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Matt Hannah, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Matt Hannah

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities Matt Hannah has been busily laying the foundation for an ongoing and robust discussion about digital humanities (DH) and to advance digital scholarship overall at Purdue. Since he started at Purdue in March 2018, he has put together and delivered many DH workshops and contributed to many digital scholarship projects and efforts on campus, and is developing a DH Studio in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education (HSSE) Library.

Recently, he also launched the Digital Interest Group at Purdue, which will meet monthly. Group members will discuss key scholarship ideas, projects, and concepts in DH, computational social sciences, Critical Data Studies, science and technology studies, digital history, data science, and more. The first meeting is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11; visit http://bit.ly/dhigpurdue to sign up for the group (location to TBD). According to Hannah (who goes by @TinkeringHuman on Twitter), the group will also tinker with various methodologies and tools, write and share code, and discuss digital projects.

“We imagine this interest group will become a hub for anyone at Purdue interested in digital scholarship broadly conceived,” he noted.

In addition to advancing DH at Purdue, Hannah will advance DH internationally, as he has recently accepted a fellowship as a Fulbright Specialist with a few institutions in Morocco to set up a DH boot camp for digital scholars there.

Below, Hannah shares more about his upcoming fellowship and the DH work he will be doing in Morocco over the next three years.

Q. How did you come to know about this opportunity?

Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Matt Hannah works in the programming language R in his office in the DH Studio located in the HSSE Library. In the spring of 2019, offered a text analysis workshop series using R.

Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Matt Hannah works in the programming language R in his office in the DH Studio located in the HSSE Library. In the spring of 2019, he offered a text analysis workshop series using R.

Hannah: Because of the work we’ve been doing in Digital Humanities at Purdue, I was contacted by Dr. Stacy Holden, an associate professor of history at Purdue, who specializes in the Middle East. She has been working in Morocco for many years, and she’s currently there on a Fulbright fellowship. She articulated an interest in Digital Humanities among faculty and staff she’s collaborated with in Morocco and suggested I apply for a Fulbright Specialist fellowship to organize intensive Digital Humanities workshops to be conducted over several days. I then worked with Dr. Christopher Lukasic to prepare an application, and, for a time, we weren’t sure whether our idea would be successful.

Q. You mentioned you will work with individuals in institutions in Morocco to set up a Digital Humanities boot camp. Tell me more about this project and/or projects. What will they entail?

Hannah: Fulbright Specialists serve shorter terms, generally around a particular project in which an expert in the field may be paired with an overseas institution to collaborate. Through Dr. Holden’s contacts in Morocco, I’ve been in communication with colleagues at Abdelmalek Essaadi University in Tétouan and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane to arrange week-long intensive Digital Humanities workshops. These workshops will cover the range of possible tools and methods so participants will gain a wide ranging set of skills in DH by the end of the week. In addition, I will coordinate with faculty and staff to consult on existing projects and initiatives.

Q. What do you hope to achieve with your boot camps?

Hannah: I am hoping to develop great relationships with Moroccan digital humanists and develop a strong network of international collaboration around the topic of digital scholarship. In addition, I plan to consult with faculty working on DH projects and lend assistance where I can. Finally, I hope to develop an intensive curriculum that I can teach at other universities around the world. I’m grateful to Fulbright for making such international relationships possible.

Q. What is the timeline for your boot camps over the next three years? Any collaborators you want to recognize, share information about?

Hannah: I’d love to visit other universities in Morocco to conduct similar workshops. Often, Digital Humanities gets discussed as though it were only an Anglo-American phenomenon, when we know scholars around the world are doing dynamic and exciting work. I also hope to develop this boot camp series into an offering I can teach at other international universities and colleges, as well as offer to interested parties at Purdue.

Q. Any other information that will be important to include that isn’t touched on the questions above?

Hannah: One key aspect of the Fulbright role is to gain knowledge from my hosts. I’m very much looking forward to discovering what Digital Humanities looks like in the Moroccan context and, through a process of collaboration, to expand my own scholarly horizons through the sustained conversations made possible by the Fulbright program.


For more information about DH at Purdue, contact Hannah at hannah8@purdue.edu.

Every year, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies hosts the Purdue GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Day Conference. During it, Purdue students demonstrate how they have applied GIS in their individual areas of study and research. Nicole Kong, PULSIS associate professor and GIS specialist at Purdue, heads up the conference, along with a team of collaborators from across Purdue, all who are involved in GIS work in some way. This year, the Purdue GIS Day Conference is set for Thursday, Nov. 7 in Stewart Center. (More information about research and project submission deadlines is available at lib.purdue.edu/gis/gisday/gisday_2019_college_program.)

Nicole Kong, associate professor and GIS specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Nicole Kong, associate professor and GIS specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

In addition to planning the Purdue GIS Day Conference and her teaching duties, Kong serves as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for various GIS and data-science research projects at Purdue. Recently, she was awarded funding in Purdue’s Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI) for the project, “Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines.” In addition, she is co-PI for two more GIS-related projects, both which were recently funded through U.S. government agencies. The projects include:

  • 2019 – 2020: “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training.” USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture), NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), Soil Science Collaborative Research Proposals Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO). PI: D. Schulze (agronomy) and co-PI J. Ackerson (agronomy): $52,295.49.
  • 2018 – 2019: “IndianaView Program Development and Operations for the State of Indiana.” AmericaView program, U.S. Geological Survey. Co-PI, with L. Biehl, (ITaP), J. Shan (civil engineering): $23,000.

Kong’s important work on the two government-funded research projects has implications for soil research, conservation efforts, and the training of soil scientists, as well as remotely sensed data collections that contribute to the AmericaView project. Data from this project can help inform national and international economic, environmental, social, health, and geopolitical decisions.

“The AmericaView Consortium is charged with helping each state overcome these difficulties and helps the university, secondary-education, and public sectors in each state identify, develop, and distribute the kinds of applications each state needs most. In light of our nation’s current focus on achieving a secure and stable digital infrastructure, never has this task been more relevant,” Kong explained.

Below, Kong provides more background about both projects and how the research in both contributes to soil mapping across the globe, as well as the mapping, monitoring, and management of natural and environmental resources.

Q. How did the “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training” project come about and how will you and your team use the grant funds?

Kong: This project was developed based upon the success of our previous award of “Integrating Spatial Education Experience (Isee)” funded by NRCS. In the previous award, we successfully collaborated with several other states to develop soil property maps for education purposes.

In this project, we will further develop the soil maps for the conterminous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories, as well as provide training materials about how to use the new maps to improve soil and ecology training. Part of the funds will be used for Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies to assist in creating and sharing the maps, as well as for GIS server improvement.

Q. Who else is involved with “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training” project?
Kong: This project is led by Dr. Darrell Schulze in the agronomy department. Dr. Jason Ackerson and I are co-PIs on the project.

Q. How will the data you gather be used in the future?
Kong: Detailed soil surveys across U.S. have been conducted and well documented by the Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO). This database contains very rich information about soil properties, but often requires extensive knowledge in related fields to understand. On the other hand, maps are models of our world that allow us to make sense of a space that is too large and too complex for us to comprehend in any other way. Digital maps are inherently scalable and can show both the details and the overview seamlessly. Soil maps can help researchers to understand how soils and soil properties are distributed across landscapes at various scales. They can be critical resources for training scientists in the disciplines of soil science, ecology, agronomy, geology, and other natural sciences. The results of the maps will be delivered via SoilExplorer webpage, as well as the Soil Explorer apps for iOS and Android devices. Learning materials, workshops and webinars will also be delivered to the trainers.

Q. Any other information important to include about this project?
Kong: Managing, sharing, and leveraging geospatial information generated by Purdue researchers is an essential part of the GIS team’s mission. With the similar research methods, we have also collaborated in soil mapping projects in Kenya and Peru. Using spatial information as a way to teach soil properties has been a success in many classrooms through our studies.

Q. What is the purpose of the “IndianaView Program Development and Operations for the State of Indiana” project and who is involved?
Kong: The purpose of IndianaView is to promote sharing and use of public domain remotely sensed image data for education, research, and outreach across universities, colleges, K-12 educators, and state and local governments in Indiana. It is part of the larger grant, AmericaView, funded by the U.S. Geological Survey. This project is a collaboration among Mr. Larry Biehl (ITaP), Dr. Jie Shan (civil engineering), and me.

Q. What are you hoping to accomplish with the project? How will the data you gather be used in the future?
Kong: Within this project, we will continue to develop the IndianaView Consortium, which currently includes 15 institutions. We will select and support undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, as well as mini-grant opportunities for the consortiums members for research, education, or outreach. In addition, we have also planned activities for K-12 outreach, presenting at local or regional conferences, and teaching in undergraduate and graduate classrooms. (More information is available at www.indianaview.org.)

Q. What is AmericaView and why is it important?
Kong: AmericaView is a nationwide partnership of remote sensing scientists who support the use of Landsat and other public domain remotely sensed data through applied research, K-12, and higher education. The need for AmericaView has been building for more than 30 years. Since the early 1970s, the federal government and private sector have spent billions of dollars on satellite-based earth observing systems and have worked with the research community to identify, develop, and distribute real-world applications for mapping, monitoring, and managing natural and environmental resources. Unfortunately, while the potential uses of the technology have been widely recognized, development and distribution of real-world applications have persistently been tough issues for both the federal government and the academic research community. The AmericaView Consortium is charged with helping each state overcome these difficulties and helps the university, secondary-education, and public sectors in each state identify, develop, and distribute the kinds of applications each state needs most.


More information about GIS resources via the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies is available at www.lib.purdue.edu/gis.

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, teaching at Pusan National University in South Korea, July 2019.

Through the IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) program and the pronounced presence of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) at the heart of campus, it is possible that many students at Purdue University take for granted their courses based on the active learning instructional method. Even though Purdue students may not always recognize their enhanced learning based on this approach, academia does. Last October, The Chronicle of Higher Education published “How Purdue Professors Are Building More Active and Engaged Classrooms,” and the publication’s editorial staff recognized Purdue’s IMPACT program as a 2018 Innovator of encouraging innovation in teaching.

Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies (PULSIS) faculty and staff were driving forces behind the concept of and the development of the WALC, as well as have been integral in IMPACT at Purdue.

It is no surprise, then, that one of our own is taking this instructional method “on the road” (or over the ocean), so to speak, and engaging South Korean mechanical engineering graduate students in ways they have not before experienced. In mid-July, PULSIS Assistant Professor Margaret Phillips co-taught the course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” at Pusan National University (PNU). She was invited by Takashi Hibiki, a Purdue nuclear engineering emeritus faculty member, who originally co-developed and co-taught the course with her at Purdue.

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Mechanical engineering graduate students in the short course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research.”

“Many students this summer commented they had not experienced a course like this before and told us they know it’s going to be extremely useful in their future engineering careers,” Phillips noted. “The students were eager to learn the course material, and they were extremely patient as they participated in active learning lessons, a departure from what they are used to, because nearly all of their courses are taught in a direct instruction format,” she added.

Per the course evaluation, 100 percent of students who responded said, “Yes, I would recommend this course to other engineering graduate students.” In addition, the students respondents gave the overall course a median rating of “5-Excellent,” and both instructors (Phillips and Hibiki) received median ratings of “5-Excellent” (N=30; scale – 5-Excellent, 4-Good, 3-Fair, 2-Poor, 1-Very Poor).

As a result, Pusan National University officials invited Phillips to be an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at PNU.

In the Q&A below, Phillips shares more of the story about her teaching experience in South Korea.

Margaret Phillips, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Professor Phillips said the “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” course goals related to information literacy include: 1). develop knowledge and skills that sustain lifelong learning, particularly the abilities to discover, access, evaluate, use, and manage information; and 2). present information clearly, effectively, and ethically.

Q: How did this opportunity come about?

Phillips: I was invited by an emeritus faculty member in nuclear engineering, Dr. Takashi Hibiki, to co-develop and co-teach this course. When Takashi was at Purdue, we co-taught a similar nuclear engineering graduate course for two semesters, NUCL 580 (“Essential Communication Skills for Nuclear Engineering”). We used that content, as well as content from a graduate course I co-teach with Dave Zwicky (PULSIS) in ILS 595 (“Information Strategies for Science, Technology, and Engineering Research”) as a basis for the course. Dr. Hibiki has a close relationship with a faculty member in the School of Mechanical Engineering at PNU (Dr. Jae Jun Jeong), who is in charge of the nuclear engineering program (the nuclear engineering program is housed within their school of mechanical engineering). (Dr. Jeong was a visiting scientist at Purdue in the School of Nuclear Engineering in 2006-07.)

Dr. Hibiki described the Purdue course (NUCL 580) we co-taught to Dr. Jeong, and he was very interested in having a shortened version of this course offered at PNU for students in their School of Mechanical Engineering (ME).

Dr. Jeong worked hard to secure approval and funding, and he formally invited us to teach the short course. This was the first time a one-week short course had been offered in their school. Dr. Jeong also promoted the course to graduate students in the School of ME, and he encouraged other faculty members in the school to do so, as well.

This was the first time I had ever taught a shortened version of this course, and it was also the first time I had taught the content to non-Purdue students. This required making the course less “Purdue-centric” and more focused on life-long learning.

Q. Tell me about the course design: How did you design it with your co-instructor? What kinds of information does it have for mechanical engineering students, and what are the learning outcomes for the students in this course?

Phillips: We used the two previous courses mentioned as a basis for the course design. We encouraged Dr. Jeong to review the course schedules for the two courses mentioned and select the topics he felt were most needed and relevant for the students. We then used his selections to develop the course.

Professor Phillips (left) and Hibiki (far right) pose with one of the students who earned a course certificate in the course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” at Pusan National University (PNU) last July.

Professors Phillips (left) and Hibiki (far right) pose with one of the students who earned a course certificate in the short course “Professional Development and Life-Long Information Strategies for Engineering Research” at Pusan National University (PNU) last July.

The course goals related to information literacy include: 1). develop knowledge and skills that sustain lifelong learning, particularly the abilities to discover, access, evaluate, use, and manage information; and 2). present information clearly, effectively, and ethically.

Topics covered included: searching for information, citation management, technical standards, being an engineering scholar, scholarly publishing, copyright, avoiding plagiarism, conducting reviews, making technical presentations, and data-management basics.

Q. How many graduate students were in your course?
Phillips: We had 42 mechanical engineering graduate students enrolled and 35 students earned certificates from their school for taking the course. To earn the certificate, students had to participate in at least 12 of the 15 hours of class. Many of the students were from Korea, but several were international students from various countries (e.g., India, United Arab Emirates, and Italy). All of the students were on summer break, and while they each had the opportunity to earn a certificate, the course was not required and formal course credit was not awarded for their participation.

As an adjunct instructor, how will you contribute to instruction in the mechanical engineering program at PNU?
Phillips: My adjunct instructor appointment is for two years. As part of the plan, the course will be taught in person at Pusan National University at least one more time during that time frame, and my appointment will be considered for renewal at the end of two years. The faculty at Pusan prefer an in-person offering of the course, rather than online.


Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor Margaret Phillips also serves as an engineering information specialist at Purdue University. Her liaison areas include nuclear engineering, engineering technology, technical standards, and industrial engineering.

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

The Marshall and Susan Larsen Leaders Academy in the Krannert School of Management provides an ideal place for Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Associate Professor Ilana Stonebraker to teach Purdue students.

The Academy, according to its website, “provides high-achieving students with enhanced academic opportunities and learning experiences to help them become top performers in the world of business.” The program creates “a culture of achievement”—a phenomenon that Stonebraker, as an instructor of the Management 110 course offered to students in the Academy, not only fosters and sustains in her teaching, but also one she takes to heart in the pursuit of top performance in her own chosen field.

In Fall 2018, Stonebraker was among 12 faculty members inducted into the Purdue University Teaching Academy as a new Teaching Academy Fellow. She is the first ever Libraries and School of Information Studies faculty member to be inducted into the elite program, which recognizes Purdue faculty for their outstanding and scholarly teaching in graduate, undergraduate, or engagement programs. This recognition is just one among many honors Stonebraker has racked up over the last couple of years. In June 2018, she was one of 10 individuals selected by the Tippy Connect Young Professionals (TCYP) in the organization’s annual Top 10 Young Professionals Under 40 Award program. Last summer, she was recognized by the American Library Association (ALA) Library Instruction Roundtable as an author of one of the Top Twenty Library Instruction Articles of 2017. (She was recognized for the same thing in 2016 for a different article.) In early 2017, she was named a “Mover & Shaker” in Library Journal’s annual roundup that honors individuals making significant impacts in libraries and in education around the world. Last fall, too, she was elected to the Tippecanoe County Council (representing District 1).

While the accolades are rewarding, she noted, it is her work—like teaching the highly motivated students in the Larsen Leaders Academy—that really inspires her.

“I like to figure out where students are and help them build bridges to achieve their dreams, to help them imagine and then try things they never would have imagined themselves doing before,” she explained. “One of the ways I do this is through encouraging them to explore the ways they use information in their decision-making processes.”

Stonebraker has been at Purdue since 2012, and she has been teaching in Krannert since 2013. In addition to her teaching course load, she serves as one of Purdue Libraries’ business information specialists in the Roland G. Parrish Library of Management and Economics. She also researches how individuals use information in their studies and in their work and applies the knowledge she gains from that in her teaching.

“That is how I introduce myself to my students. I tell them, ‘I teach information literacy, and I research how people use information. Based on that, I can teach you skills that others cannot teach you here at Purdue,'” she explained. “Knowing how to use and apply information is increasingly important in a 21st-century economy. People in business, particularly, need to know how to use and apply information quickly. That is basically data analytics.”

Stonebraker is among several Libraries faculty who either teach or co-teach credit courses at Purdue in a variety of departments. She proudly points out that librarians tend to be highly engaged instructors who have been developing and practicing effective active-learning techniques and approaches to instruction for many years (perhaps even before “active learning” became an important practice in education).

“Librarians make interesting teachers because we think systematically about problems. Our brains are set up for inputs and outputs,” she added. “Our default is active learning. You can’t really teach students how to research and use information without actively engaging students in research and information use activities.”

This week, several members of Purdue University faculty and staff published, “Creating Student-Centered Learning Environments and Changing Teaching Culture: Purdue University’s IMPACT Program” through the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

The invited paper describes Purdue’s IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) course design program, which was recognized last year by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of six encouraging innovations in education.

According to the paper abstract on the NILOA website, IMPACT has involved 321 instructors, 529 courses, and in some semesters, as many as 95.1% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students.

IMPACT at Purdue UniversityAuthors of the paper include (in order, L to R, top row, center row, and bottom row in graphic):

Download the paper from NILOA at http://learningoutcomesassessment.org/occasionalpaperthirty.