Elisandro Cabada, Brandon C. Dang, William H. Mischo, David Tamayo, Robert Wallace chosen for the 2021 Best Emerging Technology Application Award Sponsored by Chatstaff and LibraryH3lp


Established in 2019, the ETS Best Emerging Technology Application Award offers $3,000 to an individual or group in recognition of a technology application that directly benefits library users. This award is sponsored by Chatstaff and LibraryH3lp.

The awardees were selected for their groundbreaking project in browser-based virtual reality, which dissolves significant barriers previously restrictive to development and use.

Elisandro Cabada (he/him/his): Elisandro currently serves as a subject librarian and liaison to the world’s first engineering based Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the Bioengineering Department at the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. His research includes understanding the barriers to access, pedagogical affordances, and best practices for the application of emerging technologies in education. With over 14 years in STEM Libraries, he has developed multiple technology rich spaces and service s including the Walter Library Breakerspace at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and the Grainger Engineering Library IDEA Lab at Illinois. As an alum of the ALA Spectrum Scholarship and ARL Kaleidoscope Diversity Scholar programs, his goals are driven by a desire to break barriers and expand access to emerging technologies and innovation to underserved and underrepresented communities. He has developed instruction programs, such as the Into VR and 3D Printing for Beginners Step workshop series to introduce these technologies to users from all digital literacies. He currently serves on the VR@Illinois and Health Maker Lab campus networks at Illinois, providing consultations, research support, project mentorship, and instruction for immersive and emerging technologies. He most recent publication was a research study on constructing a campus wide infrastructure for virtual reality . Elisandro was also recently elected as the incoming Chair of the ACRL Digital Scholarship Section for 20212022.

Brandon C. Dang: Brandon coordinates the Project Komodo team in an agile software development environment. He consults with campus development partners including course instructors and research by codesigning Komodohers based applications and maintaining technical support. Brandon utilizes his experience with VR and WebXR platforms to assist with development and quality assurance on the Unity and frontend web components of the platform.

William H. Mischo: Along with his current roles, William has held several other positions at the UIUC Library, including Acting Dean and University Librarian from February 2017 to January 2018 and as Acting Associate University Librarian for IT Policy and Planning. In his career, Bill has authored over 70 articles and conference proceedings and some 15 book chapters and has been a Principal Investigator or coPI on a number of digital library grants from NSF, IMLS, and the Mellon Foundation. Bill was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015 for advances in information technology, including his work as architect of the Easy Search discovery system, and was the recipient of the 2009 Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology from the American Library Association and OCLC.

David Tamayo: David serves as the developer for Komodo, helping design and program the core features and functionality offered within the platform using Unity. As a graduate student researching the potential that authoring tools can have to promote technolog ical integration in classrooms, the opportunity to be part of this project that makes integration possible for teachers has been an invaluable experience.

Robert Wallace: Rob manages day to day lab operations and public services in the Grainger Engineering Library IDEA Lab. In addition to the Komodo VR platform for teaching and learning, Rob is also the team lead and oversees various other software development projects supporting immersive learning and research on campus. These applications were developed to provide an infrastructure to support and facilitate immersive and emerging scholarship at Illinois. Download the source code for the IDEA Lab Developer Studio projects at our GitHub: https://github.com/gelicidealab

The BETA selection committee was Chaired by Beth Caruso.