School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

 Friday Afternoon Seminar: Summaries.
  296a-1 Seminar: Information Access, Fall 2015.

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

Aug 28: Clifford LYNCH: What does pervasive security failure mean for archives, cultural memory, and scholarship? Some introductory speculations and a discussion.
    Introduction to the seminar, and introductions of seminar participants. Brief reports on interesting conferences, readings, publications and other developments over the summer.
    We have seen a very long series of high-profile security failures over the last year or so: Sony, the US Office of Personnel Management, Ashley Madison, and various universities, to name only a few. The prospects for ending this series anytime soon don't seem promising. The characteristics of these incursions are changing and the objectives behind them are now very varied, including often simply making public large colllections of corporate or government information rather than simple fraud or identity theft. What role do these corpora legitimately play in the cultural record, and what organizations might want to take responsibility for preserving and organizing them?
    A second issue: to the best of my knowledge, virtually all the incidents recently deal with the theft, exposure, or (much more rarely) outright destruction of information. Particularly when systems are penetrated for very long periods of time, with these penetrations often going undetected, deliberate data corruption or introduction of falsified data seem to me to be difficult problems that aren't recieving sufficient attention. How serious are these concerns, really, in light of current practices? What are the key scenarios of concern here for scholarly work, and for preservation of the cultural record, and what steps might be taken to mitigate them?

Sep 4: No Seminar meeting. Labor Day weekend.

Sep 11: Clifford LYNCH and Nick DOTY.
    Clifford LYNCH: Short Reports
. A conference and workshop in Edinburgh, Sept 7-8, on long term preservation of the scholarly record, and the Library of Congress Archival Storage Symposium, Sept 9-10 in Washington, DC.
    Nick DOTY: Imagining our Center for Technology, Society & Policy.
    Nick Doty will introduce the Center, which we intend to focus on engineering ethics, technology and well-being, standards and governance, and digital citizenship. We will discuss topics that the I School community would be interested in seeing as part of that Center and practical/conceptual issues involved in organizing around tech policy in our academic environment. Link to the Center website (and a form to sign up for the mailing list):
    Nick Doty, Co-Director of this Center, is a PhD student studying how privacy and other values are considered during the technical design process. He researches privacy in technical standard-setting and other multi-stakeholder fora and co-teaches the Technology & Delegation seminar. He also works with the World Wide Web Consortium and Internet Architecture Board on improving support for privacy and security in Web and Internet standards. More at

Sep 18: Lincoln CUSHING: Kaiser Permanente: Archiving the Corporation: Managing Historical Information at Kaiser Permanente.
    What does it mean to be a corporate archivist? The job can range from routine document processing to substantially more interesting and challenging tasks. Cushing will discuss the ups and downs of private sector information management in a dynamic national nonprofit organization. His work includes writing a weekly public history column, building and cataloging thousands of corporate intellectual assets, and working with community partners such as the National Park Service. Some of the subjects that will be discussed include the intersection of archival practice and corporate journalism, the challenges of building an enterprise-wide digital asset management system, and serving as the deep conscience of an organization.
    Lincoln Cushing earned his Master in Information Management and Systems from the UC Berkeley School of Information in 2001. His commencement speech addressed the need for socially responsible information stewardship. He subsequently worked as a librarian and archivist at UC Berkeley before settling into his current position. An experienced graphics artist he has published five books of historic political posters. More at

Sep 25: Michael BUCKLAND: Links, Meaning, and Contexts.
    Tools for resource description and resource discovery, such as vocabulary control, classification schemes, ontologies, and, now, linked data provide order, allow clarity, and support efficient services. Linked data, especially Linked Open Data, is increasingly important in the Web. On the other hand, the topics sought and the ways in which they are requested can resist tidy definition and clarity of language. So what can be said about the limits of links? – and how can they be mitigated? We will look at a variety of links used in discovery and selection services; the cultural and contextual considerations that limit the reliability of links; and how probabilistic approaches can help. We will discuss how the limited set of link relations might be extended and scope for making links more widely.

Oct 2: David ROSENTHAL, Stanford: Emulation as a Strategy for Digital Preservation.
    20 years ago, Jeff Rothenberg's seminal "Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents" compared migration and emulation as strategies for digital preservation, strongly favoring emulation. Emulation was already a long-established technology; as Rothenberg wrote Apple was using it as the basis for their transition from the Motorola 68K to the PowerPC. Despite this, the strategy of almost all digital preservation systems since has been migration. Why was this?
    Preservation systems using emulation have recently been deployed for public use by the Internet Archive and the Rhizome Project, and for restricted use by the Olive Archive at Carnegie-Mellon and others. What are the advantages and limitations of current emulation technology, and what are the barriers to more general adoption?
    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 17 years 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 chip.

Oct 9: Dong-Hee SHIN: Creating a New i-School. Clifford LYNCH: Pervasive Failures and Bad Translations.
    And other short reports as time permits.
    Dong-Hee SHIN, SKKU, Korea: Creating a new School of Information in Korea.
    Professor Dong-Hee Shin is the founding Director of a new school of information, based in part on Berkeley's School of Information, at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea. It is named School of Interactive Science. Professor Shin will talk about the design and implementation of the program. More at
    Prof Dong Hee Shin has wide interests in human computer interaction, technologies and telecommunications. He received his PhD from the Syracuse University School of Information Studies, then taught at the Penn State University College of Information Sciences and Technology, before founding the Dept of Interaction Science at SKK University.
    Clifford LYNCH: Pervasive Failures & Bad Translations.
    Followup on Pervasive Security Failures: Earlier in the semester, I raised a number of issues about roles that memory organizations might need to consider in the age of pervasive security failures that create massive public or semi-public data dumps, and some of the problematic characteristics of those data dumps. I'll return to these questions today, and add a few more related to material that has been embargoed in various ways, technically or otherwise.
    Understanding the Effects of Bad Translation - Posing a few Questions: Machine Driven translation is getting ubiquitous and very cheap, and I'll give some examples of this. The problem is that it often isn't very good (and I'm not sure that the weaknesses are very well characterized). How might we understand the implications of what's happening because of this development?

Oct 16: Stephen ABRAMS, California Digital Library: A Domain Model for Digital Curation.
    Digital curation is a complex of actors, policies, practices, and technologies enabling successful consumer engagement with authentic content of interest across space and time. Having a clear conceptual model of the curation domain is important for planning, performing, and evaluating curation activities in a formal and systematic, rather than ad hoc and idiosyncratic manner. While the curation and preservation communities have developed a number of useful pragmatic frameworks and rubrics (NAA, OAIS, PREMIS, BRM, etc.), it is not clear how, or indeed, whether, they cohere into a unified and theoretically sound representation of the curation domain. Too many fundamental terms of curation practice still remain overloaded and under-formalized, perhaps none more so than "digital object." This presentation will describe an effort at the UC Curation Center to synthesize and extend existing frameworks into a consistent, comprehensive, and parsimonious domain model for digital curation. The new model's vocabulary highlights important nuanced distinctions between various types of objects. It can also be used to make precise yet concise statements about curation intentions, activities, and outcomes.
    More at
    Stephen Abrams is the associate director of the UC Curation Center at the California Digital Library, with responsibility for strategic planning, innovation, and technical oversight of UC3's systems, services, and initiatives.

Oct 23: Laine FARLEY, California Digital Library: Behind the Scenes at the California Digital Library.
    In the early days of “digital libraries”, there were a number of high-profile, grant-funded initiatives that explored this concept, largely in a theoretical way. The California Digital Library was one of the first practical digital libraries and has evolved and matured over the last two decades. As one of the few remaining people who were involved from “before the beginning”, I will reflect on why CDL was formed, how it has met various challenges, and what a “digital library” may mean in the future.
    Laine Farley recently retired as Executive Director of the California Digital Library. More at

Oct 30: Bruce WASHBURN, OCLC Research: Looking inside the Library Knowledge Vault.
    How do we ascertain truth on the web? That's a question being pursued by researchers at Google who have articulated a flow of data that generates discrete statements of fact from countless web sources, relates those statements to previously assembled stores of knowledge, and fuses these mathematically to identify which statements may be more "truthful" than others. They describe this assembly of scored statements as a "Knowledge Vault." As OCLC Research works with data from library, archive, and museum sources, we may benefit by taking a closer look at the Google Knowledge Vault idea, to see how it applies to a vault of library knowledge. In this discussion we will describe how OCLC Research is:
- extracting simple statements about entities and their relationships from bibliographic and authority records,
- establishing a relevant score for similar statements provided by different sources,
- viewing the Library Knowledge Vault data using a prototype application,
- and testing how statements contributed by users of that prototype can find their way back to the Vault.
    Bruce Washburn is a Consulting Software Engineer at OCLC Research, and a member of a team of software engineers and research scientists at OCLC who are experimenting with real-world applications using library linked data.

Nov 6: Tom LEONARD, University Librarian Emeritus: Well-Behaved Pirates, Publishers, and Libraries: The Early Years.
    Tom Leonard will talk about how library digitization efforts changed scholarship on 18th century pirates and how a concept born in that distant era (the"pirating" of intellectual property) began to drive authors and publishers mad.
    Tom Leonard recently retired after many years as professor of Journalism and fifteen years as University Librarian. More at and

Nov 13: Cathy MARSHALL, Texas A&M University: Reviving Joan.
    In 1951, well before he was a recognized literary figure, writer William S. Burroughs shot and killed his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer. I've spent the past two years trying to solve a seemingly intractible mystery: What was the nature of Joan Vollmer's influence on a nascent literary movement? What was the trajectory of her short life? In an effort to answer these questions, I've also taken on a methodological puzzle: can a combination of traditional sources (e.g. special collections held by research institutions) and non-traditional sources (newly available online collections and other digital resources and tools) be used to create a more nuanced view of someone's life? In this talk, I'll report on my progress and discuss the issues that have arisen from this research.
    Cathy Marshall is an adjunct professor at Texas A&M University and a computer scientist gone rogue.Website.

Nov 20: Ryan SHAW, Patrick GOLDEN, and Michael BUCKLAND: Making Research Notes Accessible Online.
    Ryan Shaw and Patrick Golden will join us by skype for a status report on the "Editorial Practices and the Web" project, We will discuss progress on Working Notes, a successor to Editors Notes Working Notes is a web-based tool for managing humanities research notes. Since our last presentation at the Friday Afternoon Seminar, we have made fundamental changes to the interface in hopes of allowing researchers to easily interconnect their notes. We will discuss our development of a domain-specific markup language, based on the CommonMark standard, which allows users to refer to Working Notes items within free text in a semantically significant manner. We will also report on our ideas for enabling users to author arbitrary structured data for entities in Working Notes. Feedback from the Seminar about the latter subject will be welcomed.
    Ryan Shaw is an Assistant Professor and Patrick Golden is a PhD student in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prof. Shaw teaches information organization, Web architecture, and digital humanities. More at

Nov 27: Thanksgiving: No Seminar meeting.

Dec 4: Information Access: the last 25 years and the next 25 years.

    To celebrate 25 years of the Friday Seminar, the co-chairs Clifford Lynch, Ray Larson and Michael Buckland will each reflect on how their view of the policies, practices and technologies related to information access have shifted and evolved during over that time period, drawing in part upon the shifting agenda for the seminar. They will then lead discussion speculating about developments that may drive the agenda for the next 25 years.
    Some topics:
- The evolution of the discipline: the ischool movement and data science
- The re-invention of bibliography
- The management and communication of research outcomes: public and open access, research data management, the role of software, etc.
- The emergence of stewardship as a systematic practice and policy priority
- The federation of disparate information and knowledge resources
- Privacy and secrecy
- The change in library services
- Preservation at scale

The Seminar will resume in the Spring semester on January 22.
Fall 2015 schedule   Spring 2015 schedule and summaries.   Spring 2016 schedule and summaries.