UMSI students developing projects to help community, non-profit groups

UMSI students working on a project to help Ann Arbor non-profit Ozone House

Working with seven different organizations located in Ann Arbor and around the globe, School of Information students from the Community Information Corps (CIC) -- now the Information Alliance for Community Development -- participated in nine projects in 2013-2014, ranging from digitizing news clippings and photos to creating a web simulation that allows users to better understand at-risk youth. 

CIC is a student interest group that brings together any students who want to apply the skills they are learning at SI to the public good. The organization provides space for like-minded people to meet, and helps arrange opportunities for them to build their skills and network through projects with non-profit and community organizations. 

Some of the projects have been completed, while the broad scope of others will continue in future semesters:

Ann Arbor District Library Census project: This project collected data from the 2010 US Census to determine how the demographics in the AADL's service area have changed over the past decade. Students used Social Explorer, an application that provides tools for visual exploration of demographic information, to gather Census data. The project's findings could help the AADL with future collecting and programming, and help the library tailor services to meet the needs of its patrons. Participating students included Chris Bulin, Sara Hess, Kathryn Horne and Tara Bell, who served as project manager.

Ann Arbor District Library web analytics project: Using the web analytics platform Piwik, students examined AADL's website traffic to find areas of high and low use, and areas for improvement. Based on the analytics, students were able to look at specific pages and make recommendations for improved usability and content layout. Participating students included Rouqian Li, Claire Tatro and Allyson Mackay as project manager.

Ann Arbor District Library news archive: Continuing a project started by other volunteers and interns, CIC students collected metadata for digitized photo negatives and clippings from the AADL news archive. In addition to entering metadata into a spreadsheet index for future use, students scanned articles and photo negatives to help make local news items more easy to find and accessible to the public. Due to the breadth of the archive, this project has potential for ongoing involvement for UMSI students and other volunteers. Participating students included Jharina Pascual, Alana DeWitt, Lexy deGraffenreid, Alix Norton and Ikumi Crocoll as project manager.

Dagbe: A non-profit organization that assists children in crisis situations in central Benin in West Africa, Dagbe wanted to redesign its website to increase online donations. In the first phase of the project, CIC students assessed the user experience of Dagbe.org, conducted comparative analyses of similar websites, and developed mockups for the redesign. The second phase of the project will take place in the fall semester of 2014 and will include the construction of a new Dagbe website using a Wordpress template. Participating students included Angie Carrier, Sofia Gutierrez, Chia-Hui (Jessy) Hsieh, Joe Voss and Cody Haro as project manager.

Ozone House website project: Ozone House, located in Ann Arbor, provides services for at-risk youth. CIC students worked on developing a web simulation/ interactive story to allow users to better understand and empathize with at-risk youth. The simulation's aim simulation is to increase donations to Ozone House and raise awareness of the need to provide safe and stable environments for young people. Participating students included Alicia Napoleon, Hsin-Yen, Tu, Chung Han Tsai, Eric Koo and Chris Kelley as project manager.

WCBN cataloging: WCBN, U-M's student-run community radio station, has an extensive collection of music on both CD and vinyl, which has yet to be inventoried in a useful way, forcing DJs to manually search for a particular item. WCBN has used discogs.com to create a digital archive for internal use, but has only been able to catalog about 3 percent of its holdings. UMSI students have worked to increase the amount of cataloged content over the past year, with the idea that these efforts will continue in future semesters to keep growing WCBN's inventoried archive. Participating students included Alex Johnson, Tara Bell, Amelia Raines, Alexis Peregoy, Kathleen Kondek, Eryn Sprang, Monica Kenzie, Sarah Clayton, Liz O'Brien, Kimberly Springer, Cecilia Caride, Stephanie LaFayette and Elizabeth Kunze as project manager.

WCBN digitization: Students have digitized 20 cassette tapes with roughly 20-25 hours of jazz recordings that had been previously been converted from 78 rpm records from the 1920s. The goal is of this project is to make the digital files of these cassette tapes available online for easier access, use and preservation. There are still about 40 more cassette tapes to digitize, with plans for this project to continue into spring semester of 2015. Participating students included Alex Johnson, Tara Bell, Amelia Raines, Kathleen Kondek, Eryn Sprang, Monica Kenzie, Sarah Clayton, Liz O'Brien, Kimberly Springer, Cecilia Caride, Elizabeth Kunze and Alexis Peregoy as project manager.

Wild Swan Theater:  This project has paired UMSI students with the Ann Arbor-based theater that makes theater accessible to low-income, minority and disable children through low ticket prices and innovative outreach programs. The user design and research project intends to help the Wild Swan Theater improve is web presence through research and evaluation, WordPress re-platforming and site redesign. Participating students included Kathryn O'Donnell, Krishna Vadrevu, Jon De Heus, Jimmy McDaniel and Nehal Molasaria.

Ypsilanti Public Library: This project aims to put a large collection of photographs taken by library staff in a central location with consistent organization. UMSI students will use Flickr as the online storage/backup tool for this ongoing project, placing photos into albums and tagging images so all photos in a category can be found at once. The end goal is to have all the library's photos uploaded to the Flickr account to provide easier access for staff use in library activities. Cecilia Caride served as the project manager for this project.

Posted August 28, 2014. updated january 6, 2016.