School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

 Friday Afternoon Seminar: Summaries.
  296a-1 Seminar: Information Access, Fall 2011.

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

Friday Aug 26: Clifford LYNCH and Tuukka RUOTSALO.
    Clifford LYNCH: Introduction to Seminar, and Introductions by Participants.

    A brief overview of the seminar and some highlights for the upcoming semester.
    Data Citation and Annotation (Lynch & Buckland). This week, we have both attended a National Academies Symposium on Data Citation and Annotation, and also a meeting of the DataCite project. We will provide a summary of the key issues in data citation and annotation in the context of both emerging data intensive scholarly practices and the growing emphasis on the curation and reuse of research data by funding agencies, and report on outcomes of these meetings.
    Tuukka RUOTSALO: Searching the Web of Data.
    Web Data is a way of publishing structured data on the Web so that it can be interlinked and become more useful. It builds upon standard Web technologies, but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. While such data is increasinly available on the Web, accessing large scale Web data respositories is far from trivial. I will present overview of the research I've conducted during my post doc appointment at the iSchool. I will present retrieval and access methods for Web data, discuss open problems, and present future research directions.
    Tuukka Ruotsalo is completing a year as Visiting Scholar in the School.

Friday, Sep 2: Labor Day weekend: No Seminar meeting.

Friday, Sep 9: David LESTER, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH). Centers of Intention.

    The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland has become recognized as a leading digital humanities center, and supports work from “Shakespeare to Second Life." As interest in digital humanities (DH) grows and its practice becomes increasingly institutionalized, the role of centers reoccurs in conversations; particularly at institutions that do not have one.
    This talk will provide a broad overview of active digital humanities projects at MITH, address the intentional growth and direction of the center, and develop distinctions made by Steve Ramsay about research and service at DH centers. In the absence of centers, how do humanities faculty, students, and staff connect and coordinate funding and collaborations? What technical support is provided and necessary? The talk will conclude with a look at alternative models to centers, and other institutional efforts.
    Dave Lester is Creative Lead at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), and a Masters student at the Berkeley iSchool. Prior to returning to school, Dave was Assistant Director at MITH and also worked at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, where he co-founded THATCamp, The Humanities And Technology Camp unconference.

Friday, Sep 16: Clifford LYNCH & Michael BUCKLAND: Data Curation and Re-Use.
    The rise of data intensive scholarship has focused new attention on the reuse of data; funding agencies are calling for data sharing plans; there is renewed discussion of the appropriate relationship between traditional scholarly publications and the data that underlies them, and recent meetings have focused on the very varied barriers to more extensive data-reuse. In this seminar, we'll review recent developments and lead a discussion of ways forward.

Friday, Sep 23: Mario PEREZ-MONTORO, Visiting Scholar; University of Barcelona.
    Mario will talk about his background, scientific production, consulting projects and current research on Knowledge Management and Information Architecture and Visualization. The main goal of this talk is to open the possibility of synergies and collaborations with people interested in these topics.
    Mario Perez-Montoro is a Professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of Barcelona (Spain) and is currently a Visiting Scholar here in the School of Information. See

Friday, Sep 30: Ruth MOSTERN, U.C. Merced: Spatially Aware History Teaching.
    History classes explain how phenomena change over time, but they do a poor job demonstrating that human activity has a spatial dimension as well. In order to rectify this, I have begun to integrate Google Earth and other tools into my history classes. In this talk, I will introduce my classroom Google Earth assignments, as well as a virtual globe demo that I am developing for a textbook publisher. I will also introduce survey data about student response to the assignments, showcase student work, and reflect upon the challenges of using Google Earth in a history classroom. Finally, I will discuss the experience of evaluating digital and spatial student work: my Google Earth assignments include detailed and transparent evaluation standards with potentially broad applicability in both pedagogical and research domains.
    Ruth Mostern is Associate Professor at the University of California, Merced where she contribute to the undergraduate program in History and to the Graduate Group in World Cultures. She is author of "Dividing the Realm in Order to Govern": The Spatial Organization of the Song State (960-1276 CE). She was formerly Head of Collection Development at the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. More at

Friday, Oct 7: Clifford LYNCH: Names and Lives In the Cultural Record.
    Historically, cultural memory organizations and particularly libraries have taken some responsibility for managing names as part of their practices of bibliography and cataloging, and of managing the national cultural record. The explosive democratization of content creation and sharing, the generative nature of the internet environment, and new developments in scholarly communication all drive demands for new approaches to the management of names and name authority. Genealogists and historians have also been concerned with names, and with the public records that accompany those names; we have seen debates about how much of an individual's life should be part of the public record, about how accessible this record should be, and we have also seen the emergence of enormous biographical databases, including Wikipedia. In the 20th century, we have seen the emergence of bibliometric techniques that have offered new insight into the growth and evolution of knowledge, but this work has been hampered by very poor name management in the key corpora. As we enter the 21st century, both the potential contributions of these approaches and the problems of disambiguation have expanded. In my lecture, I'll survey these converging historical developments and propose a restructured set of roles and responsibilities for the management of names in the cultural context, as well as framing a few questions about public policy and social norms.

Friday, Oct 14: Patrick GOLDEN and Michael BUCKLAND: Editors' Notes and Humanities Scholarship.
    The preparation of scholarly editions of historically important texts requires extensive expert research in the context of each document but much of the contextual material cannot be included in the eventual published volume and remains effectively inaccessible. We will report on "Editorial Practices and the Web", a two-year project supported by the Mellon Foundation to move the editors' notes into digital form and make them openly accessible. This is a joint project with the Emma Goldman Papers Project (Berkeley), the Margaret Sanger Papers Project (New York Univ.), The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Papers Project (Rutgers), and The Labadie Collection (University of Michigan). They all contribute to and use a shared environment using the Django web framework and Zotero which we will demonstrate. Our experience suggests a reconsideration of the relationship between scholarship and publication. More at
    Patrick Golden is a research assistant both at the Emma Goldman papers and also on this project.

Friday, Oct 21: Fred GEY and Ray LARSON: Nuclear Forensics: A Scientific Search Problem.
    Nuclear forensics discovery is the tracking of origins of nuclear materials. If a significant amount of smuggled nuclear material is seized, can its origin be traced to both track down the would-be terrorists and to prevent further illicit activities? Fred Gey and Ray Larson have just received a $300K grant from National Science Foundation with the project title: "Recasting Nuclear Forensics Discovery as a Digital Library Search Problem" as part of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Academic Research Initiative (in cooperation with Department of Homeland Security). To see the award:
    This talk will begin by discussing the nature of scientific search. Is scientific search 1) search of the scientific literature 2) search for scientific/engineering discoveries (e.g. Patent Search) or 3) a process of 'needle in haystack' search in a technical domain (e.g. fingerprint or DNA matching)? Are there more categories than these three?     This project falls into category 3. It approach nuclear forensics as a specialized search problem. The 'signatures' of seized smuggled nuclear samples are to be matched against large libraries of radio-chemically analyzed existing samples (up to 100,000 records) to discover the geolocation and origin of the seized sample. The project will develop new models of discovery: 1) graph matching on nuclear decay graphs, 2) machine-learning of classification to find geo-locations of sample origins, and 3) rule-based matching capturing the processes by which human forensics experts would identify matches. Educational materials will be developed to bridge between search professionals and nuclear chemists and make each research community aware of the challenges and benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration.
    Fred Gey was for many years a manager at UC Data Archive & Technical Assistance (UC DATA) in the campus Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. UCData is UC Berkeley's principal archive of social science data. He is now active there as an Information Scientist. More at

Friday, Oct 28: Megan FINN, Stuart GEIGER and Elisa OREGLIA: Three Social Studies.
    Three papers to be presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) in Cleveland, Ohio.
    Elisa OREGLIA: The women's connection: circulation and use of ICT between urban and rural China.
    The floating population of Chinese migrant workers who move from the countryside to the city to find jobs and then go back home after a few years, creates a crucial link between more developed urban areas and the mostly poor countryside. Women are a large part of this population, and they rely heavily on woman-to-woman social networks to move to the city, find jobs, and secure emotional support. Young migrant women are also keen users of information and communication technologies, which they use to maintain contact with their families, but also to maintain their city-based social networks. This talk, based on fieldwork in Beijing and in 3 rural villages, focuses on the nature of these networks and on the role that women play in bringing ICT and knowledge about ICT back to the countryside.
    Megan FINN and Elisa OREGLIA: Situation Reports and the Politics of Information Sharing in Emergencies (In The Politics of Uncertainty: Disasters and STS).
    A situation report, or sitrep, is a document commonly used by UN agencies, humanitarian NGOs, and other organizations involved in emergency response to disseminate information to/from relief workers in the field. The sitreps issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) face an impossible task - to circulate highly-politicized information about a disaster to the appropriate people in order to serve competing and conflicting goals under the banner of "coordinating" humanitarian response. By some people's judgment, this information system, which produces and distributes sitreps, has failed. To examine the complex information ecology OCHA sitrep belongs to, we conducted more than a 100 interviews with OCHA staff and sitrep stakeholders, as well as document analysis. On the basis of this data, we argue that traditional information management systems developed in business contexts to facilitate information sharing ignore the fact that no system can fulfill its implicit objective of representing a far away situation simply and accurately. We build upon the work of Lewis and Madon, who argue that information management in development-oriented NGOs must be understood from a different perspective than that of traditional economic organizations. We suggest that humanitarian organizations require a different framework for evaluating the utility of an information system, and we argue for (a) renewed focus on supporting rather than altering certain types of multi-channel information systems, and (b) implementing systems that represent multiple, imperfect perspectives on emergency situations.
    R. Stuart GEIGER: 'The Internet Is Here': The Virtuality of 'Online Communities' in Physical Spaces.
    In this presentation, I critique the concept of "online communities" by calling into question both of these core terms. I present cases from 4chan and Wikipedia to illustrate how conceptual issues arise when such groups converge in physical spaces -- specifically examining claims of presence made when 'IRL' meetups occur. While still problematic, I argue that the term 'virtual' is far more productive than "online" to describe distributed groups of individuals who utilize many different kinds of tools, techniques, technologies, and spaces to interact.

Friday, Nov 4: Pinar OZTURK and Michael BUCKLAND.
    Pinar ÖZTÜRK, Visiting Scholar: My Current and Recent Research Interests
    Pinar ÖZTÜRK, Associate professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer and information Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, will briefly introduce herself and her work. Her interests include multi-agent systems for motor control and case-based reasoning for problem solving and for information retrieval. See
    Michael BUCKLAND: Information Access Old and New.
    Conventional information access (indexing, cataloging, classification) is mainly based on 19th century ideas implemented with spectacular success in the 20th century (online catalogs, Medline, OCLC, etc.). As of 1990 the achievement was impressive. But now, rather suddenly, it all seems outmoded, even rather irrelevant as new techniques with novel names have swept the scene: Tagging, ontologies, name spaces, RDF, georeferencing, the Semantic Web. Also FRBR and RDA. Are these mainly old wine in new bottles? Or the logical development following evolving technology, Or really new and different? How do these new techniques relate to the old ones? How should we adopt them and/or adapt to them?
    What are the implications for curriculum development and faculty recruitment in i-schools?
 :   Join me for a discussion.

Friday, Nov 11: University holiday. No Seminar meeting.

Friday, Nov 18: Juliane STILLER: Europeana and Beyond: User Interaction and Collaboration in Multilingual Cultural Heritage Information Systems.

    An overview of cultural heritage information systems and in particular Europeana (, Europe's single access point to cultural heritage aggregating material from archives, libraries and museums. Due to the multicultural and multilingual dimension of Europeana, a supporting project cluster tackles issues such as the heterogeneity and multilinguality of the presented objects and/or their metadata. I will focus on cross-lingual search solutions developed in these projects and their evaluation.
    In addition, a project will be presented which offers innovative ways for users to interact with cultural heritage, and the idea of a collaboratively formed cultural information space will be discussed. This project also demonstrates how users can add their perspectives, through story telling, to cultural heritage material they engage with.
    Juliane Stiller is a researcher at the Berlin School of Library and Information Science at Humboldt University, Berlin, and is currently visiting student researcher at the I School. She is working on multilingual information retrieval and evaluation of digital libraries within the EU-funded projects EuropeanaConnect, GALATEAS and Promise. The research of her doctoral thesis focuses on user-generated content and user interaction in cultural heritage information systems and how this can be leveraged to improve multilingual information access. Before taking on this research position, she was employed at Google Ltd. as a Search Quality Analyst for web search.

Friday, Nov 25: Thanksgiving. No Seminar meeting.

Friday, Dec 2: Clifford LYNCH & Elisa OREGLIA.
    Clifford LYNCH: Biomedical Libraries in the Next Decades: Open, Diffuse, and Very Personal.

    This talk will look at some of the forces that are reshaping both biomedical informatics and biomedical libraries, and the complex convergence occuring between the two on intellectual and institutional levels; it will also examine radical changes building up the scholarly publishing system that serves this discipline. Finally, I'll briefly discuss the unstable consensus about privacy, database development, and scientific inquiry in the context of broader social developments in health care and citizen science and the opportunities for perhaps profound shifts that could enhance discovery.
    Elisa OREGLIA: Social Relationships, Information Flows and Agriculture in Rural China.
    Can a mobile phone make farmers in developing regions rich? Some economists believe so: information technologies can improve access to price information and to markets, reducing price dispersion and improving efficiency. However, access to markets and information are also socially negotiated processes that can result in counter-intuitive behaviors. In this presentation, I will discuss how Chinese farmers find and make sense of agricultural and market-related information, how the social relationships within the village shape their reactions to it, and how mobile phones and computers still have not found a place in this process.
    Elisa Oreglia is in our PhD program.

The Seminar will resume on January 20.

Fall 2011 schedule.   Spring 2011 schedule and summaries. ~