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The Symposium on Information for Social Good was first held in 2017 as a way for students to apply their learning from information ethics and justice courses. Take a look back to see how it’s grown and evolved since.


This year, the symposium merged with the SILS Practicum Poster Fair and the SILS Project Fair to form an all-new, all-day event: the SILS Scholars Showcase. Organized by Francesca Tripodi with help from Deirdre McLeod and Darvin Heo, the symposium was marked by new and innovative panel formats. Themes that arose were:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Information access
  • Surveillance, privacy & misinformation
  • Public & school libraries
  • Archives
  • Policy & power
  • Academics
  • Digital ethics

Dr. Tonia Sutherland capped off the day by examining the consequences of digitally raising the dead in her keynote speech, Resurrecting the Black Body.


Students attending a panel on medical information

The 2022 symposium was the first in-person event since the COVID-19 shutdown, and the first event after the “new curriculum” went into effect, requiring all MSIS and MSLS students to participate in the symposium in their first year. Using a hybrid in-person and remote model, the symposium boomed in scale, covering a wide range of themes:

  • Consent and Collecting
  • IDEA Solutions for LIS Environments
  • Archives – Access and Equity
  • Digitizing/Archiving
  • Youth and Ethics
  • Wellness and Addiction
  • VR, Metadata, and Informatics – Oh My!
  • Toxic Technology

Dr. Anna Lauren Hoffman delivered the keynote speech, “Ethical Tech” and the Politics of Potential, or: Algorithms Are Kid Stuff.


Symposium title on top of an image of a theater sign reading THE WORLD IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED

After being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the symposium returned in 2021 as an asynchronous, virtual showcase. The theme was Power. Connections. Consequences:

  • POWER in information and data systems, services, and spaces
  • CONNECTIONS that held us together during this difficult year
  • Unintended CONSEQUENCES of our innovations

Organized by Maggie Melo, Amelia Gibson, and Dianne Martin, this year’s symposium shone a spotlight on a year of change, isolation, protest, anger, fear, sadness, relief, and joy.


Students presenting a poster called "Is wearable health device data secure?"

The theme of the symposium in 2019 was Reflect. Reimagine. Rebuild. It was the first to feature a keynote speech: Dr. Meredith D. Clark’s Black Women Tried to Tell Y’all: Race, Representation, and Self-Preservation through Digital Counternarratives.

Some of the presentations from this year’s symposium can still be viewed below!


Students at a desk hosting a discussion

The 2nd annual symposium was themed Connect. Engage. Impact. It addressed topics such as big data and public health, climate change and human rights, immigrant services in libraries, crypto currency, and toxic masculinity in librarianship.


Students presenting a slide on library anxiety

2017 is the year the symposium was born, with the goal of giving students a place to apply their learning outside of the silo of academia. The theme was Access, Equity, & Action, and it covered topics such as:

  • Ethics of Confidential Communications
  • Social Media and Digital Activism
  • Barriers to Inclusive Public Library Service
  • Libraries as a Platform for Activist Work by Youth
  • Cultural Bias in Search Algorithms
  • Virtual Private Networks in China
  • Biopolitics, the State, and Health Information Access