Dr. Roy awarded $488K to help veterans become librarians

Ferguson, John  |  May 04, 2017

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Loriene Roy
Grants & Awards

Texas iSchool Professor Loriene Roy has received a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help U.S. veterans become librarians.

In partnership with San José State University and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Dr. Roy will use the $488,501 IMLS grant to conduct a three-year project titled “Reaching Those Who Served: Recruiting and Preparing Military Veterans for Careers in Librarianship.”

The project aims to answer two research questions:

  • How do military veterans choose careers in librarianship and information studies?
  • What are effective strategies to recruit veterans into LIS graduate programs?

Jobs in the information fields share characteristics of a number of “hot jobs” for military veterans, Dr. Roy said. Such careers include IT specialist, math or science teacher and civilian public servant.

Based on the findings of their research, she and her partners will develop guidelines and strategies for recruiting veterans to library and information science master’s programs, among related initiatives. The project will also provide scholarships for 12 military veterans to attend LIS master’s programs.

“Reaching Those Who Served” was one of 14 projects selected from a field of 58 applications.

The project builds on Dr. Roy’s earlier work with organizations such as the Austin-based nonprofit group SongwritingWith:Soldiers. In 2014 she received a one-year, $50,000 grant from IMLS to plan for “Reaching Those Who Served.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to extend our understanding of how libraries work with military veterans,” Dr. Roy said. “This time we are admitting veterans into master’s programs and studying approaches to recruiting veterans into the information professions.”

For more information, contact Dr. Roy at loriene@ischool.utexas.edu.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through a 3-year (2017-2020) grant {RE-96-17-0018-17].

Dr. Xie boosting older adults' eHealth skills

Ferguson, John  |  Mar 08, 2017

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Bo Xie
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Dr. Bo Xie
Bo Xie
Grants & Awards

Associate Professor Bo Xie is working on a project that will help older adults use the Internet to make informed choices about health and medicine.

Dr. Xie received a $426,127 grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging for the study, which is titled “Boosting Older Adults’ Cognition by Training Real-World eHealth Skills.”

“Older adults face a range of medical decisions,” Dr. Xie said. “The Internet has the potential to meet their needs for a diverse range of health information.”

However, age-related declines in attention, memory and reasoning can make it challenging for the elderly to take full advantage of online resources, she said. Older people also tend to be less familiar with new technology.

To help them overcome these obstacles, Dr. Xie is collaborating with older adults to develop a three-month curriculum that incorporates problem sets and activities that relate to their everyday life decisions.

“There is a dire need for intervention that can improve older adults’ ability to obtain and evaluate online health information and strengthen cognitive processes that are key to daily health-related behaviors,” she said.

Dr. Xie is principal investigator of the project, which began in September 2016 and is scheduled to end in May 2018.

Professors receive funding to digitize historical records on asylum

Fernandes, Allen  |  Nov 19, 2015

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Professors Patricia Galloway, King Davis and Unmil Karadkar.
Faculty News
Grants & Awards


Three faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin's School of Information have received a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to develop and field test a digital infrastructure for preserving and managing the historical public records from the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane in Petersburg, Virginia.

King Davis, Patricia Galloway and Unmil Karadkar will use the $763,000 to develop methods and tools for critical policy analysis, digital technology and archival preservation methods to increase access to historical mental health records and documents while still protecting privacy.

The project is expected to begin this month and end in 2018.

"Families and scholars have requested access to these records for many years to enable them to conduct genealogical and academic research. However, most states limit access to such records based in part on historical precedents and concerns about stigma and privacy," said Davis, a former commissioner of mental health for the Commonwealth of Virginia and current professor of research in the School of Information and professor emeritus in African and African Diaspora Studies.

The asylum was established in 1868 and was the first of its kind in the United States. It has maintained over 800,000 public records that detail the origins of the hospital and the racially segregated services provided for almost 100 years.

From 2008 to 2012, the UT Austin research project received planning support from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors to digitize and stabilize the majority of the asylum's public records, which are the most complete set of archival-quality records in the United States, according to Davis.

"I'm proud of professors Davis, Galloway, and Karadkar for attracting this important grant," said Bill Powers, the university's president. "To better preserve and manage records like these is to open a door to a better understanding of how issues of race and mental health were dealt with in the past. And understanding the past is a critical step to improving the future."

The Mellon Foundation grant will enable the researchers to create a protected digital preservation archive of the asylum records and a mechanism for releasing records that have been made anonymous as well as patterns for supporting research in areas such as history, mental health and health policy.

Karadkar and students in the School of Information are developing methods to extract computable data and patterns from hand-written documents, which will be scaled to accommodate the large volume of records from the asylum.

"The software we develop will be broadly applicable to digital collections with similar characteristics, especially for records of mental health institutions in other southern states that were once segregated by race," said Karadkar.

Galloway will work with postdoctoral students and families of the institution's patients to ensure that the new digital library is easy to access.

"Providing possible solutions to both mental health providers and archival custodians of these records can both help guarantee their preservation and enable their lawful release for research by scholars and families," Galloway said. "However, opening access to families and scholars must still abide by the prevailing state and federal laws on privacy."

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