2021-10-14: Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) 2021 Trip Report


The 2021 ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2021) was hosted virtually due to the global pandemic by the School of Information Science of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) between September 27-30, 2021. This year our members of the Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group (WSDL) attended paper sessions, posters and demo sessions, workshops, and tutorials, where researchers from multiple disciplines presented their findings virtually via Zoom room through the Conference Virtual Platform (RDMobile). The posters and demo session took place via Zoom and Gather.town. This year, seven papers (5 long and 2 short) plus four posters from our WSDL group were accepted to JCDL 2021. Unlike previous years, we did not feature any students or faculty in this year's JCDL doctoral consortium. We are hopeful to resume it next year.

Day 1

Tutorial 1

Day 1 kicked off with Tutorials and the Doctoral Consortium. Dr. Edward A. Fox and Dr. Yinlin Chen from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University presented tutorial 1 on "Introduction to Digital Libraries (DL)." Dr. Edward Fox emphasized some of the concepts of DL, the DL framework, some challenges, and the popular framework 5S in DL. Interestingly, DLs helps shorten the chain from authors to readers. However,  users from different domains use its application nowadays. Thus, the roles spread from authors to readers and editors, teachers, and especially librarians. 


Day 2 (Main Conference)

Conference Opening

Dr. Stephen Downie, Professor and Associate Dean for the Research at the School of Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, kicked off Day 2 with the opening ceremony. Following the opening ceremony, Day 2 started with paper sessions and one keynote session. This year, each paper was presented twice to help presenters and attendees across multiple time zones. 

Paper Sessions

This year five WSDL papers were accepted with other co-authors on the paper, including Himarsha R. JayanettiDr. Michele Weigle, Dr. Michael L. Nelson, and Dr. Jian Wu. JCDL asked the authors to submit a video demonstration of their respective paper (e.g., 5 min -- short paper and 8 min -- long paper). After each paper presentation, a 5 min Q/A was provided to the attendees to ask questions directly to the authors. Following are the tweets of the paper presentation at JCDL 2021, where the first author presented their findings.

Kritika Garg, a Ph.D. student from Old Dominion University and a member of the WSDL research group, presented their paper titled "Replaying Archived Twitter: When your bird is broken, will it bring you down?" The work explores and evaluates tweets archived by different web archives from Twitter's old UI and new UI. Their study shows that the old UI is more prominent in web archives, but the fact check and old labels are not replayed in some mementos in the new UI.

Muntabir Hasan Choudhury, a Ph.D. student from Old Dominion University and a member of the WSDL research group, presented their paper titled "Automatic Metadata Extraction Incorporating Visual Features from Scanned Electronic Theses and Dissertations." Muntabir proposed a CRF-based model which incorporates text-based features and visual features (e.g., the bounding box of a text span) to extract metadata from scanned ETDs. Muntabir emphasized various challenges during the OCR process and showed their method achieved 81.3% to 96% F1 measure on different metadata fields.

Dr. Shawn Jones from Los Alamos National Laboratory and an alumnus of Old Dominion University and WSDL research group presented their paper titled "It's All About The Cards: Sharing on Social Media Probably Encouraged HTML Metadata Growth." Their research study evaluates the evolution of metadata usage over time. To understand how authors used their metadata budget, they analyzed 227,724 mementos of news articles (e.g., NEWSROOM). They broke down the usage by individual fields and showed that authors favor fields associated with social cards. 

Dr. Alexandar C. Nawla from Observatory on Social Media (OSoME) at Indiana University, Bloomington, and an alumnus of Old Dominion University and WSDL research group presented their paper titled "Garbage, Glitter, or Gold: Assigning Multi-dimensional Quality Scores to Social Media Seeds for Web Archive Collections." Dr. Nawla explained that how reference-rot usually causes significant web resources to disappear. He also emphasized how web archive collections (e.g., seeds) selected by experts or scraped from social media can help mitigate the effects of this reference rot. 

Dr. Sawood Alam from Internet Archive and an alumnus of Old Dominion University and WSDL research group presented their paper titled "Profiling Web Archival Voids for Memento Routing." This work defines and explores Archival Voids to establish a means to represent portions of URI spaces that are not present in a web archive.

Another interesting paper titled "ScanBank: A Benchmark Dataset for Figure Extraction from Scanned Electronic Theses and Dissertations," by Sampanna Kahu from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and co-authored by Dr. Jian Wu from Old Dominion University, presented their study and methods on extracting figures and tables from scanned ETDs. Along with WSDL papers, some other exciting papers, including "S2AND: A Benchmark and Evaluation System for Author Name Disambiguation", "Automatic Metadata Generation for Fish Specimen Image Collections", "NoteLink: A Point-and-Shoot Linking Interface between Students' Handwritten Notebooks, and Instructional Videos" were presented by Shivashankar Subramanian, Joel Pepper, and Ranjitha Jaddigadde Srinivasa, respectively.


Keynote 1

On the following day, Dr. Safiya Noble, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and one of the MacArthur Fellows,  gave the opening keynote at JCDL 2021. 

In her keynote, Dr. Noble mentioned a time before search engines where "online libraries" existed. However, a lot of things are concerning especially abusing of Google search engine. While searching "black girls" on Google, it returns racist words. Dr. Noble mentioned, "Why do these results exist in her "black girls" search example?", and "What does this mean about the search algorithm?" Dr. Noble also discussed how racist and sexist search results do not exist in a vacuum. We see that the stereotypes are embedded in our history and culture. Thus, solving this problem became an interdisciplinary challenge. 

Day 3

Day 3 of JCDL 2021 started with a few paper sessions (papers presented only once), keynote talks, posters, and demo sessions, and ended with a closing ceremony. 

Keynote 2

Dr. Michael Twidale, Professor and Ph.D. program director at the School of Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, gave the JCDL 2021 second keynote: "Digital Library is a metaphor: what happens when we think about that?" According to Dr. Twidale, we are always constructing metaphors to a sense of things to learn. Dr. Twidale mentioned that people in CS like command-line interfaces where some people do not. Thus, graphic user interfaces have been built out of metaphors. In his talk, while discussing digital libraries, he mentioned that we borrow metaphors from physical libraries. For example, Digital Library itself is a metaphor that means digitized books, papers, and other things.

In conclusion, Dr. Twidale wrapped up that metaphors are not just for end-users, and they can help us design better research, better systems, and spot problems.

Posters and Demo Sessions

As usual, JCDL 2021 kicked off the minute madness of Posters and Demo Sessions. Four WSDL posters were accepted this year. Following the minute madness, JCDL 2021 took place via Gather.town, which was accessed through JCDL's management platform.

Closing Ceremony

With the Poster and Demo sessions coming to an end, it was time to bid farewell to JCDL 2021. The closing ceremony started with the awards ceremony. The Vannevar Bush Best Paper Award,  Best Student Paper Award, and Best Poster Award were given at JCDL 2021. These papers and posters are the following: 

  • Vannevar Bush Best Paper Award: "Towards Novel Information Access to the Past: Estimating Contemporary Relatedness Degree of Archival News Articles" by Mari Sato, Adam Jatowt, Yijun Duan, and Masatoshi Yoshikawa
  • Best Student Paper Award: "Automatic Metadata Generation for Fish Specimen Image Collections" by Joel Pepper, Jane Greenberg, Yasin Bakis, Xiaojun Wang, Henry Bart, and David Breen
  • Best Poster Award: "Analyzing Unconstrained Reading Patterns of Digital Documents Using Eye Tracking" by Bhanuka Mahanama, Gavindya Jayawardena, and Sampath Jayarathna

Later, Dr. Stephen Downie thanked the two keynote speakers Dr. Safiya Noble and Dr. Michael Twidale, at JCDL 2021, for giving an excellent and insightful talk. He also thanked the committee chairs and student volunteers, and sponsors.

Finally, JCDL 2021 ended by announcing its next conference date (June 20-24, 2022), and it will be held in Cologne, Germany.

-- Muntabir Choudhury (@TasinChoudhury), Ajayi Kehinde Peter (@AjayiKehindep)