[Asis-l] Dr. Brenda Dervin headlines First Annual Conference on Information and Religion

Cunningham, Flo fcunning at kent.edu
Wed Apr 6 15:36:56 EDT 2011

Please excuse multiple postings.

Dr. Brenda Dervin headlines First Annual Conference on Information and Religion

Kent State University will host the First Annual Conference on Information and Religion on Friday, May 20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Kent Student Center, Kent, Ohio. The conference is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR), a research initiative of the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University.

The theme of this inaugural conference is “Research Frontiers in the Study of Information and Religion.” Cost for the conference is $85, with a student rate of $25 for the day. Lunch is included. More information about the conference, including registration details, can be found at http://www.kent.edu/cde/conferences/csir.cfm.

Renowned scholar Dr. Brenda Dervin, professor of communication and Joan N. Huber Fellow in Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Ohio State University, will deliver the conference's keynote address, “Spiritual Knowledge,” discussing the role of religion in sense-making. Dervin is widely credited for research that launched the “user-oriented” approach in library and information science studies, which also has been applied in other disciplines, such as health communication, communication policy, the arts, religion and spirituality, and organizational communication.

Thirty scholars and doctoral students will present papers and posters on diverse subjects representing the “frontiers” of information and religion. A sampling of topics includes:
•       The Relationship between Community Religious Beliefs and Community Level of Public Library Development in the United States: An Empirical Analysis
•       Historic Christianity and the Redevelopment of the Academic Library in the 21st Century
•       The Growing Use of Social Media in Orthodox Christian Ministries
•       Ram’s search for Sita in the Ramayana: Information Seeking Behavior in an Ancient Indian Epic
•       Accordance Bible Software in Reading and Teaching: The Difference a Digital Text Makes
•       Perception as Information: An East-West Dialogue
(See below for the complete list of presentations and posters.)

CSIR was founded in 2009 to facilitate research on the various institutions and agents of religion and their effect on social knowledge through the use, dissemination and diffusion of information. Dr. Don A. Wicks, SLIS Interim Director and associate professor, serves as Director of the Center. Dr. Daniel R. Roland, SLIS assistant professor, is the Primary Researcher. For more information, visit www.csir.slis.kent.edu.

Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science offers the only Master of Library and Information Science degree program in Ohio that is accredited by the American Library Association, and one of the nation’s few master’s degrees in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management. The school is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s top 20 graduate schools, and its youth librarianship program is ranked 13th. It is one of the largest library schools in the country, with nearly 700 students enrolled. For more information, visit www.slis.kent.edu.

Research Frontiers in Information and Religion
Papers and Poster Presentations
(listed alphabetically by last name of presenter)


Ram's search for Sita in the Ramayana: Information-seeking behavior in an ancient Indian epic
Naresh Agarwal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, Mass.
Applies elements of context, information-seeking behavior, and theories to an examination of the Search for Sita in the Ramayana, a major epic in Hinduism. The study will shed light on information-seeking behavior in one of the world’s oldest epics and promote understanding of the evolution of this behavior.

Using semantic technologies to analyze the semantic orientation of religious sermons
Denise A. D. Bedford, Ph.D., Goodyear Professor of Knowledge Management, School of Library and Information Science, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Summarizes the classification and language analysis of 200 contemporary sermon transcripts based on the research of three semanticists/linguists. Presenter will also discuss the implications that this research may have for other domains, such as advertising, contemporary news broadcasting, political speech, and judicial decisions.

Shamanic knowledge: the challenge for information science
Jay H. Bernstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Reader Services Librarian, and Head of Interlibrary Loan, Robert J. Kibbee Library, Kingsborough Community College – CUNY, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Compares concepts of and approaches to knowledge in anthropology and information science. Drawing on the author’s studies of shamanism and other reports on shamanic knowledge, the presentation will map out potential avenues that can enrich the approach to knowledge in information science.

Methodology for studying the information seeking behavior of clergy
Charles Curran, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
Reports on an investigation of information-seeking behavior of clergy, as influenced by denomination, age, education, gender, pastoral duties, information behavior, and resources consulted. Presentation will propose a method for identifying information-seeking behavior differences that may be useful to clergy, seminary educators, and information specialists.

Information processing in Bible study groups
Darin Freeburg, Doctoral Student, College of Communication and Information, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Uses a survey of Bible study groups to examine how members process religious information in three distinct phases: pre-discussion, local, and post-discussion. The study is based on previous research on group information processing, and the presentation will seek to determine the extent to which previous research applies to Bible study groups.

No faith in the library?: Religious concepts and ethical frameworks for information studies
Natasha Gerolami, Ph.D., Head Librarian, Huntington University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Discusses the contribution that religious concepts can make to the ethical frameworks librarians use to support access to information, and examines religions that have communication models that would be valuable to consider in the library and information science field.

Louis Taber's world: Land, agriculture and the schism of the Ohio yearly meeting
John Henris, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
Highlights the connections between information and religion through a study of Louis Taber’s contribution to agricultural reform during the 1840s-50s. Taber was a respected minister and teacher who also participated, by means of publication in the Ohio Cultivator, in national discourse concerning agricultural improvement, ecology, and market economy.

Comparing research methods currently taught in Lutheran seminaries
Jim Kapoun, Associate Director, Maag Library, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio
Investigates course offerings in research methodologies at Lutheran seminaries for specifically M.Div. and doctorate degrees. Presenter will compare research and information retrieval methods offered by seminaries to identify trends in information-seeking behavior among seminary students, and examine how these skills transfer to parish ministry or classroom teaching.

My experiences of researching information and spirituality holistically
Jarkko Kari, School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland
Reflects upon presenter’s spiritual studies from an information knowledge perspective, as well as identifying challenges in assimilating spirituality into scientific research. Presentation will also include practical models of conduct for those wishing to combine information research and spirituality.

Exploring the mental health information needs of clergy
Beth Layton, MLS, MBA, AHIP, Director, Ocasek Medical Library; Rienne Johnson, Reference Librarian; Derrick Kranke, Ph.D., Mental Health Services Researcher, Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center;  Vicki L. Montesano, Ph.D., PCC-S, LICDC, Manager, BeST Center; all at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Rootstown, Ohio
Reports on a study to assess the mental health information-seeking behavior of local clergy as a way to determine the information gap(s), the barriers to informing or educating, and the format of educational informational interventions that would be most useful.

Memorializing religion: Crowdsourcing, minorities, and the quest of identity in digital archives
Amalia S. Levi, Doctoral Student, College of Information Studies (iSchool), University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
Explores the effect that crowdsourcing archives may have on the value of archival holdings, particularly for religious communities trying to construct or retell their memories. The historical development of crowdsourcing in a variety of communities will be examined, and a classification of such initiatives will be developed.

The digital remains: Social media and practices of online grief
Jessica Lingel, Doctoral Student, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University
Rutgers, N.J.
Examines the practices of online grief through an analysis of online discussions related to Facebook’s policies for pages of deceased site members. Issues related to online identity and relationships through social media will be explored.

Mutual dependence and task uncertainty in scholarly communication of theologians
Cindy Suchin Lu, Doctoral Student, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University, Rutgers, N.J.
Analyze how degrees of mutual dependence and task uncertainty affect the theologian’s information-seeking and knowledge production. Presenter will examine ways in which library services and information literacy can be tailored to meet the spiritual dimension of the information needs of theologians.

Historic Christianity and the redevelopment of the academic library in the 21st century
Joseph McDonald, Ph.D., Director of Library Services, Professor of Information Systems, Malone University, Canton, Ohio
Offers a re-conceptualization of the library as an integral element in teaching and learning, and supports the idea of the library as a laboratory for the entire curriculum. Session will be approached from the perspective of historic Christianity and will focus particularly on the concept of “teaching justly for justice.”

Access is power: Financing the second crusade in France
Chris McFadin, Doctoral Student, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Focuses on the analysis of a series of disagreements between crusaders and religious houses, and the use of information by monastic scribes who controlled written records. Presenter will convey the importance of access and control over information in the resolution of these disputes.

That'll preach: Which sites pastors find credible
Mitch McKenney, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent State University at Stark, Canton, Ohio
Reviews a survey to be used in the launch of a site that will rate credibility of online information. Session will examine the information seeking behavior of those delivering news to congregations, as well as why some pastors rank websites higher than others and how their views differ from other users.

Scholarly sustainability for lifelong learning
Melody Layton McMahon, Director of the Library, Critical Reviews Editor, Theological Librarianship, Paul Bechtold Library, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Ill.
Explores the impact that scholarly sustainability of research data services, reference resources, and journals has on theological libraries. Goals of the session will be to impart understanding of the value of sustainable scholarship, to define sustainability, and to explore funding issues as they apply to seminary libraries.

The Word and words in the Abrahamic faiths
Linda Poston, Dean of Library Services, and Larry Poston, Chair, Dept. of Religion, Nyack College, Nyack, N.Y.
Examines the Abrahamic faiths’ characterization of “The Word” in textual form and the implications for the characterization in the culture of modern media. Presenters will examine the prognosis of religious texts in a society accustomed to graphics-based media, media-based literacy, and digital resources.

Evaluating “information” in religious communication
Terry Robertson, Seminary Librarian, James White Library, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich.
Seeks to define “information” in a religious communication context, as well as to establish how it is to be evaluated, validated, and used by the Christian preacher. Presenter will summarize the results of a study that encompasses information theory, the epistemology of testimony, and acts of communication pertinent to religious communication.

The Pentecost in the postbox: Theology, ecclesiology and community in early Pentecostal periodicals
Matthew C. Shaw, M.L.I.S., University Libraries , Head of Access Services, Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.
Examines how early Pentecostal serial publications were used to disperse and exchange information critical to the development of theological, ecclesiastical, and communal systems in the Pentecostal movement.

The growing use of social media in orthodox Christian ministries
Alma (Ellie) R. Skoutas, M.L.I.S., Director of Online Communications, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Explores the obvious impact of social media as it makes its way into the traditional liturgical environment by highlighting the growing online Orthodox presence and the dichotomy of tradition and technology.
Perception as information: An east-west dialogue

Randall Studstill, Ph.D., M.L.I.S., Watsonville, Calif.
Investigates the manner and degree to which immediately given mental images constitute information about reality, with reference to the epistemological positions of the Buddhist philosophers Dignāga (5th-6th centuries), Dharmakīrti (7th century), Longchenpa (kLong-chen rab- ’byams-pa, 14th century), in conversation with the epistemological views of David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

Speaking of spirituality and scholarship: Religious information practice in action
Tonyia J. Tidline, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dominican University, River Forest, Ill.
Looks at the ways in which spiritual and scholarly voices are “in conversation” with one another at an institution of higher education that serves to enrich understanding of contemporary religious information gathering and use. Presenter will detail the significance of this conversation and the information practices that facilitate it.

The denial of relevance
Van VanBebber, Doctoral Candidate, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Addresses information-avoidance behaviors in relation to religious issues and relates decision-making processes to a proposed protocol for information science professionals who stand better to navigate a range of socioeconomic issues. Session will explore pragmatic yet spiritual ways of overcoming information denial, cognitive dissonance, and avoidance behaviors.

The Christian icon as information object
John A. Walsh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
Considers Christian icons, typically paintings, as documents and information objects in an effort to further the understanding of the icon as a complex information resource with origins in the earliest years of Christianity.

Accordance Bible software in reading and teaching: The difference a digital text makes
John B. Weaver, Ph.D., Director, The Burke Theological Library, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
Reviews the changes caused by the digital texts in Accordance Bible Software, and the important differences between the digital biblical texts in Accordance and printed biblical texts. The question of how the digital nature of Accordance changes the reading and information-seeking behaviors of scholars, clergy, and congregations will be addressed.

The relationship between community religious beliefs and community level of public library development in the United States: An empirical analysis
Robert V. Williams, Ph.D., Distinguished Prof., Emeritus, School of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
Explores the relationship between the characteristics of the religious community in an area served by a public library and the development of that library. The presenter has created two indexes to test the hypothesis that as religious secularization increases in a community, the level of public library development also increases.

Poster sessions:
The energy of information: a theory of forbearance
Jonathan Doner, Ph.D., DP/DS Research and Consulting, Charlottesville, Va.
Proposes a scientific approach to the analysis of forbearance to provide a context in which forbearance is relevant, suggest a model of forbearance, and clarify its function in the growth of an individual and the development of society.

Information retrieval and subject indexing in archives services
Laure Amélie Guitard, Doctoral Student, École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l'information (EBSI), Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Evaluates the benefits of indexing in the navigation of religious archives, as well as the nature of users’ queries in archives services. Session will promote subject indexing in archival description as a tool for finding information, particularly in religious institution archives.

Use of traditional community of practice methods to build one revitalized spiritual community from two
Father John Seabold, Reverend, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Grafton, Ohio; Deborah Griffin, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parishioner, Grafton, Ohio; Denise A. D. Bedford, Ph.D., Goodyear Professor of Knowledge Management, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Describes the evolution of two distinct spiritual communities into a single revitalized spiritual community. The influence of traditional community of practice methods in building a new community of shared knowledge, language, trust, renewed spiritual activities, and preserved traditional cultures will be discussed.

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