Information Management & Systems
Previously School of Library & Information Studies
Seminar: Information Access.
("The Friday Afternoon Seminar")
Summaries - Spring 2003.
Fridays 3-5. 107 South Hall.
Summaries will be added below as they become available.
Jan 24: Movie: Paul Otlet, The Man who Wanted to Classify the World.
West Coast Premiere! Including a few seconds filmed
in South Hall!!
The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World:
From the Index Card to the World City: The Visionary Life of a
Belgian Utopian, Paul Otlet (1868-1944), a documentary made for public
television by Francoise Levie, a professional documentary film
maker in Brussels.
Paul Otlet, an idealist young Belgian lawyer,
set out in September 1895 to solve the world's information problems,
both in theory and in practice.
For forty years he tirelessly explored the central issues of Information
Management: hypertext, faceted classification, user-friendly workstations,
document formating, technical standards, etc.
Already in 1925 he realised that cathode ray tubes and TV technology
would allow people to read remote texts on a screen in their own homes and
and tried to do a cost analysis.
His "Treatise on Documentation" (1934), although obviously
obsolete with respect to technology, is arguably still the completest
text. But like almost all the pioneers in our field from the period
before 1945, when Europe was ahead of North America, Otlet (and others
who did not write in English) were almost
completely forgotten until a revival of interest in the history of
information management in the 1990s.
Francoise Levie, a documentary movie
maker, heard about Otlet and set out to discover who he
was. This 65 minute
documentary shows how she did that and what she found.
For more on Paul Otlet, see
Jan 31: No seminar meeting.
Feb 7: Nicolas DUCHENEAUT: The Sociotechnical Construction of Open
Open Source Software (OSS) development is often characterized as a fundamentally new way to develop software.
In many OSS projects developers work in geographically distributed locations, rarely or never meet face-to-face, and coordinate their activities over the
Internet. In efforts to understand OSS development, social scientists
have examined the socioeconomic, political and institutional aspects
of this movement. However, few studies have paid
close attention to the materiality of OSS projects.
Indeed email, code and databases constitute the material means through
which OSS projects are coordinated and also the material productions
of OSS development efforts. It is crucial to take this
notion seriously and make material things the focus of OSS studies
in order to really understand how these online spaces function.
I study software development by following
the sociotechnical processes that produce, circulate, and transform the
email, code and databases of OSS. My approach to studying OSS
comprises two mutually informing activities: ethnography and the
construction and use of software to visualize and explore the
networks of humans and non-humans incorporated in the email, code
and databases of OSS. This software's purpose is novel in that it
serves both as a theoretical statement and
as a tool.
I hope to illustrate how the place of software in
science and technology studies might be extended to support a
practice of "technography" -- a way to embody the findings of
ethnographic work in a technical artifact, which in turn can be
used as the starting point for further ethnographic research or
a way of strengthening the insights of ethnographic analysis.
During this talk
I will describe this approach further and demonstrate the workings
and visualizations of such a "technographic" software.
Feb 14: Aitao CHEN, Fredric GEY, Ray LARSON, & Michael BUCKLAND:
Searching Across Different Genres: Texts, Numbers, and Places.
Utopian visions of information service include
providing access to all documents everywhere, all genres, in all
formats, in all
languages, and on every topic. This is hard to do! We will present
recently completed work on "Seamless Searching of Numeric and
work recently started on searching by place; and,
if time permits,
additional work we now wish to undertake on searching across
multilingual, multigenre collections; and some reasons for making
a substantial change in strategies for search support. For background see
Feb 21: Emily LIGGETT & Clifford LYNCH
Emily LIGGETT: Interfaces Designed for the Visualization
of Complex Relationships.
As more and more information gets created, it becomes
more difficult for people to manage, gain insight
into, and make conclusions about information sets
using only the data-mining tools with which they are
presented. In order to facilitate the tasks of
working with large data sets, researchers have put
considerable efforts into designing visualization
tools to display the information in a manner where
people can easily manage large data sets. These
interfaces aim to display large networks of
information in such a way that people can
conceptualize relationships between information which
cannot readily be obtained through previously existing
information organization methods.
I will introduce a few tools that have been designed
in order to display large relationship sets. I will
discuss the motivations for these tools and analyse
the good and bad aspects of each tool.
Clifford LYNCH: Key
Research and Implementation Issues in Metadata.
I'll examine a
number of key research and implementation problems focused primarily
on descriptive metadata in the networked environment.
Feb 28: Michael BUCKLAND and others: Going Places in the Catalog:
Improved Geographical Access.
Online library catalogs are not very effective in
supporting searches by place and allowing searches to be limited
by place. How could searching by place be improved? One approach
would be to make better use of the several place-related cues in
library catalog records that are currently not used. Another
approach would be to use a gazetteer as a "place name authority
file." Coupling a catalog with a gazetteer has additional
interesting possibilities because the latitude and longitude
data supplied in gazetteer entries would allow map visualizations displaying retrieval results and a way of specifying geographical aspects for a search.
The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services recently awarded a National Library Leadership Grant to the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative to explore these possibilities, Fredric Gey, Ray Larson, and myself as Co-P.I.s. See
The project is at a very early stage and the seminar will be a very informal, preliminary discussion of this work.
Mar 7: Richard BEAUBIEN, Ralph MOON, & Lynne GRIGSBY-STANDFILL, University
Library Systems Office: Publishing, Organizing, and
Managing of Digital Content.
An update on the Library's local and
inter-institutional projects that involve the publishing, organizing, and
managing of digital content, including a discussion of the projects
themselves, of the standards work that supports them, and of the changing IT
infrastructure that provides their physical context.
Mar 14: Clifford LYNCH: Two Topics: e-Gutenberg-e Report;
and Collaborative Filtering / Personalization.
1. A report from the Gutenberg-e meeting this week. This will deal
with topics in authoring and publishing in the new digital medium; and
2. A request for help and input on the research agenda for
collaborative filtering and personalization for the NSF-DELOS
Working Group that I am participating in.
Mar 21: Alessandro ACQUISTI: Privacy, Anonymity, and Tracking in
Computer-mediated Economic Transactions
The reduction of the cost of storing and manipulating information has led organizations to capture and use increasing amounts of information about individual behavior. New trade-offs have emerged for parties involved with privacy-enhancing or privacy-intrusive technologies: individuals want to avoid the misuse of the information they pass along to others, but they also want to share enough information to achieve satisfactory interaction; organizations want to know more about the parties with which they interact, but they do not want to alienate them with intrusive policies. Is there a "sweet spot" that
satisfies the interests of all parties? Is there a combination of economic incentives and technological solutions that is acceptable for the individual and beneficial to society?
In my dissertation, I study some of the technological and economic issues that I find most interesting in this debate. I develop cryptographic tools to protect the privacy of individuals who
participate to electronic transactions, and I study the economic incentives to deploy and use anonymizing and tracking technologies. In my talk I will introduce some of the results from my work. I will then focus on technical and economic aspects of the use of cookie-like technologies for price discrimination. Finally, I will extend the economic and technical analysis by considering its policy implications and by describing how economic incentives and specific technologies can be combined to address privacy and information security concerns in a networked society.
Mar 28: Spring Recess: No Seminar Meeting
Apr 4: Jerome McDONOUGH, New York University:
METS and METS Profiling: A Not So Gentle Introduction.
METS provides an XML format for encoding descriptive,
structural metadata for digital library objects. As it also provides
encapsulating object content, it is well-suited to serve as any of the various
forms of Information Package specified in the OAIS Reference Model. I'll
a technical introduction to METS, and also discuss METS profiling, an effort
to further support interoperability of digital library repositories.
Jerome McDonough is
Digital Library Development Team Leader,
Elmer Bobst Library, New York University.
Apr 11: John KUNZE, California Digital Library:
What Makes Identifiers Persistent
Persistent identifiers at first glance. Tangled terminology.
Persistence aside, What about complete identification? Persistent identifiers
at second glance. So what if some URLs break? Setting user expectations.
Who is breaking URLs? Persistent identifiers at third glance. The Archival
Resource Key (ARK) Scheme. Persistent identifiers at the California Digital
Apr 18: Linda Cathryn MUEHLINGHAUS (formerly Everstz), Dominican University of
The difficulty of practicing what we preach: Teaching about culture in an
on-line environment in K-12 teacher preparation.
A discussion of difficulties encountered in using a hybrid
instructional model: face-to-face and online discussion boards.
Ethical, communication, and access issues: shifting instructional delivery modality;
support and communication (access to usable computers; ease of use).
Emotional issues: Tackling these issues without interpersonal support
mechanisms; anonymity as a problem: Being polite to the faceless.
Dr Muehlinghaus is Assistant Professor of Education at
Dominican University of California. She
completed her doctoral dissertation on
The Myth of a Democratic Education and the Politics of Curriculum
in the UCBerkeley School of Education in 1998.
Apr 25: Avi RAPPOPORT, Search Engine Consultant:
Notes from the CHI Search Interface Workshop and the Infonortics
Search Engines Meeting.
I found consensus on interface issues, agreement on the value of
faceted metadata, interest in usability testing, practical
applications for NLP, real-world implementations, and discussions of
the search industry and unstructured text. It's an interesting time.
Avi Rappoport is a Consultant at
Search Tools Consulting -
May 2: Merrilee PROFFITT, RLG:
RedLightGreen: RLG Accelerates Undergraduate Research.
With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, RLG began work
in early 2001 to explore how the rich information held in the RLG Union
Catalog could be made available to a wider audience in a freely available
Web environment. During the intervening time, we have learned volumes
about what undergraduate users want from online information resources; how
data mining software can uncover valuable new information hidden in the
RLG Union Catalog; how to provide access to a wealth of complex
information through a simple, easy-to-use interface; new opportunities for
using bibliographic data to help end users find authoritative sources of
research information; what is involved in the complicated process of
transforming MARC records to XML; and incorporating concepts outlined in
the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), an emerging
standard for distinguishing between various editions.
This presentation will feature an explanation of the history, motivations,
"lessons learned," and future directions of the project, a demo of the
pilot system, and outtakes of use studies.
May 9: Last seminar meeting of the semester: Two presentations.
Ethan EISMANN: Sustainable Knowledge Communities: Learning from the bIPLog
Final Progress Report: Our research reveals that knowledge communities supported by weblogs
successfully encourage their members to consistently read, analyze, and
write about a topic, which leads to deep knowledge. By writing this paper we
hope to encourage the production of and interrelations among high quality
weblogs of specific topical focus, which we hope will result in the
proliferation of robust and sustainable knowledge communities.
Paul ELL, Queens University Belfast:
From Printed Historical Census Data, to Electronic Datasets, to a Paper
Atlas, to an Electronic Atlas of the Great Irish Famine.
This talk will describes the digitisation of one of the
largest historical datasets available for Ireland - the Database of
Irish Historical Statistics. It will discuss the methodological challenges
and solutions in data creation, documentation and preservation.
The paper will then proceed to discuss one project which
extensively used the data in a major work to map the Great Irish Famine.
In the past, much of the work by scholars concerned with the Famine
employed often complex quantitative or qualitative techniques, and not
infrequently references were made to the spatially differing impact of
the disaster. Very few maps have actually been created however, and no
attempt has been made to chart systematically the regional impact of
the Famine. Several themes are discussed in the atlas including
demographic patterns, emigration, celibacy, the geography of religion,
pauperism, diet, changes in the use of the Irish language, housing,
regional patterns of disease, changes in Irish agriculture, and employment.
Finally the paper will discuss plans to create a
historical Geographical Information System for Ireland which will be
used not only as a scholarly resource but as a source of information
to the lay person interested in their countries past.
Dr Paul S. ELL is founding director of the Centre for Data
Digitisation and Analysis at the Queen's University of Belfast. The Centre
aims to act as a centre of excellence in data digitisation, and to be a
leader and in, and promoter of, spatio-temporal scholarship. He has written
a number of books including a Cambridge University Press book analysing the
geography of nineteenth century religion in England and Wales; an atlas of
the Great Irish Famine; and a study of the use of census data in nineteenth
century Britain and Ireland. He is currently working on a co-authored book
on the application of historical GIS and the construction of a GIS for
Ireland (Forthcoming, Cambridge Univ. Press).
The Seminar will resume on August 29.
Spring 2003 schedule.
Fall 2002 schedule