March 6, 2015

ICS grad students to present Racial Violence Archive at iConference

By Courtney Hamilton

Microsoft Research awarded the team of seven students $3,000 to present their collaborative class project at iConference 2015 in March.

Microsoft Research has awarded $3,000 to seven ICS graduate students (Hosub Lee, Michael Bellato, Sowmya Jain, Fernando Spanghero, Roeland Singer-heinze, Ya-Wen Lin, Sunakshi Gupta) to present their class project at the Social Media Expo of iConference 2015. The project, a product of informatics professor Alfred Kobsa’s class “Informatics 231: User Interface Design and Evaluation,” is a novel web-based user interface that allows both social scientists and the general public to contribute to an archive on incidents of violence in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. A beta version of the interface is viewable here.

The project, commissioned by associate professor of criminology, law, and society Geoff Ward, enables users to easily retrieve and contribute historical information to the Racial Violence Archive (RVA), a growing collection of event records detailing racial violence in U.S. history. The student team collaborated with faculty to complete the project during Fall Quarter 2014.

"Since the RVA is meant to engage various publics (e.g., scholars, advocates, policy makers) in reflection on this violence and remedy today, I partnered with faculty and students in Informatics to develop interactive components enabling users to not only view event information (e.g., narratives and maps) but also contribute new event information or add information to existing records, such as photographs, documents, or details,” Ward said.

“This ongoing collaboration offers numerous research, educational, and outreach benefits. For example, it offers a technological solution to challenges with data collection, an opportunity to bring undergraduate and graduate students from very different disciplines together, and a means of engaging diverse stakeholders who are unlikely to be reached through traditional outlets, such as academic conferences, journals, and books,” he continued. “Finally, the use of technology allows all of this engagement to occur much more quickly than academic work would usually."

The iConference is Information Schools’ (iSchools) international gathering of scholars and researchers concerned with critical information issues in contemporary society, to be held in Newport Beach in March 2015. iSchools is an international consortium of over 50 university-level information schools in a dozen countries. Founded in 2005, the consortium shares a fundamental interest in the relationships between information, people, and technology.
ICS grad students to present Racial Violence Archive at iConference