Information Management & Systems
Previously School of Library & Information Studies
Seminar: Information Access.
("The Friday Afternoon Seminar")
Summaries - Fall 2004.
Fridays 3-5. 107 South Hall.
Summaries will be added below as they become available.
Aug 13: Julian Warner, Belfast:
A labor theoretic approach to information retrieval
In the post-Edenic world, we are condemned to labor
and compelled to choose.
Labor has often been conceived as physical rather than mental labor and has
seldom been connected with choice. Yet in information retrieval systems,
mental labor and choice can be seen to converge. Examining their
convergence can yield an evaluative model for information retrieval, closely
linked to real world forces and practice.
The essential aim for information retrieval systems is taken as selection
power rather than the transformation of a query into a set of relevant
records. Selection power is regarded as the product of selection labor.
Selection labor is taken to be composed of description labor and search
A certain quantity of selection labor, associated with the number and
variety of objects described within a system, is assumed. Components of
selection labor can be transferred to information technologies and the
distribution of selection labor between description and searching can be
modified, but the overall quantity of labor cannot be reduced. Description
labor is distinguished from description processes, and, more sharply, from
description products (such as catalog or database records).
Two significant constraints can work against enhancing selection power.
First, the costs of direct human labor in description and searching may lead
to a preference for economy in the use of that labor. Secondly, there are
epistemological difficulties in representation of objects. These
constraints have tended to be considered separately, with more attention
given to epistemological issues. Constraints arising from the costs of
human labor may have been more influential on practice.
A decision framework for the consideration, design, and use of information
retrieval systems is then constructed: description labor should be
increased, and selection power enhanced, until the costs of that description
labor approach the anticipated costs of search labor.
The implications of this decision framework for information retrieval
systems are considered. A reduction in human description work and a
transfer of labor and expertise to the searcher, for many public systems,
are both predicted and exemplified.
The framework for consideration established demonstrates the analytic and
practical value of a revealing theory.
Julian Warner is in the School of Management and
Economics, The Queen's University, Belfast, and was Visiting Scholar
here in 1991/92.
Sept 3: Clifford LYNCH: Introduction to the Seminar.
Fredric GEY & Ray LARSON: Report on SIGIR.
"SIGIR" is the principal international forum for
the presentation of new research results and the demonstration
of new systems and techniques in the broad field of information retrieval.
The 27th Annual International ACM SIGIR Conference was held at the
University of Sheffield, UK, from July 25 to July 29, 2004.
Highlights of the conference will be summarized.
Sep 10: Clifford LYNCH: Research Questions in Digital Stewardship.
Over the summer I have been working on a book dealing with stewardship in the digital age. In this presentation I will briefly summarize some of the key points in my thinking about this, and then focus on three issues in more detail. These are (1) the construction and definition of the "intellectual record" or the "cultural record" and the relationship of this to various other ideas such as cultural heritage or patrimony; (2) the integrity of the record, and the relationships of this to copyright, censorship, banned books, and similar issues, and (3) the changes in the realm of personal and family behavior in the digital age. Topic (3) may carry foward to later session of the seminar this fall, depending on how the discussion evolves.
Dep 17: Bruce MILLER, University Librarian, UC Merced:
Tomorrow's research university library: University of California, Merced.
Assignment: create a research university library for the 21st century.
Day one: no buildings, no books, no students, no faculty, no staff.
Unique circumstances at UC Merced have allowed (and occasionally forced) innovative approaches to developing a research university library. A brief overview of the history of the University of California, Merced and related issues and opportunities will set the stage for an exploration of the creation this newest UC library. What kind of building do you create when library services are provided 24/7 to anyone anywhere with a network connection? Will RFID mean the downfall of civilization? How about a library that literally is without walls? Is it ok to use pizza for a bookmark? How many large screen computer displays does it take to provide signage, access to fine art, and NASCAR races? Reference collection? Why would we want a reference collection? For that matter, why would we even care about how many books we own? Welcome to the Post-ARL library.
Sep 24: Clifford LYNCH: Research Questions in Digital Stewardship - Continued.
This talk will continue the discussion from the September 10th Seminar.
Having now established some of the fundamental issues involving stewardship of
the cultural and intellectual record in a digital environment, I'll next explore
the nature of various threats to this record in digital form of both a technical
and a legal nature. We will then turn to consider how digital technology is
shifting personal behavior and records of personal activity, and explore how
these may interact with the more public record in the future.
Oct 1: Five Inquiries:
Sarah ELLINGER: Tracking Children's Information Retrieval
Tactics in and out of the Library.
This literature review will attempt to answer the questions: how are
children's out-of-library information retrieval tasks and skills effecting
their work in library contexts? What tactics or fluencies are they
developing in informal contexts, and are those tactics and fluencies
possible or desirable to integrate into more formal digital resources? How
are existing resources for children facing this challenge?.
The Internationalization of the Creative Commons.
My research will explore the Creative Commons project
as a response to "full copyright" and also
increased commercialization on/of the Internet. I will expand upon this by
discussing efforts by the Creative Commons to create international laws and
regulations so that the Creative Commons copyright schema can be used
outside of the United States.
Catherine NEWMAN: Image Capture and Cataloging.
An exploratory review of image cataloging frameworks.
Hoping this will be the spark for a provocative dissertation.
Potentially a system for storing student design projects for reuse and study.
Interests include assessment and evaluation issues and
I hope for some discussion of how to have system with minimal reliance on text.
Shelby PEAK: The Uhle Collections at Berkeley:
Online Tools for Archaeologists.
I am currently involved in a project to organize a collection of
archaeological artifacts here at Berkeley, with the end result of
serving the collection on the web as a research tool. As part of that
project I want to investigate the ways that archaeologists conduct
research. What information do they look for? How do they go about
collecting that information? And in extension: how can this be
accomplished online, or aided with online tools? What resources are
currently available to archaeologists and how useful are they?
Annie YEH: Microsoft Word 2003 and Melvyl; and
Content Management Systems.
Oct 8: Michael BUCKLAND, Ray LARSON, Lin MUEHLINGHAUS:
Support for the Learner: What, Where, When, and Who.
A new project, entitled
Support for the Learner: What, Where, When, and Who, has been
funded by IMLS. The PIs are Michael Buckland,
Fredric Gey, and Ray Larson. The new project builds on recent work
demonstrating how geographical searching could be improved by getting
an online catalog interoperate with an online gazetteer and maps displays.
The new task is to also extend that approach to time (using named time period
directories and timelines) and people (using biographical dictionaries).
This will provide a structure for What, Where, When, and Who.
In addition, in collaboration with Prof. Lin Muehlinghaus
of Dominican University, a prototype will be tested as an aid for K12
teachers assembling materials for lesson plans.
I will describe and discuss the project and speculate on
how an "intermediate infrastructure of metadata could provide a fresh
approach to search and selection in the new internet environment and "new media".
Oct 15: Paul DUGUID & Geoffrey NUNBERG:
"The Quality of Information" Is Explained.
The notion that led us to come put together our SIMS course
on "the quality of information" was that there are some common threads to
the range of issues that people are trying to come to grips with as the
Internet becomes a part of the fabric of everyday life -- concerns about
plagiarism and hoaxes, the difficulty of locating reliable information
about a topic, the ease of access to racist and pornographic sites, and
all the other problems that we group as "rotten information." In this talk,
we'll suggest how problems like these arise historically when there are
disruptions in the complex interaction of technology, communicative forms,
market forces, and institutional and legal frameworks. And we'll try to
connect these to the notion of "information literacy" -- what kinds of
skills and understanding do people require to deal with the new order
Oct 22: Shared session with Document Academy conference:
Seminar participants are invited to attend the Friday
afternoon sessions of the conference in South Hall 107:
1:00 p.m. Welcome.
1:15 p.m. Jean-Michel SalaŁn: How computing requires one to rethink what a document is.
2:15 p.m. Bernd Frohmann : The Multiplicities of Documentation.
3:30 p.m. Ron Day : What makes for a "Materialist" Analysis of Documents.
4:15 p.m. Niels Windfeld Lund: An experimental approach
- the importance of Herbert A. Simon for document analysis.
For details and registration for the rest of the conference see:
Oct 29: Students' progress reports.
Annie YEH: Building a Melvyl Research Service for Creating
Citations in Microsoft Word 2003.
The Research Panel in MicroSoft Word 2003 allows one to access
Web Services and retrieve and insert information from those services
directly into the document. Examples of existing MS Word research services
include the Amazon Research Pane, the Google Research Pane, and Factiva,
to name a few.
I believe that it would be useful for scholarly and instructional
practices to have the capability to search digital library services
directly from a MS Word 2003 document and have an automatic mechanism for
building citations from the metadata returned on the search. A reasonable
starting point would be to have a Research Service in MS Word 2003 as a
client of the Melvyl system.
Questions around this issue: how useful would this tool be, given the
bibliographic citation management tools already out there, and how would
this be implemented?
Shelby PEAK: The Uhle Collections @ Berkeley:
Online Tools for Archaeologists.
As part of my work in constructing an online archive for the Uhle
archaeological collections here at Berkeley, I am investigating the ways
that archaeologists conduct research. What sources do they rely on? In
which ways do they approach their subject? Do they use online resources?
If so, which ones are available, and which ones are useful? To begin
answering these questions, I am conducting a literature survey of works
about the research process for archaeologists, and compiling and analyzing
a list of available online resources.
Catherine NEWMAN: Leveraging Images for Design Reuse.
Over the past weeks I have been simply following the leads
given to me by people knowledgeable in the appropriate subjects. The result
has been a deluge of information. Unfortunately/fortunately all of this
information seems relevant on some level. My challenge at this point is to
prioritize hierarchically the information I have discovered. Ideally this
literature review will serve as a map and a game plan for my future research.
I have begun to lay out how what I\222ve discovered might relate to my work.
The Internationalization of the Creative Commons.
In this continued discussion of the worldwide proliferation of the Creative
Commons project (known as iCommons) I will emphasize:
Part 1. Synposis of the iCommons:
a) "Overview of Process";
b) "Completed Licenses" (9 Countries);
c) "Project Jurisdictions" (12 Countries).
Part 2. Project Goals & Challenges:
a) What I've done;
b) Where I'm going;
c) What's slowing me down.
Sarah ELLINGER: Investigating Children's Informal
Information Retrieval Tactics.
As we discussed last time, this topic is huge in scope,
and work in this
area will likely result in questions rather than conclusions. With that in
mind, I've been reviewing the literature to assemble at least some of what
is known about children and information retrieval in informal, that is,
non-assigned, situations. Then, I've been using social network theory,
particularly Elfreda Chatman's theoretical model of an "information
world", to discuss the questions: Given an information need, what do
we know about how children become
aware of helpful information? What environmental or contextual
factors can we identify as affecting
information retrieval? How does access or lack of access to
information technologies affect
Nov 5: Lynne WITHEY, Director, UC Press: A Publisher's Perspective on
the "Crisis" in Scholarly Publishing.
Much has been said over the past couple of years about
the crisis facing scholarly publishing and its potential consequences
for scholars. Lynne Withey, Director of the UC Press, will offer her
perspective on the crisis, the solutions that have been proposed by
various players in the debate, and future directions for university
presses and other nonprofit publishers.
Nov 12: Cathy MARSHALL, Senior Researcher, Microsoft.
Personal Digital Libraries: Filling in the Missing Pieces.
More than three years ago Clifford Lynch predicted that in the near
future the appliances that were conceived as electronic books would
transcend their limited role as paper book surrogates and become
portable personal digital libraries. Why hasn't this happened?
Certainly it seems that hardware is no longer the culprit. In this talk,
I'll examine at least three other reasons why we're not there yet: (1)
the mysterious nature of our interactions with what we read; (2) modes
of information access apart from searching and browsing; and (3)
problems with personal archiving and maintaining one's own digital
library over an extended time period. In addition to discussing these
obstacles, I'll also wax optimistic and talk about changes I've noted
over the past three years that make personal digital libraries a likely
Nov 19: Ray LARSON: Spatial Search and Ranking Methods for
Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR).
This informal talk will describe some recent research in geographic
information retrieval including spatial ranking methods, and use of
additional sources like gazetteers to search across multiple types of
information resources. It will be based on his paper with Patty Frontiera
which received the "Best Paper" award at the recent European Conference
on Digital Libraries. Pre-print is at
and a related poster is at
Nov 26: Thanksgiving holiday. No seminar.
Dec 3: Clifford LYNCH: Discussion and Catch-up on Events of Interest.
Highlights and interesting papers from the
ASIS&T meeting in Providence, RI, November 2004;
More on the UK Data Curation Center, Edinburgh;
CoData meeting in Berlin;
Report on Reading at Risk Coloquium at University of Maryland;
Post-Mortem on the 2004 Document Academy Meeting;
Report on the ACLS Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities;
and other events.
Dec 10: Students' final presentations. Last seminar meeting of semester.
Shelby PEAK: The Uhle Collections @ Berkeley:
An Evaluation of and Recommendations for
Archaeological Research Websites
As part of my larger work on designing an online
archive for UC Berkeley's
collection of Uhle materials, this semester I looked at current literature
on similar collections as well as the state of online resources for
archaeological research. I will present my findings on how to evaluate
archaeological research websites, and make recommendations for the Uhle
project in particular.
Exploring the Question of "Informal" Information Retrieval.
I set out this semester to look for clues about information retrieval
behavior outside of restricted or guided contexts such as the library and
the classroom. At the same time I was looking for theoretical models or
ways of understanding informal information retrieval behaviors. Both tasks
The Internationalization of the Creative Commons.
I will be discussing the current status of the iCommons project and their plans
for the future. I will include a summary of the current climate of intellectual property in th
e United States (DMCA) and in the European Union (EUCD). This global perspective will help to
highlight the unique problems that intellectual property issues present on an international lev
el and how the iCommons project has been created, in part, to address some of these problems.
Plans for an Student Design Reuse Imagebase.
Presentation will include a walk through of a
prospective imagebase designed to capture student projects for the
purpose of reuse. Will also include a summary of brainstorming
session titled, 'image quality for design reuse'.
Annie YEH: A Melvyl Research Panel for Microsoft Word
In my work with Raymond Yee of the Interactive University
hypothesized that it would be useful to have a Microsoft
Research Service that searches
Melvyl from within a Word document. From the searches returned, the user
could then format the metadata into proper citations.
This semester, I conducted interviews with scholars to determine how they
gather their research materials and make citations and to get their
feedback on the potential usefulness of such a tool. I also learned how
the MS Research Service works, and did some initial implementation work
for the Melvyl part of this service.
I will highlight some of the feedback I got from
scholars and discuss the implementation work I've done to date.
The next scheduled seminar meeting is Jan 21, 2005.
Fall 2004 schedule.
Spring 2004 schedule