School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

 Friday Afternoon Seminar: Summaries.
  296a-1 Seminar: Information Access, Spring 2014.

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

Friday, Jan 24: Clifford LYNCH: Welcome and Introductions.
    Michael BUCKLAND: Redesigning Reference Works.

    Research on library reference services has concentrated more on reference librarians rather than on the reference resources. Reference works themselves (biographical dictionaries, place name gazetteers, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.) have transitioned to digital versions of the familiar print on paper volumes. How might we abstract the nature of reference works in order to redesign them for a digital environment? How could the high costs of scholarly reference works be reduced? As scholarly activity becomes more digital could the transfer "from farm to table" be improved?

Friday, Jan 31: Clifford LYNCH: Transitions of Stewardship.
    This presentation and discussion continues research from last semester on various processes for the transfer of stewardship responsibility for scholarly and cultural materials. Issues to be considered include the public interest in the responsible stewardship of these kinds of materials and how that might be protected; the rapidly-developing technical capabilities to largely separate the scholarly and "cultural treasure" aspects of various kinds of works, and trends that may be moving communities towards more frequent transitions of stewardship of materials.

Friday, Feb 7: Cathy MARSHALL, Microsoft Research: "A lot has happened on Facebook since you last logged in": Speculations about the long-term fate of social media.
    A decade ago, the locus of activity for our personal stuff (our photos, email, videos, documents, and the like) was on our personal computers. Now the situation is different. Not only is media born-digital, it also lives its entire life online. And while we may have some digital belongings we expect to keep to ourselves, what we share is also what we tend to save. Evidence supports the finding that we'd like to keep what we have just where we put it, not necessarily in an integrated personal archive, especially not one we'd have to curate ourselves. At the same time, people have expressed some squeamishness about institutional archiving efforts, especially when they address social media. I'll bring together the results of several different recent studies to raise some questions about the long-term fate of social media.
    Cathy Marshall is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, Silicon Valley.

Friday, Feb 14: Ray LARSON, Brian TINGLE, Rachael HU & Yiming LIU: Social Networks and Archival Context: From R&D Project to Cooperative Program.
    Various collaborators on the SNAC project will give updates on work completed on extracting data describing people from existing descriptions of archival records, performing identity resolution on the extracted biographical descriptions, and using the resulting identity descriptions to build a public resource that provides integrated access to distributed archival holdings and reveals the social networks within which the people documented in the resources lived and worked. The presentation will also include an update on transforming the research into an ongoing international archival cooperative. Speakers will include Daniel Pitti, Ray Larson, Yiming Liu, Brian Tingle, Adrian Turner, and Rachael Hu.
    More at
Friday, Feb 21: Daniel RUSSELL, Google: Mindtools: Why tools mean as much as data for information literacy.
    What does it mean to be literate at a time when you can search billions of texts in less than 300 milliseconds? Although you might think that "literacy" is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understanding. Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it -- knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, how to interpret the texts you find, how to organize and use the information you discover, how to understand your metacognition -- these are all critical parts of being literate as well. In this talk Russell will review what information literacy (informacy) is today, and show how some very surprising and unexpected skills will turn out to be critical in the years ahead. We have created powerful new tools for the mind. Thing is, those tools are constantly evolving and changing even as the things they operate on change as well. This puts us in the position of having to learn how to find tools, and understanding the substrate on which they work. Literacy in these days is not just reading and writing, but also understanding what knowledge tools are available, and how they can be used in interesting new ways.
    Daniel Russell is the Uber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness in Mountain View. He earned his PhD in computer science, specializing in artificial intelligence until he realized that magnifying and understanding human intelligence was his real passion. Twenty years ago he foreswore AI in favor of HI, and enjoys teaching, learning, running and music, preferably all in one day. He worked at Xerox PARC before it was, and was in the Advanced Technology Group at Apple, where he wrote the first 100 web pages for using SimpleText and a stone knife. He also worked at IBM and briefly at a startup that developed tablet computers before the iPad.

Friday, Feb 28: Jacob HARTNELL: Towards a Revolution in Publishing: Thoughts on a More Sustainable Future.
    "Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?" asked an article in the New Yorker recently. This talk will examine some of the problems with the current system from many perspectives (libraries, consumers, publishers, and authors), and present some novel and alternative ideas for how we write, distribute, and make money from ebooks.
    Jacob Hartnell is a MIMS student, class of 2014.
    Fidelia IBEKWE-SANJUAN, University of Lyon 3, France: Methodology in Information Studies.
    I will introduce myself and my empirical research in Natural Language Processing and Text Mining and explain briefly why and how Information Science developed differently in France. I will then address the epistemological underpinnings of work in Library and Information Science and the hypothesis that practical/applied research and epistemological purism appear to be incompatible.
    Fidelia Ibekwe-SanJuan is Associate Professor of Information & Communication Studies, University of Lyon3, France. She is interested in theories of information science, epistemology and their historical foundations and text mining applications for information retrieval, automatic summarization, text categorization, knowledge domain mapping, and science and technology watch. More at

Friday, Mar 7: David ROSENTHAL: The Half-Empty Archive.
    Estimates in multiple areas suggest that current digital preservation efforts combined reach roughly half of the material that should be preserved. What are the technical, economic and organizational barriers to reaching the other half?
    David S. H. Rosenthal invented the LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) technology and has been Chief Scientist of the LOCKSS program at the Stanford Libraries since it started more than a decade ago. The program develops tools that allow libraries to collect and preserve web published materials (ejournals, books, blogs, web sites, archival materials, etc) using low-cost, collaborative, peer-to-peer technology. Dr Rosenthal is a long-time Silicon Valley engineer. He was an early employee at Sun Microsystems, where he helped developed the X Window System which has long been the open source standard. He was employee #4 at Nvidia, now the leading supplier of high-performance graphics chips. More at

Friday, Mar 14: Clifford LYNCH: Public Access to Results of Federally Funded Research: Where we stand today, and a history of policy evolution, or OSTP, SHARE, CHORUS and all that.
    Over the past decade there has been a slow policy shift towards providing public access to the results -- both articles and data -- of research funded by the federal government. I will summarize these developments, with emphasis on recent events involving the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the emergence of systems from the publishing community (CHORUS) and the higher education and research community (SHARE). I will also touch briefly on related developments at the institutional level in the US, the positions of non-federal research funders, and (time permitting) some parallel international initiatives.

Friday, Mar 21: Jacob HARTNELL: Towards a Revolution in Publishing: Progress Report.
    This talk will critique the current paradigm of how we create, discover, distribute, access, and monetize content and proposes some new ideas for how we should architect new information systems. Interesting discussion will surely ensue.
    Jake Hartnell is a science fiction writer, works for, and is a MIMS 2014 student.
    Michael BUCKLAND: Redesign of Reference Works: Progress Report.
    Individual reference works have largely migrated to digital technology, but possibilities remain for redesigning them to be more suited to a digital environment and the possible reconstruction of the amenity and usefulness of a traditional library reference collection seems largely neglected. Reference works are ordered lists of individual records, each with a heading and a more or less structured descriptive explanation. The linguistic and functional roles of the parts are complex. Progress report and discussion.

Friday, Mar 28: No Seminar meeting: University holiday.

Friday, Apr 4: Sebastian BENTHALL: Evaluation of a Data Science Environment.
    Existing institutionally recognized practices of transmitting and archiving scholarly communication are not well suited to empirical science that depends on rapid innovation in computational methods ("data science"). This is a problem because of the increased availability of observational data from sensors and the Internet, which makes data science a powerful way of getting new scientific understanding. If academic institutions don't accommodate this kind of work, data scientists will work elsewhere and academic science may have trouble keeping pace with industry (where this comparison is apt)--which is unfortunate for students. In this talk, I propose dissertation work that addresses this problem. Taking existing open source communities to be a promising model for how academic data science could work, I will study the Scientific Python communities (SciPy) through their ~15 years of openly available historical data and their present role, through I Python, in the Berkeley Institute of Data Science (BIDS). I will combine data science and participant observation to make recommendations about how open source practices should be maintained, changed, or integrated alongside other emerging practices in data management, publication, and program evaluation.
    Sebastian Benthall is a 3rd year PhD student in the I School and an operations consultant at the D-Lab.

Friday, Apr 11: Neha KUMAR: Mobiles, Media, and the Agency of Indian Youth.
    Technologies have been and are being designed to address varied human needs. Of these, the need for physical and economic well-being is typically considered to trump the need for culture, leisure, fun, and entertainment. Research initiatives in the field of Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD) have been in motion to address agricultural, educational, and health care needs, among others. The need for entertainment is central even in the lives of the ‘have-less’, my dissertation affirms. Affordable new media technologies play a critical role towards the procurement of entertainment content and the resulting production of culture. Individuals quickly learn to navigate their way around technology, also paving the way for development-friendly outcomes. It is this phenomenon that my dissertation analyzes, as it studies individual agency in the intertwining of culture (society) and new media (technology) within the larger discourse of development.
    I use ethnographic methods to investigate the leisure-driven appropriation of the mobile phone by youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in rural, small-town, and urban India. I first analyze the influx of new media and its resulting impact on folk music practices in rural Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Shifting focus to the motivations that drive youth towards mobile consumption of folk and popular media, I examine the unique material affordances of new media technologies and their influence on emerging practices. I use the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) lens to draw particular attention to the notion of agency, both human and material, as I investigate the pirate media actor-network responsible for the widespread dissemination of digital media and technical skills. I then focus on the agency of urban Indian youth that leads them to build further on these skills as they negotiate various linguistic, social, and technological hurdles for engagement with social media towards a new, improved identity for themselves.
    Neha KUMAR is a postdoctoral researcher at University of Washington, where her research focuses on the design, production, and dissemination of visual media to address maternal and infant mortality in rural India. She recently completed her Ph.D. from the School of Information at UC Berkeley, where she conducted an ethnography of the adoption and self-guided uses of new media technologies of Indian youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Friday, Apr 18: Rob SANDERSON, Stanford: Linked Data and Images: Building Blocks for Digital Cultural Heritage.
    As more and more cultural heritage objects are digitized and put online in digital libraries and federations such as Digital Public Library of American and Europeana, the need for a distributed methodology of description and interaction becomes increasingly apparent. This is clear not only due to the perceived mish-mash user interface of federations that link out to their content-providing institutions, but also when content needs to be compared between institutions or brought together in a virtual reconstruction of the original object. This seminar will focus on the approach taken by the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), which consists of an easy to implement API for interacting with images, the cornerstone of digital cultural heritage, and a JSON-LD (Linked Data in JSON) description based on the Shared Canvas data model and Open Annotation.
    Dr Robert Sanderson has recently joined Stanford University Libraries to work on linked data and other technology collaboration methodologies. He is no stranger to the Bay, having worked with Stanford for several years, in San Francisco on Annotation, and had Prof. Ray Larson as external examiner for his PhD more than a decade ago. Previously he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory on scholarly communication and web infrastructure.

Friday, Apr 25: Michael BUCKLAND: How Two Graduates of this School Changed Librarianship in Japan.
    Robert Gitler, class of '31, was the Founding Director of the first university-based school of librarianship in Japan established in 1951 with U.S. Army funding at Keio University in Tokyo where it still thrives. This is chronicled in his assisted autobiography Robert Gitler and the Japan Library School (1999). More at Inquiry into factors that facilitated the success of the Japan Library School reveals the remarkable contribution of another of our graduates, Philip ("Angus") Keeney, class of '27, who is best known for winning a landmark academic tenure in Montana in 1939. His important contributions to library services in Japan have gone unrecognized in the USA after he was dismissed as a suspected communist spy in 1947 and he and his wife, Mary Jane, became early victims of the 'Red Scare' and the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee. I will report on both Gitler's and Keeney's achievements within the mosaic of library redevelopment during the allied occupation of Japan after World War II.

Friday, May 2: Last scheduled Seminar meeting of the Semester.
    Jake HARTNELL: Towards a Revolution in Publishing.
    This talk will advocate the advantages of books in the browser. It will propose a better architecture for distributing ebooks (and other long-form written content), and explore new economic models for monetizing content, user contributions, and information in digital publishing.
    Clifford LYNCH: The Emerging New Calculus of Reader Privacy.
    In network based publishing, whether journal articles or ebooks, there is now a complex chain between author and reader, and at least in some scenarios, very detailed information about the reader and his or her behavior can be captured. Access to this information, or some redacted portion of it, is a point of negotiation all the way "back the chain" to the author. This talk will try to lay out a framework and examine what is happening in a few specific sectors at present, and briefly examine (or question) social norms in this area.

The Seminar will resume next semester.

Spring 2014 schedule.   Fall 2013 schedule and summaries.