Three questions with… Anton!

Our lab is growing! In our Three Questions series, we’re profiling each of our members and the amazing work they’re doing.

Today, we’re highlighting Anton Ninkov, a recent graduate of Western University’s PhD in Library and Information Science program and the ScholCommLab’s newest postdoctoral fellow. In this post, he tells us more about what he’s up to inside and outside of the lab. He also offers advice for how to manage stress—whether you’re a competitive bobsledder, an emerging scholar, or something in between. 

scholcommlab researcher Anton Ninkov looks out at wide view of mountains and trees at Adirondack High Peaks, upstate New York.
Anton checks out the view at Adirondack High Peaks, upstate New York

Q#1 What are you working on at the lab? 

I am working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa, School of Information Studies on the Sloan-funded Meaningful Data Counts project with Dr. Stefanie Haustein. I am going to be investigating dataset citations and reuse to understand the role that data plays in scholarly communication. This will involve mixed methods research, and hopefully the development of a visual analytics tool that make understanding this information space easier. I am currently getting more familiar with DataCite’s data and coming up with a plan on how we can leverage this resource to help with the goals of this project. I have only just started, so I have a lot to learn!

Q#2 Tell us about a recent paper, presentation, or project you’re proud of. 

I just finished my PhD in Library and Information Science at Western University. The title of my thesis was Making sense of online public health debates with visual analytics systems. My research focused on the development and user-study of a visual analytics system for making sense of the online debate about vaccines. I then took the findings from this project and developed a framework for developing similar visual analytics systems for any online public health debate. I am particularly proud of the cross-disciplinary nature of my PhD, incorporating information science with computer science and human-information interaction.

Q#3 What’s the best (or worst) piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

The best advice I’ve ever received was from my parents, but it also came from the movie Cool Runnings. In the film, there is a scene where the coach of the Jamaican Bobsled Team (John Candy) tells the team captain (Leon Robinson): “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” My parents gave me this same advice when I had anxiety while swimming for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in 2010. It was helpful then but has stuck with me beyond the world of competitive sports. No matter what goals I have in mind, it is important for me to live in a way that I am proud of myself with or without the material achievement. This approach to life makes the inevitable ups and downs of doing anything much more manageable. 

 “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” 

John Candy, Cool Runnings

Find out more about Anton on his website, Twitter, or LinkedIn