Monthly Archives: October 2018

Addressing Negative Biases in Search Engine Algorithms

Dr. Safiya Noble delivered Purdue Libraries’ inaugural Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture Oct. 3 at Purdue University. The event was part of Purdue’s Sesquicentennial Ideas Festival and was related to the festival theme, “Giant Leaps in Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology.” (Photo by Rebecca Wilcox, Purdue Marketing and Media)

Safiya Noble first encountered racism in search nine years ago. In her 2018 book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, and in a piece she wrote for Time this past spring, she begins by sharing her story about being “stunned” at the returned Google search results on the phrase “black girls” in 2009.

Dr. Noble, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications, also began the inaugural Purdue Libraries Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture (Oct. 3, Fowler Hall) with her story about this thought-provoking experiment. Noble, who is the co-founder of the Information Ethics & Equity Institute and a partner in Stratelligence, started out by explaining what happened nine years ago when she “Googled” the phrase “black girls,” and she shared her subsequent experience of shock upon seeing the returned search results. In her presentation slides, she incorporated a screenshot of the Google search results (you can see the results in the Time article). In that piece, she lists the results, explaining, “[t]hese are the details of what a search for ‘black girls’ would yield for many years, despite that the words ‘porn,’ ‘pornography,’ or ‘sex’ were not included in the search box.”

150 Years of Giant LeapsThis year, the Purdue Libraries’ Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture is part of Purdue’s Sesquicentennial Ideas Festival Theme, “Giant Leaps in Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology.” Noble­—whose book “Algorithms of Oppression” is described as a “revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms”­—has also written for Wired and delivered the closing plenary session lecture this summer at 2018 AUPresses Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  In Inside Higher Ed earlier this year, Colleen Flaherty notes Noble’s book has generated buzz among information science, machine learning, and technology scholars, as well among sociologists.

In her Oct. 3 lecture at Purdue, “Intellectual Freedom and Racial Inequality as Addressed in ‘Algorithms of Oppression,'” she compellingly demonstrated why people are talking about her work and why organizations are seeking her out to share her research with those who work in education, technology, and publishing.

More importantly, though, she explained why it is imperative for people to understand that Google (and other search companies) are for-profit, commercial entities responsible for these algorithms and argued that we need to build search and other platforms and repositories that belong to the public. Her last slide captured that point, as well as three other action items that we all can do and/or support to move forward, including:

  • Make scholarly research visible to the public, faster, and broadly;
  • Resist colorblind/racist/sexist practices;
  • Re-learn, re-train, re-imagine new possibilities in our field(s); and
  • Never give up.

Learn more about Dr. Noble and her work at

Sponsors of Dr. Noble’s lecture include the Purdue Libraries Seminar Committee, American Studies, the Diversity Resource Office, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Purdue Policy Research Institute, the 150th AI Committee, the Department of Anthropology, the Honors College, the Center for Science of Information­—NSF Science and Technology Center, the Critical Data Studies cohort of The Data Mine Learning Community, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Purdue Fort Wayne

About Critical Data Studies at Purdue

Critical Data Studies, or CDS, is an emerging interdisciplinary field that considers and addresses the ethical, legal, socio-cultural, epistemological, and political aspects of data science, big data, algorithms, and digital infrastructure. In addition to the CDS Lecture Series, faculty and staff in the Libraries, the Honors College, and the Department of Anthropology are collaborating in the Critical Data Studies Cohort of the Data Mine Learning Community, one of Purdue’s student living and learning communities. For more information about the lecture series or about critical data studies at Purdie, contact Kendall Roark, assistant professor, Purdue Libraries, at

Presentations, Publications, Awards, Accomplishments

Below is a list of Purdue Libraries faculty and staff publications, presentations, honors, awards, and field or industry recognition in August and September 2018.

Director of Purdue Libraries Facilities Nanette Andersson was interviewed for the article, “Purdue University Combines Classroom and Library Space to Promote Active Learning,” in Tradeline Inc. (published August 8, 2018).

Building Purdue - President Thank You - Purdue University

Purdue University President congratulates Neal Harmeyer, a digital archivist in Purdue University Archives and Special Collections. Harmeyer curated the current exhibit, “Building Purdue: 150 Years of the West Lafayette Campus.”

Professor Bert Chapman conducted the webinar, “Enhancing Your Intelligence Agency Information Resources IQ: Part 3 Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency” for the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s FDLP Academy (September 18, 2018).

Neal Harmeyer recently received a congratulatory letter from Purdue University President Mitch Daniels for his work on the “Building Purdue” exhibit. The press release about the exhibit was picked up by local media outlets and garnered their coverage of the exhibit. In addition, the Associated Press picked up the story, and the information ran in many media outlets throughout the U.S.

Professor Jean-Pierre Hérubel published the following articles:

  • Hérubel, Jean-Pierre V. M., Edward A. Geodeken, “Two Sides of the Same Coin? Trade and University Press Publishing of Revised Dissertations, 2007–2016: Some Observations.” Publishing Research Quarterly 34 (2018): 170-206.
  • Hérubel, Jean-Pierre V.M. “Recent Articles on French History.” French Historical Studies 41 (Winter 2018): 158-178.
  • Hérubel, Jean-Pierre V.M. “Recent Articles on French History.” French Historical Studies 41 (Summer 2018): 556-575.

He also delivered the following presentation:

Hérubel, Jean-Pierre V.M. Clio’s Interpretative Framework for a Larger Landscape of History of Education: Disciplinary Journals, Introspective and Exploratory Forays” SWG Mapping the Discipline History of Education ISCHE Berlin August 29 to 1 September 2018, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany.

Professor Michael Fosmire and Assistant Professor Margaret Phillips were highlighted by IEEE Standards University in “Practical Ideas from Professors: Introducing Engineering Technology Students to Technical Standards” (September 19, 2018).

University Archivist and Professor Sammie Morris and Assistant Professor Nastasha Johnson are part of a Purdue University interdisciplinary team that received a grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) “to provide training for archivists across the country by developing and facilitating the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) for the next generation of archivist leaders.”

Learn more at

(Editor’s Note: The award was initially announced August 22, 2018.)

On September 24, the Purdue University Teaching Academy inducted Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor Ilana Stonebraker as a new Teaching Academy Fellow. Last spring, the Purdue University Teaching Academy selected and announced 12 inductees for 2018.

Check It Out! Purdue Libraries Staff Happenings

Dan Rotello enjoying Bingo at the 2018 LCSSAC Picnic

Dan Rotello enjoying Bingo at the 2018 LCSSAC Picnic.

by Sandy Galloway

Welcome to LCSSAC Corner in VOLUMe! This monthly feature will cover what is happening with Purdue Libraries staff, including activities, accomplishments, upcoming events, etc.

If you have something that you would like included in this corner, please send it to Sandy Galloway at

Approximately 40 people attended the libraries picnic on September 13 at Happy Hollow Park. Great food and camaraderie was had by all!

Some played corn hole and ladder ball, while others played white elephant bingo and filled out the annual library’s crossword puzzle.

United Way Read to Succeed

Purdue Libraries 2018 United Way Committee

Interim Dean of Purdue University Libraries Rhonda Phillips (far left), chair of the Purdue United Way campaign in 2018, posed with the Libraries’ United Way Committee, including (L to R): Mary Sego, chair; Ashley Hutchcraft; Sandy Galloway, junior chair; Angie Ewing, Dan Rotello, and Teresa Balser. See more photos from the Purdue Libraries’ United Way Read to Succeed kick-off event at

On September 12, Purdue Libraries hosted a second grade class from Vinton Elementary (Lafayette, IN) for our United Way Kick-Off event. The kids had a great time and received gift bags with books, t-shirts, and goodies.

We are still collecting new and gently used books until November 15 for Read to Succeed. If you have any books you would like to donate, please make sure someone on the committee gets them. Committee members are: Mary Sego-Chair, Sandy Galloway-Junior Chair, Dan Rotello, Angie Ewing, Teresa Balser, and Ashley Hutchcraft.

Also, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, Potbelly Sandwich Shop has happily offered to have a fundraiser with 25% of sales going to United Way. The Libraries will get credit for the proceeds from the evening. Please support the cause if you are able. We will also accept donated books at this event.

Jane Yatcilla and Dorothy "Dot" Lanzalotto

Jane Yatcilla and Dorothy “Dot” Lanzalotto at the 2018 LCSSAC Picnic.

LCSSAC Future Activities
LCSSAC is looking for approval of added activities during and after work hours. More details about these activities will be coming soon!

Libraries Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee Members
Sandy Galloway, Chair
Dan Rotello, Vice Chair
Angie Ewing
Jacinda Laymon
Liz Lukens
Leslie Matteson