Research News
June 21, 2017
School of Information Associate Professors Receive SJSU Grants

The San José State University Office of Research Support and Services has selected two School of Information faculty members for its Central Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity grants. Associate professors Dr. Kristen Rebmann and Dr. Lili Luo each received $5,000 to support their respective research projects.

Rebmann’s project, “TV Whitespaces for Museums and Archives: Training for Digital Access/Inclusion, Distributed Programming, and Disaster Preparedness,” aims to provide Internet access to disadvantaged communities and library patrons by increasing the reach of the library’s Internet signal outside the library building (and beyond operating hours) to public spaces such as subsidized housing, schools, clinics, parks, shelters, senior centers, and museums.

“The grant will allow for the adoption path of TV WhiteSpace to be extended to the museum and archives community,” Rebmann said. “This RSCA award will fund the development of a museum/archives-centric online open course to raise awareness (in the information profession) about the applications of TVWS to challenges in access and inclusion, technology-mediated (distributed) programming, and disaster planning.”

TVWS is a license-exempt radio spectrum in the bands for traditional television broadcast. Similar to Wi-Fi, a portion of the TVWS spectrum has been allotted by the Federal Communications Commission for open, shared public use. TVWS will also be used to create a framework where libraries may lead community disaster planning and response since it can be used as a resilient infrastructure during times of catastrophe.

Beginning in the summer of 2018, Luo will be conducting a research study, “Health Information Outreach: Best Practices for Public Libraries,” which will explore the importance of public libraries in assisting people with health information access.

“Nowadays, patients are no longer passive recipients of medical care. To better meet their health care needs, it is important to have efficient and effective access to high-quality and comprehensible health information, and public libraries are uniquely positioned to play a supporting role in this regard,” she said.

Luo said libraries provide a no-cost, convenient way to assist the public in navigating health information resources, fulfilling their health information needs and ultimately improving their health literacy.

“The public library is often the first place many people consult when seeking information on important health topics, such as health care coverage eligibility, disease prevention, and treatment,” she said. “It is critical for public libraries to provide effective health information outreach.”

In Luo’s research study, she will be investigating the current practices of health information outreach in public libraries, including the approaches that have been employed, how successful they were, and the challenges encountered in the outreach process.

Faculty members who receive funding through the RSCA program are expected to share their accomplishments at a campus-wide event and serve as a resource for prospective grant applicants.

For more information about the Libraries TVWS project, visit the Gigabit Libraries Network page or watch a video. To learn about the Central Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity grants provided by the SJSU Office of Research Support and Services, visit the grant support page.