School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

 Friday Afternoon Seminar: Summaries.
  296a-1 Seminar: Information Access, Fall 2017.

Fridays 3-5. 107 South Hall. Schedule. Weekly mailing list.
Details will be added as they become available.

Aug 25: Clifford LYNCH: Introductions. Introducing the "Age of Algorithms".
    Paulo OHTOSHI, Univ. of Brasilia: An Ontology-based Model of Information Behavior.
    Paulo Ohtoshi, a visiting doctoral student will briefly introduce his research.
    Clifford LYNCH: Introducing the "Age of Algorithms".
    This is now widely acclaimed to be the "age of algorithms", which refers both the pervasive personalization of web sites and other services, and to the employment of computer algorithms (often based on some form of Machine Learning) to various complex social-technical systems. There is an urgent need to document this new world, which I believe demands a major departure from traditional archival perspectives, and the methodologies for creating this documentation are very poorly explored. They are related to -- but, ultimately, distinct in important ways -- from the methodologies that have been proposed by various social scientists, policy analysts, and social justice advocates for "auditing algorithms" or "holding algorithms accountable", to use a few popular slogans.
    I first discussed my initial ideas on this topic at this seminar in Spring 2017; since then I have had several opportunities to share them more publicly, and have developed a paper on the topic that has been submitted for publication. At this discussion, I'll summarize my conclusions and opportunities for future research in this overlooked area.

Sep 1: No Seminar: Labor Day Weekend.

Sep 8: Abigail DE KOSNIK, Berkeley Center for New Media: A Ratings System for Piracy.

    I will present my current research on peer-to-peer file sharing of media content, which is labeled piracy by the media industries. My spouse, Benjamin De Kosnik (a C++ senior engineer and data artist) and I are currently working on a data science/digital humanities project called alpha60, which is an investigation into global media piracy using a data scraping and visualization tool that we have developed, with funding from a BCNM Faculty Seed Grant.
    The media industries constantly characterize media piracy as theft that robs creative workers of their rightful income. However, scholars from postcolonial and critical legal studies, such as Lawrence Liang, Kavita Philip, and Ramon Lobato argue that unauthorized file sharing is how millions of Internet users in the Global South access the cultural output of the Global North and achieve full participation and fluency in the media literacies of technological modernity. While media corporations have established strict "windows" of content distribution, which typically result in the U.S., Canada, and Western European nations accessing new content months or years earlier than those in developing nations, piracy enables people around the world to access and experience content (including films, television series, software, books, music, and videogames) in a synchronous way. Lobato writes that many users understand media piracy not as an immoral act, but as a "banal, quotidian activity practiced in a context where legal alternatives do not exist."
    Our research shows that piracy is rampant in the Global South, but also reveals that the Global North is not exempt from illegal downloading. While U.S. copyright defense organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) point to Russia and China as the major perpetrators of piracy, alpha60 maps show that piracy takes place in every region of the U.S. as well as throughout Canada and Western Europe. Institutional barriers to access of media content, such as the rising cost of cable subscriptions and paywalls on online portals, adversely affect users all over the world, not only those in impoverished zones. Piracy therefore can be said to operate as a universal, rather than localized, hack for access.
    Abigail De Kosnik is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley with a joint appointment in the Berkeley Center for New Media and in the Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies. She is the author of Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom (MIT Press, 2016). More at

Sep 15: Betsy COOPER, Center for Long Term Cybersecurity: Why the Future of Cybersecurity is Closer Than You Think
    Cybersecurity is quickly becoming the master problem of the Internet era. Digital technologies connected by the Internet have the potential to extend revolutionary contributions to human life and support the generation of new ideas, politics, relationships, and businesses, but only if they can be made secure. To get there will require a broad set of changes, where the intersections between humans and machines are more creatively and deeply imagined, more proactively defined, and in turn, more effectively researched and managed. Dr. Betsy Cooper, Executive Director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), will give a brief introduction of CLTC's research and programming, as well as introduce the basic concepts behind scenario thinking, a methodology underpinning the Center's Cybersecurity Futures 2020 Report.
    Betsy Cooper, Executive Director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), has worked at the Department of Homeland Security, in Ireland, the U.K., and the World Bank. She is an expert on US and European immigration and refugee policy. In addition to her law degree, Betsy holds a DPhil in Politics from Oxford University, an M.Sc. in Forced Migration from Oxford University, and a B.A. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.
More at

Sep 22: Special program: Ray Larson's Academic Life. 1:10 - 5:00 pm in South Hall 202.
    An afternoon of short reports by colleagues and collaboratore on the academic work and interests of Ray Larson, student and then faculty member 1978-2017.
1:10 PM Michael Buckland, Chair: Introduction.
Elizabeth Young: Ray before Berkeley and as an academic in the family.
Rob Sanderson: Ray and medieval manuscripts.
Message from Michael Cooper: Ray as student at Berkeley.
Clifford Lynch: Ray at the Division of Library Automation.
Paul Watry: Ray's literary interests. (Video).
Vivien Petras: Classification clustering and search term recommenders. (Video).
Judy Weedman: The Sequoia Project.
Marti Hearst: Collaboration in the 1990s.
3:15 PM Clifford Lynch, Chair.
Michael Buckland: The Larson/Gey/Buckland joint projects.
Fred Gey: Multilingual and Geographical Information Retrieval.
Jerome McDonough: Cheshire (Early).
Rob Sanderson: Cheshire (Later).
Clifford Lynch: Social Networks and Archival Context.
Anno Saxenian: Ray and the MIDS data science program.
5:00 PM RECEPTION hosted by the Dean.
    The program was recorded and can be viewed online. See
    For more on Ray Larson see


Oct 6: Jeff MACKIE-MASON, University Librarian: Can We Afford to go Gold (Open Access)? Can We Afford Not To?

    There is wide-spread (though not universal) agreement that scholarly publications should be available open access, so that research results — often funded by tax dollars — can be read and built upon by all scholars, scientists and practitioners, anywhere, rather than be locked behind a paywall (what we used to call ”subscriptions“). However, despite over 25 years of manifestos and conferences and experiments in open access publishing, we are still very far away from having most scholarship openly available. Berkeley is the second of five US institutions that has signed the OA2020 Expression of Interest; see for more info. Yet nearly 90 institutions worldwide have signed the EOI. Most US university libraries and other organizations have resisted, or are outright hostile to the core proposal of OA2020, which is to pursue open access through the ”gold" business model route. I will discuss the underlying economics of the scholarly publishing industry, and then focus on the implications for different pathways to achieve open access, and to reduce publisher monopoly power. I’ll de-construct some of the myths common in current conversations about these issues, and explain why Berkeley has taken a somewhat unpopular leadership position among US universities on this issue.
    Jeffrey MacKie-Mason is University Librarian, Chief Digital Scholarship Officer, Professor in the School of Information and Professor of Economics. More at

Oct 13: Elaine SEDENBERG & Daniel GRIFFIN: The Center for Technology, Society & Policy: What Works, What Doesn't, and How to Set a Research Agenda that Empowers Student Impact.
    Center for Technology, Society & Policy (CTSP) directors Elaine Sedenberg and Daniel Griffin will give updates on the center's growth and progress, as well as lead an open-ended discussion about the challenges and opportunities available to a small-scale, student-focused center. The directors will discuss challenges associated with bridging the practitioner/researcher divide, and give a sneak peak into planned activities.
    For more on the Center for Technology, Society & Policy see
    Elaine Sedenberg and Daniel Griffin are PhD students in this School. See

Oct 22: David ROSENTHAL, Stanford: The Amnesiac Society.     This talk is a rehearsal for the keynote of the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium in Taiwan next month. The PNC theme is "Data Informed Society".
    What is the data that informs a society? It is easy to think that it is just numbers, timely statistical information of the kind that drives Google Maps real-time traffic display. But the rise of text-mining and machine learning means that we must cast our net much wider. Historic and textual data is equally important. It forms the knowledge base on which civilization operates.
    For nearly a thousand years this knowledge base has been stored on paper, an affordable, durable, write-once and somewhat tamper-evident medium. For more than five hundred years it has been practical to print on paper, making Lots Of Copies to Keep Stuff Safe. LOCKSS is the name of the program at the Stanford Libraries that Vicky Reich and I started in 1998. We took a distributed approach; providing libraries with tools they could use to preserve knowledge in the Web world. They could work the way they were used to doing in the paper world, by collecting copies of published works, making them available to readers, and cooperating via inter-library loan. Two years earlier, Brewster Kahle had founded the Internet Archive, taking a centralized approach to the same problem.
Why are these programs needed? What have we learned in the last two decades about their effectiveness? How does the evolution of Web technologies place their future at risk?
    David S. H. Rosenthal is the recently retired Chief Scientist of the LOCKSS program at Stanford, which like Google celebrates its 19th birthday this month.

Oct 27: Michael BUCKLAND: What counts as Information? What counts as a Collection?
A progress report on two topics:
    (1) “Information” usually refers to text, images, or data, but specimens and other objects can also be informative. Suzanne Briet’s famous declaration in 1951 that an antelope in a zoo could be regarded as a document is now widely cited. However, she provided minimal explanation. A search for her sources led to the same ideas and a thoughtful explanation in 1947 by Robert Pagès, a social psychologist, whose work I will summarize.
    (2) The welcome rise of Open Access in a network environment calls into question the traditional role of the library’s collection and, especially, of the library catalog. It also revives older issues concerning the relationship between the human librarian and the library catalog and the relationship between the catalog and bibliographies. A fundamental re-consideration is indicated.

Nov 3: Clifford LYNCH: Developments in the Marketplace for Cultural Materials, with Implications for Access and Preservation.
    In this seminar session, I will discuss some emerging and troublesome developments that are becoming clear as the marketplace for cultural materials becomes not only increasingly digital, but also fragments into huge numbers of separate distribution channels, and shifts from the (sort of permanent) licensing of digital objects to their performance through streaming. In addition, I'll summarize some developments from the recent Internet Archive Library Leaders meeting dealing with the ability to re-format physical materials into electronic form and their implications.

Nov 10: University holiday: No Seminar.

Monday Nov 13, 4-5 pm, South Hall 107.
Claudio GOTTSCHALG-DUQUE, University of Brasilia, Brazil: Towards Knowledge-Based Decision Support System using Propositional Analysis and Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST).

    The project's leading objective is to develop a Natural Language Interface for Knowledge-Based Decision Support System (KBDSS) using Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) and Propositional Analysis. KBDSS is a system that provides specialized expertise (problem-solving) stored as facts, rules, procedures, or in similar structures that can be directly accessed by the user. The idea is to develop an independent module that, based in IRS collections. texts, generates questions in natural language to help users to find the relevant information in the system. It is a research project basically, but not only, in fields of Linguistic, Computational Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, Information Retrieval and Information Science.
    Claudio Gottschalg-Duque is Professor in the Department of Information Science and Documentation, University of Brasilia, Brazil. He has doctoral degrees in Information Science and in Linguistics. More at

Nov 17: Christine BORGMAN, UCLA: If Data Sharing is the Answer, What is the Question?
    Data sharing has become normative policy enforced by governments, funding agencies, journals, and other stakeholders. Reasons for data sharing include leveraging investments in research, reducing the need to collect new data, addressing new research questions by reusing or combining extant data, and reproducing research, which would lead to greater accountability, transparency, and less fraud. Much of the scholarship on data practices attempts to understand the sociotechnical barriers to sharing, with goals to design infrastructures, policies, and cultural interventions that will overcome these barriers. Yet data sharing and reuse are common practice in only a few fields. Astronomy and genomics in the sciences, survey research in the social sciences, and archaeology in the humanities are the typical exemplars, and remain the exceptions rather than the rule. The lack of success of data sharing policies, despite accelerating enforcement over the last decade, indicates the need not just for a much deeper understanding of the roles of data in contemporary science, but also for developing new models of scientific practice. This presentation will report on research in progress, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to examine three factors that appear to influence data practices across domains: How does the mix of domain expertise influence the collection, use, and reuse of data and vice versa? What factors of scale – such as data, discipline, distribution, and duration – influence research practices, and how? How does the centralization or decentralization of data collection influence use, reuse, curation, and project strategy, and vice versa? Context for this talk is drawn from the presenter’s recent book, Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (MIT Press, 2015).
    Christine Borgman is Distinguished Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA and the author many publications including three books: Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World (2015); Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (2007); and From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in a Networked World (2000). She is Co-Chair of the CODATA-ICSTI Task Group on Data Citation and Attribution. At UCLA, she directs the Center for Knowledge Infrastructures. More at

Nov 25: Thanksgiving: No Seminar.

Dec 1: Michael BUCKLAND and Clifford LYNCH.
    Michael BUCKLAND: Bibliographical Access to Anything.

    Bibliographical techniques to provide sophisticated access to print publications were developed long ago. Access to other media has been slower to develop. Librarian Suzanne Briet asserted that an antelope could be a document and bibliographer Donald F. McKenzie said that bibliography should extend to the description of significant landscapes. How might a unified framework for the description, indexing, and discovery of all such resources be developed?
    Clifford LYNCH: Year in Review and Preview: A Few Major Developments.
    At the December CNI meeting, as part of my annual plenary I note some major developments over the past year and some that I am expecting in the coming year. I will very briefly summarize a number of the key trends I am tracking and seek reactions, including suggestions for important developments I may have overlooked or underestimated.

    The Seminar will resume on January 19th.
Spring 2017 schedule. summaries.