April 16-30, 2004

Arlene G. Taylor

I received an email in 2003 from the Council for International Exchange of Scholars asking if I would be interested in applying for a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. The request from Dr. Snunith Shoham, Chair of the Department of Information Science at Bar-Ilan, was for a full professor with at least 15 years teaching experience who could present workshops and colloquiums on metadata, ontologies, taxonomies, topic maps, Semantic Web, or electronic resources. After my positive response, negotiations began for dates for the visit, which had to be worked around my schedule and the schedule of classes and holidays in Israel. The last two weeks of April 2004 were agreed upon.

Two workshops and a colloquium were scheduled. The first workshop was titled "Practical Applications of Metadata" and was held on Tuesday, April 20, and the second, held on Wednesday, April 28, was titled "Ontologies and Taxonomies: Theory and Practice." The two workshops were attended by master's and doctoral students from the Information Science department, some faculty who teach in the area, and practicing professional catalogers, database managers, bibliographers, and library managers from around the country. The colloquium, held Wednesday, April 21, was titled "Modern Tools for the Organization of Information." It was attended by many school faculty members and students and also by librarians from the area. A special treat at the colloquium was my being introduced by Sara Fine, Professor Emerita of the University of Pittsburgh, now teaching at Bar-Ilan University. Sara showed the audience pictures of Pittsburgh and the University to show them the place where she and I had taught together for about five years during the 1990s.

I gratefully acknowledge the aid of faculty members who assisted with the final preparations of the lectures during the first few days of the visit when a virus left me a bit incapacitated for a few days. Rochelle Kedar, who teaches cataloging, was especially helpful in obtaining Web screen shots needed for insertion into the PowerPoint presentations. Other assistance was provided by Judit Bar-Ilan, who teaches computer applications, including a course on the Semantic Web, and Snunith Shoham, who teaches classification.

Some attendees stated that the presentations helped them to understand how basic principles of information management that have been used for centuries in classical approaches are now being reflected in current online initiatives. It was also suggested that some changes might be made in some courses in the department due to knowledge gained. It is gratifying to feel that one has been able to help in this way.

During the week between workshops, we were able to go sight-seeing, and our observations and pictures may be found at this link.


© 2004 - Arlene G. Taylor