Invited Speakers

Nicholas J. Belkin, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Department of Library & Information Science, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University

From LIDA to LAIU: Libraries in an Age of Information Ubiquity

The founding of the LIDA conference series was a bold and exciting move to consider seriously the impact and implications of the digitization of multiple forms of information, in all aspects of society, on the roles and functions of libraries, as well as the practice of librarianship, and information work in general. The proceedings of the LIDA meetings, and concurrent developments in society at large, provide ample evidence of the necessity of addressing this phenomenon, and of the success of the LIDA endeavor. However, in the 20 years since LIDA was founded, information and communication technologies have moved far beyond the initial stage of availability of what we might call traditional information in digital form, to a situation in which people’s very environment is both source of, and access to, varieties of information never before available in any form. We claim that this new information milieu, which we call the Age of Information Ubiquity, sets entirely new challenges to the basis of library and information services, which may well require radical changes in how we think of the very concepts of internal knowledge and external information. In this paper, we describe some salient aspects of the ubiquitous information milieu and their effects on the conduct of everyday life, and discuss some possible implications of these factors on the nature and role of services and structures, such as libraries, which aim to support people’s interactions with information.

Nicholas J. Belkin is Distinguished Professor of Information Science in the Department of Library & Information Science, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University. Professor Belkin is known as one of the founders of the cognitive viewpoint in information science, and as a leader in integrating information behavior research with information retrieval research. His most recent research has focused on personalization of interaction with information, especially with respect to the nature of the task which leads people to engage in information seeking, and on methods for evaluation of whole-session search.
Professor Belkin has served as the Chair of the ACM SIGIR, and President of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). He is the recipient of the ASIST’s Outstanding Teacher award, its Research Award, and its Award of Merit. In 2015, he received the ACM SIGIR Gerard Salton Award, for significant, sustained and continuing contributions to research in information retrieval.


Diane M. Rasmussen Pennington, Senior Lecturer in Information Science, Department of Computer and Information Sciences. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Socially distanced selves, irate insurrectionists, and one linked library: Are librarians the cure for the infodemic?

Misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories existed long before Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant as a COVID-19 treatment, but the societal landscape is new. As noted in an official statement posted to the World Health Organization’s website on 23 September, 2020, we are living through “the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected. At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic.” Paradoxically united through our filter bubbles, our changed ways of living have increased our need to seek information. Many local governments have deemed libraries “nonessential” and therefore closed despite this need. Where will this unsettling set of circumstances lead our profession’s practice and research going forward? In this closing keynote speech, I will examine the role of interdisciplinary theory, research, and practice for our profession in this complex environment, especially as they relate to my expertise in social media and metadata, and ultimately question whether librarians can be the cure for the infodemic.

Diane Rasmussen Pennington is a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Information Science and the Course Director for the MSc in Information & Library Studies at the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Computer & Information Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland. Within the iSchool, she leads the Information Engagement Research Area, and she teaches classes in organisation of knowledge as well as in library technologies. Diane is the Chair of CILIP’s Metadata & Discovery Group, and previously served as the President of the Canadian Association for Information Science. For ASIS&T, she has been a Director-at-Large, Chair of the European Chapter, and Chair of SIG VIS and SIG CR. Diane has published more than 40 works and delivered over 80 presentations in non-textual indexing and retrieval, emotion-based indexing and retrieval, information organisation, linked data, user engagement on social media, and online health information.  Her current research includes identifying and stopping the spread of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19. She holds an MS and a PhD in Information Science from the University of North Texas.


Milijana Mičunović, Assistant Professor, Department of Information Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek

Adapting to the life in technosphere: human-technology coexistence and the changing nature of life and work in a high-tech culture

Technosphere is defined as a novel ecosystem in which nature and technology are intertwined in a more symbiotic way. Though the term itself can create methodological and theoretical confusion and some scientists find it misleading, in this presentation it is used to describe the impact cutting-edge technology and high-tech innovations have on human society; impact that leads to a more sophisticated and interdependent, as well as faster and more extreme technological, economic, and social changes. The question is how do we navigate this uncharted technological landscape of increasing automation, algorithmization, uberization and other phenomena that change our individual and collective lives, economic and social systems, life conditions and work circumstances, thus eventually determining our life chances.

Based on social and critical theory, philosophical anthropology and philosophical posthumanism, extensive review of literature and current research focused on new disruptive technologies, the changing nature of work, upcoming social change, and the ever growing human-technology interaction, this presentation will focus on how to approach these challenges in a more nuanced manner, with more awareness, more calm and more balance, all the while recognizing how we, as individuals and as a society, can contribute to fruitful coexistence of organisms and algorithms, to successful public debate and good decision making, and to unlocking the technology for good and for positive social change.

Milijana Mičunović is an assistant professor at the Department of Information Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek. Her principal research interests include human-technology interaction, cyberanthropology and communication theory. She teaches and co-teaches several courses, some being Technological changes and human-technology interaction, Information theory, Information society, Business communication, Communication culture and communication theory, and other. She's an open source enthusiast and she participated in different open source projects like OpenStreetMap, MeshPoint – open wifi router for humanitarian crisis, and Open WiFi Network Osijek. She's inspired by the truth that „All existence is dukkha.” (Buddha), and a simple business/life wisdom known as „Somehow I manage.” (Michael G. Scott). To her, they represent two important things – philosophy and humor, i.e. ability to question and explore the nature of reality, and to laught at it from time to time.