SIS News Briefs 2006  

Ellen DetlefsenSIS faculty member Ellen Detlefsen is part of a project team that has received a $280,000 grant from the National Library of Medicine. The grant, awarded to the Center for Dental Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, will support the development and implementation of an on-line community for dental informatics researchers. This on-line community will provide access to valuable information on areas of study and project development; to a community of potential collaborators for research; and to research project ideas and updates. Dr. Detlefsen, an Associate Professor at SIS, is the lead faculty for the Health Librarianship Program and serves as a member of the Core Faculty for the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.


SIS is pleased to announce that Ken Sochats, Assistant Professor and Director of the Visual Information Systems Center, has been appointed a Research Faculty Associate to the Pennsylvania Legislature. Research Faculty Associates provide advice and expert testimony to the legislators on a wide variety of issues. Dr. Sochats will receive an honorarium for his efforts.


SIS congratulates Marek Druzdzel, Associate Professor, for his recent elevation to Senior Member of the IEEE.
IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., is a technical professional association with more than 365,000 individual members. This international association covers technical fields including computer engineering, biomedical technology and telecommunications, aerospace engineering and consumer electronics. Druzdzel was recognized with this nomination to Senior Membership, the highest professional grade in the IEEE, in early November of 2005. This Membership is conferred upon only 7% of the IEEE’s membership.

Dr. Druzdzel’s research interests include decision-making under uncertainty, decision-theoretic methods in intelligent systems, and user interfaces to decision support systems.

Druzdzel & Cheng Paper Receive Honorable Mention
A paper by SIS Alum Jian Cheng (Information Sciences Ph.D., 2000) and faculty member Marek Druzdzel has earned an Honorable Mention in the 2005 IJCAII-JAIR Best Paper Prize competition. The IJCAII-JAIR Best Paper Prize (sponsored by the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence) is awarded to an outstanding paper published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research within the preceding five calendar years. Professor Druzdzel and Jian Cheng were recognized for their work on "AIS-BN: An Adaptive Importance Sampling Algorithm for Evidential Reasoning in Large Bayesian Networks", which was published in the prestigious journal in 2000.

SIS Alum Receives PaLA Award
Cynthia K. Richey, Director of Mt. Lebanon Public Library and a graduate of the MLIS program at SIS, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association at its Annual Conference in Hershey in October 2005. The award is the highest honor the association gives and is "awarded annually to one person in recognition of exceptional meritorious service to libraries of the Commonwealth."

The Association cited Richey as "one of our state's most creative, articulate, and dedicated library leaders [who has] consistently demonstrated visionary leadership and tireless energy, hallmarks of excellent library service." Richey is noted for her many contributions to the field, most particularly her work in Library Service to Children. In 2004, she served as national president of the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association) and her work is referenced in ALA's online publication, "Children and the Internet: Policies that Work." Richey was the President of the Pennsylvania Library Association in 1994, and currently is a member of the Allegheny County Library Association's Board of Directors. Richey received her B.A. and M.L.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and has been a librarian for 33 years.

Stuart Shulman on Speaking Tour in Kazakhstan
Dr. Shulman, Assistant Professor in the School of Information Sciences, recently made a presentation to Kazakhstani governmental employees on E-rulemaking processes in the United States in Almaty and Oskemen. In his presentation in September of 2005, Dr. Shulman discussed how the public's role in the U.S. decision-making process was enhanced by introducing new technologies in governance. Shulman also stressed that e-government means more transparency and more public participation, and therefore more democracy in the political process.

In addition, Dr. Shulman was the featured speaker for a public lecture on E-government at the American Culture Center at the East Kazakhstani Oblast Universal Library. More than 100 government employees, journalists, librarians, teachers and students had a chance to attend this presentation on various aspects of e-rulemaking, digital citizenship and e-democracy. Shulman explored emerging issues as a result of introducing e-government in the United States. He promoted enhancing computer and technology literacy in public libraries and providing access to Internet for both citizens and governmental employees.