School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

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

Fridays 3-5. 107 South Hall. Schedule. Weekly mailing list.
Friday, Jan 20: Michael BUCKLAND: New Designs for Discovery and Access are Overdue.
    There was a deliberate and fundamental change in library service strategy 200 years ago and the following design principles emerged: (1) The catalog became a self-service alternative to the librarian’s direct mediating between readers and the collection; (2) A library catalog is a specialized form of bibliography limited to what the library owns; (3) Subject catalogs are an acceptable substitute for subject arrangement on open shelves; (4) Library catalogs record locations of copies, bibliographies don’t; (5) Catalogs record publishers' units (whole books; periodical titles); and (6) Standardization brings beneficial cost-effective uniformity for everyone.
    Not only can these principles be questioned, but existing library and bibliographical practices for discovery and access are still based on now-obsolete assumptions that pre-date digital networks. So we need to go back to basics and build more useful designs based on contemporary assumptions. Join us for a discussion.

Jan 27: Clifford LYNCH: Reading Analytics and the Emerging Calculus of Reader Privacy.
    Reading analytics are a relatively new development but are being deployed in many contexts and at a variety of scales. In this presentation, I'll report on work I've been doing over the last few years to understand developments in this area, and the conclusions of a lengthy paper that I've just completed. This will include a discussion of the emergence of new consumers of reading analytics data, including authors, and case studies that include both mass-market ebooks and scholarly journals.

Feb 3: Michael BUCKLAND: Where Does the Study of Information Lead To? Part 1.
    Discourse on the scope of information science / studies has drawn heavily on definitions and disciplines. But what if we took a central concept and see where it leads to? I was recently asked to prepare an 8,000 word encyclopedia article on “document theory” which has led me into some unfamiliar areas (e.g. “thing knowledge”). I will review what I have included (and why) and the conclusions that I am drawing, including a strengthened belief that discourse based on definitions and in terms of disciplines (being interdisciplinary, or meta-disciplinary, etc.) is questionable. Join us for a discussion.
    Continued on February 17.

Feb 10: Elaine SEDENBERG & Jennifer KING: The Center for Technology, Society and Policy.
    Co-directors Elaine and Jen will give updates about the second year of the center, including successes and lessons learned from the inaugural year. The talk will include ideas for the upcoming year on engaging young scholars and expanding the role of the "citizen technologist" in the public roles. The talk will conclude with a discussion about the challenges of and opportunities for translating research and technical expertise into the current policy landscape.

Feb 17: Michael BUCKLAND: Where Does the Study of Information Lead To? Part 2.
    Continued from February 3.

Feb 24: Rob SANDERSON, Getty Institute: Every Identity, its Ontology.
    Or ... The shared identity of the concept of the fictional person Dr Strangelove: How I learned to stop worrying and love inconsistency.
    The notion of Linked Open Data is that there are identities that can be shared and reused. The cultural heritage sector demonstrates a common challenge for this ideal in its multitude of "authority" lists from Library of Congress, to OCLC, to the Getty Vocabularies. Even when mapped into Linked Open Data, these existing identities are inconsistent, even unintelligible, as we lack a common ontology to serve as the means of expressing the fundamental particulars of the individuals we claim to have those identities. The long established tradition of collecting names of things and blessing one over others does not translate successfully into an ecosystem predicated on shared identities. For example, some systems distinguish pseudonyms just as alternate names, some as personae that can act separately, and others as actual individual people. Given this challenge, which is both philosophical and practical, what paradigm shifts are possible to bring about sufficient confidence in the distributed system that we can have a true web of cultural data? This seminar will address some of the philosophical difficulties of identity within Linked Data, some of the practical improvements that we can make, and some of the processes that will be improved by doing so.
    Rob Sanderson is Metadata Architect at the Getty Center, Los Angeles. For a recent interview, see

Mar 3: Max EIBL: Teaching Information Retrieval as a Game.
    The talk presents some issues about teaching information retrieval to a heterogeneous group of students. It introduces a web-based tool which enables the students to playfully gain experience with the components of an information retrieval system (IRS). The system allows beginners to build an IRS by simply clicking and dragging the components. The system integrates game mechanics which leads to a playful experience. More experienced users can also modify the components or add new ones by programming in JavaScript. With this self-made system the students can easily and rapidly run evaluations like CLEF or TReC. By this they gain immediate insight in the effect of the different components of their retrieval system.
    Maximilian Eibl is a professor of Computer Science at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany. His research interests include Information Retrieval and Human Computer Interaction focussing on applications in the field of cultural heritage and museums. He is currently visiting scholar at iSchool. More at

Mar 10: Patrick SCHMITZ and Chris HOFFMAN: New developments in Research IT services.
    Patrick Schmitz and Chris Hoffman will present recent work across the programs supported by Research IT, including Berkeley Research Computing, Research Data Management, and Museum Informatics. They'll describe projects and collaborations that are advancing research across the campus.
    For the work of Research IT see:
Faculty profiles:
Berkeley Research Computing:
Research Data Management:
Museum Informatics:
    Patrick Schmitz is Associate Director of Research IT, and Program Director of Berkeley Research Computing. Chris Hoffman is Program Director of Research Data Management, and Manager for Museum Informatics.

Mar 17: Ofer BERGMAN, Bar-Ilan University, Israel: The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff.
    Personal Information Management (PIM) is an activity in which an individual stores personal information items (e.g. files, emails and Web favorites) in order to retrieve them later. Despite the fact that PIM is a fundamental computer-based activity and millions of computer users manage their personal information on a daily basis, we nevertheless lack systematic scientific knowledge in this domain. The talk will review findings from a book Prof. Steve Whittaker and I wrote, which was recently published by MIT Press. I will report on multiple studies that compared the use of the traditional folder method with various alternatives – search, tags and group information management. I will explain our counterintuitive results in terms of our new cognitive and neuropsychological findings. I will conclude by introducing the user-subjective approach, which is the first design approach dedicated specifically to PIM.
    Dr. Ofer Bergman is Associate Professor in the Information Science Department at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and currently on sabbatical leave at UC Santa Cruz. Dr. Bergman is a specialist in Human-Computer Interaction, Personal Information Management, and Information Behavior. He has published over 30 papers in the field. He received the Best JASIST Paper Award in 2009 and has received several grants and awards. More at and

Mar 24: Clifford LYNCH: Documenting "Algorithms".
    The term "algorithms" is now being used,particularly by legal scholars and researchers in the social sciences, as shorthand to describe complex, large scale socio-technical systems such as social media platforms, various analytic systems, recommendation engines, and the like that actually depend on a myriad of frequently opaque and constantly changing computational algorithms (in the classic, computer-science use of the term), often including various kinds of machine learning technologies. There has been a great deal of interest in recent years in understanding the various behaviors and potential biases embodied in such systems, and conferences have been convened addressing themes such as "algorithms and accountability". Less well explored is how we might document the behaviors of these constantly changing systems at a given point in time. In this seminar, I will explore the nature of the problem, and discuss very preliminary thinking on pathways to address the increasingly urgent need to document and preserve these often-critical social and societal artifacts.

Mar 31: Spring Break: No Seminar Meeting.

Apr 7: ** Change of program. In South Hall 210 **
    Michael BUCKLAND: Documentary Film: Emanuel Goldberg and the First Search Engine.
    During the 1990s work in South Hall on the history of information uncovered the forgotten work of Emanuel Goldberg (Moscow 1881-Tel Aviv 1970), who, among many other accomplishments, designed and demonstrated the first electronic search engine in 1931 (sic) in Dresden, Germany. Earlier this month, on March 10, Dresden's technology museum opened an exhibition entitled Emanuel Goldberg: Architect of Knowledge and premiered a documentary film about him: "A nearly forgotten genius, Emanuel Goldberg influenced the history of photography, documentary and media art, and laid the foundation for Israel’s optical industry now to be recognized in the first documentary of his extraordinary life." Since both the exhibition and the film were based on my biography of Goldberg, I attended as an invited guest. Join me for a brief explanation and enjoy the North American premiere of the film (78 minutes in English and German with subtitles).
    Vannevar Bush's famous essay "As we may think" (1945) was based -- without acknowledgment -- on the technology developed and patented by Goldberg. For more on Emanuel Goldberg see
    Jeff MACKIE-MASON, University Librarian, has been rescheduled to the Fall semester.

Apr 14: Laurie PEARCE & Patrick SCHMITZ: Berkeley Prosopography Services (BPS): a toolkit supporting humanities research.
    The work of social, economic, and intellectual historians depends on identifying participants in communities, transactions, and processes being investigated. BPS supports research workflows through abstracting and implementing the probabilistic heuristics commonly applied in the process of disambiguating namesakes in text corpora, by offering the user the opportunity to modify the heuristics to explore "what if" scenarios, and to visualize the results in interactive graphs. Here, we consider the contributions and challenges of developing and applying this approach to humanities research.
    The presenters are project manager and technical lead, respectively, of Berkeley Prosopography Services.
More at and at
    Laurie Pearce's research is focused on the social and economic history of Mesopotamia in the first millennium BCE. She directs Hellenistic Babylonia: Texts, Images and Names, part of the digital text consortium On-line Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus (Oracc). She is a lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, which has an active presence in the Berkeley DH community.
    Patrick Schmitz is Associate Director of Research IT Architecture and Strategy, providing IT strategy and solutions in support of campus research; and Program Director of Berkeley Research Computing. He has provided technical leadership to build IT solutions supporting museums and faculty collections, various research projects, and education, with an emphasis on data science and semantic technologies (NLP and statistical linguistics, social media and annotation, etc.).

Apr 21: In South Hall 205: Jeanette ZERNEKE, Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative: Mapping & Visualization of Cultural Data: Native California, Mosques in China, Maritime Buddhism.
    The current popularity of Digital Humanities provides an opportunity to examine issues in mapping and visualization of transdisciplinary data. This presentation includes: demos of early California history; mapping of religious institutions in China; and a collaborative project mapping the migration of Buddhism from India through Southeast Asia to China. With these ECAI projects as case studies the presentation will consider themes including: data collection and curation, the function of visualizations, technical choices, collaboration, and what are the results / academic outcomes.
    Jeanette Zerneke has work at UC Berkeley for over 30 years as an Information System Developer, Manager, and as Technical Director for ECAI since 1998, Jeanette has created a wide range of digital resources, contributed to development of many new technologies, participated in local and global collaborations, managed development of cultural atlases, and designed and hosted conferences, workshops, and training sessions.

Apr 28: Cathy MARSHALL: Personal Digital Archives: From Accumulation to Legacy.
  During an individual’s lifetime, the content and organization of a personal digital archive depends largely on whatever personal information management regimens the collection’s owner(s) have adopted. Some aspects, for example, outward-facing parts of the collection held as social media, may be extensively curated; other portions may be subject to policies imposed by storage providers and surrogate stewards of the data (e.g. in the case of governmental, financial, and medical records). Still other portions (e.g. local and cloud storage) may show patterns of long-term accumulation and benign neglect. What do these diverse policies and practices mean for personal collections as historical legacy? I use my experience with personal papers held in research library collections to investigate four issues that will play a major role in shaping tomorrow’s personal digital archives: (1) ephemerality, permanence, and privacy concerns; (2) self-representation and reliability; (3) historical, biographical, and genealogical utility; and (4) copyright, ownership, and access policies.
    Cathy Marshall is a San Francisco-based adjunct professor at the Texas A&M University Center for the Study of Digital Libraries and sometime volunteer at the Internet Archive. See

The Seminar will resume on August 25.
Spring 2017 schedule. Fall 2016 schedule and summaries. Fall 2017 schedule and summaries.