SIS News Briefs 2005  

Dr. SprinkThe faculty, staff, and students at SIS offer their best wishes to Amanda Spink, who has accepted an Endowed University Professorship at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Spink, an Associate Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science since 2003, took the new position at the Queensland University of Technology in September of 2005. Here at SIS, Dr. Spink was known for her work on the Department of Library and Information Science’s Committee on Doctoral Studies as well as her prodigious publishing efforts. Recently, she co-edited two books with Charles Cole, “New Directions in Human Information Behavior” and “New Directions in Cognitive Information Retrieval,” which are published by Springer Publishers. An Australian native, Dr. Spink received her Master’s Degree in Information Systems Marketing and Management from Fordham University and her Ph.D. in Information and Library Studies at Rutgers University. Congratulations to Dr. Spink on this prestigious appointment!

A SIS Presence at COSIT
The School of Information Sciences will be well-represented at the 7th Bi-annual Conference on Spatial Information Theory to be held at September 14-18, 2005 in Ellicottville, New York. The aim of COSIT is to bring together researchers from different disciplines for an intensive scientific exchange on the nature of geographic and large-scale spaces, which provides a foundation for the design and construction of geographic information systems (GIS) and for spatial information systems (SIS) in general. Professor Stephen Hirtle of SIS has been a member of the Steering Committee since the inception of the conference in 1993 and hosted the COSIT meeting in the Laurel Highlands in 1997. Also attending this year’s conference will be SIS alumni, Guoray Cai and Molly Sorrows, who will each be presenting posters. Graduate students Maria Harrington and Samvith Srinivas will also be participating in COSIT. Ms. Harrington will be presenting her research at the Doctoral Consortium and Mr. Srinivas will be attending as technical editor of Spatial Cognition and Computation, which is published at the School of Information Sciences.

Dr. Toni Carbo will be honored at the “Women in Science” event hosted by the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania. Dr. Carbo is one of more than 20 who were selected for this annual recognition of women who are engaged in inspiring and innovative work in the sciences in the region. The event will be held on September 14 th at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Carbo’s contributions will also be highlighted in a “Women In Science” installation at the Science Center, which will serve as an inspiration to the young women who visit the museum throughout the year. Learn more about Dr. Carbo’s achievements at

The Visual Information Systems Center (VISC) at SIS will work with A+ Schools to help in determining values and preferences for the future configuration of Pittsburgh Public School buildings. A+ Schools, Pittsburgh’s Community Alliance for Public Education, is a community advocate for improving student achievement through high standards, quality teaching, leadership accountability, financial responsibility, and community involvement. VISC has designed an on-line questionnaire, which it also hosts, to garner public input into decisions about school closings and configurations. The survey asks participants to prioritize various factors including school offerings, safety, cost, diversity, and convenience. You can participate in the survey at The survey results, as well as the discussions at a number of public meetings, will be used by A+ Schools to create policy recommendations regarding school reconfigurations within the Pittsburgh Public School District. Ken Sochats, Director of VISC, will present at the public meetings, the next of which is scheduled on September 7 th at the IBEW Local # 5 on the South Side. For more information about A+ Schools, visit

Dr. Stephanie W. Haas, who received her Ph.D. in Information Science in 1989, was recently named the Francis Carroll McColl Term Professor for 2005-2007 at the University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science. Dr. Haas was selected for this prestigious professorship based on her contributions to research, teaching, and service to the School of Information and Library Science. Haas teaches courses on databases, systems analysis, information models, organization of information, applications of natural language processing and information retrieval. As part of her research program, she is working to create an integrated model of user access to governmental statistical information. The McColl Professorship will provide support for research and travel over a two-year period. Congratulations to Dr. Haas!

Martin Weiss and Rich Thompson address frustrations in technology in an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Technology has its own hang-ups for users.” You can view their input at

Dean Ronald Larsen comments on leadership in the Digital Libraries field in “ Whence Leadership?” His article was published in the July/August 2005 edition, which is available at

SIS ALUM WAS PRESENTER AT “ Memory for Justice” Colloquium
David Wallace, who was awarded his Ph.D. in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, was one of two keynote speakers at the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s “Memory For Justice” Colloquium held on August 18, 2005, at the Mandela House in Johannesburg. Dr. Wallace, currently a Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of America, was a doctoral student in Archival Studies at Pitt’s School of Information Sciences and was advised by Dr. Richard Cox. David also assisted former SIS Dean Toni Carbo with her work with the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee. In his keynote address, Dr. Wallace spoke to the main theme of the Colloquia: the local and international contexts for Mr. Mandela’s belief that justice should be the cornerstone of archival endeavor.

Before joining the faculty at the Catholic University of America, Dr. Wallace was on the faculty at the University of Michigan and worked for the National Security Archive in Washington, DC. He has done work for the ANC archives at the University of Fort Hare, the South African History Archive, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Dr. Wallace and Dr. Cox were co-editors of Archives and the Public Good: Accountability and Records in Modern Society, a collection of essays on recordkeeping and accountability that was published in 2002.

The Visual Information Systems Center (VISC) and the Center for National Preparedness (CNP) are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a grant from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). This Special Programs grant will enable VISC to bring in a visiting researcher from an UNCF-affiliated university.