

Assigned Readings:

Hemminger, Bradley M., and Julia TerMaat. "Annotating for the World: Attitudes toward Sharing Scholarly Annotations." Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 65, no. 1 (2014): 2278-92.

Mostafa, Javed. "Sanitizing Signals in Scholarship and Mass Media: Integrity Informatics I." Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 68, no. 1 (2017): 3-4.

Priem, Jason, and Bradley M. Hemminger. "Decoupling the Scholarly Journal." Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 6 (2012).

Priem, Jason, and Bradley M. Hemminger. "Scientometrics 2.0: Toward New Metrics of Scholarly Impact on the Social Web." First Monday 15, no. 7 (2010).

Week 15 (April 16) - Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning

Guests: Stephanie Haas, Javed Mostafa, Ray Wang

Assigned Readings:

Haas, Stephanie W., Debbie Travers, Anna Waller, Deepika Mahalingam, John Crouch, Todd A. Schwartz, and Javed Mostafa. "Emergency Medical Text Classifier: New System Improves Processing and Classification of Triage Notes." Online Journal of Public Health Informatics 6, no. 2 (2014).

Wang, Yue, Kai Zheng, Hua Xu, and Qiaozhu Mei. "Interactive Medical Word Sense Disambiguation through Informed Learning." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 25, no. 7 (2018): 800-08.

Week 16 (April 23) - Professional and Institutional Dynamics

Guests: Mohammad Jarrahi, Debbie Maron

Assigned Readings:

Maron, Deborah, and Melanie Feinberg. "What Does It Mean to Adopt a Metadata Standard? A Case Study of Omeka and the Dublin Core." Journal of Documentation 74, no. 4 (2018): 674-91.

Sutherland, Will, and Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi. "The Sharing Economy and Digital Platforms: A Review and Research Agenda." International Journal of Information Management 43 (2018): 328-41.

I would like to express my gratitude to Barbara Wildemuth and Amelia Gibson for sharing materials from earlier iterations of this course.