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Information Sciences Professor Bilal to Receive National Research Award

Dania BilalUT Information Sciences Professor Dania Bilal is the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Contribution to Information Behavior Research Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Special Interest Group (SIG) Information Needs, Seeking and Use (USE).

The purpose of the annual award is to honor scholars who have, over a period of time, contributed, in an outstanding way, to the development of the information behavior research field. Award recipients also join the SIGUSE Academy of Fellows.

Bilal’s research focuses on children’s cognitive and affective information behavior in using and interacting with information retrieval systems, and is situated at the intersection of information retrieval, information behavior, and human-computer interaction. She is one of the foremost experts in the field on information seeking and retrieval by children and youth, and she is one of the top 1% most cited researchers worldwide in this area. She conducts her work with children nationally and internationally in schools, libraries and computer lab settings.

Bilal’s most highly cited work, “Children’s use of the Yahooligans! Web search engine: I. Cognitive, physical, and affective behaviors on fact-based search tasks,” appeared in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIS&T) in 2000. She is co-editor of “Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory” with Diane Nahl, and “New Directions in Children’s and Adolescents’ Information Behavior Research” with Jamshid Beheshti. Information and Emotion was awarded the ASIS&T SIGUSE Book-of-the-Year Award in 2008.  In 2014 she won a Google Research Award with Jacek Gwizdka (University of Texas-Austin) for their research project, “Child-friendly search engine results pages (SERPs): Towards better understanding of Google search results readability by children.” She has been recognized with two Research Achievement Awards (2003, 2007) by the UT College of Communication and Information. A 2017 article published in Aslib Journal of Information Management put Bilal among the top 10 most influential researchers in information behavior worldwide.

“As one of the world’s leading experts on youth informatics, Dania Bilal is very deserving of this international recognition,”said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “We are very proud of her accomplishments and congratulate her on this great honor.”

Bilal teaches courses in information access and retrieval, human-computer interaction, Web mining, information systems design and implementation, and research methods. Recently, she guided the development of the Youth Informatics Certificate program at the School of Information Sciences and developed a new Seminar in Youth Informatics. In 2007 she received the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Teaching Excellence Award.

Bilal has served as a mentor to doctoral students at both the ASIS&T Annual Doctoral Colloquium and the iConference Doctoral Colloquium.

She has been active in SIGUSE and ASIS&T for many years. She served as chair of SIGUSE in 2002-2003, and, in 2003, the SIGUSE was named as ASIS&T’s “SIG-of-the-Year.”  Last year, Bilal was elected to the ASIS&T Board of Directors and appointed to the ASIS&T 80th Anniversary Advisory Group, and as liaison to the Board’s International Relations Committee.