School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

 Friday Afternoon Seminar: Summaries.
  296a-1 Seminar: Information Access, Fall 2020.

Fridays 3-5. 107 South Hall. Schedule. Weekly mailing list.
Details will be added as they become available.
Meetings by Zoom only in Fall 2020 semester. Participants are now required to have and to use their own Zoom account.
The link to each Seminar session will be available only at the School's event listing:

Aug 28: Clifford LYNCH: Lifecycle Planning and Cost Estimation for Biomedical Data, and Implications for Repository Strategies
    Introduction to the Seminar.
    Over the past 18 months or so I have had the opportunity to serve on a US National Academies committee looking at approaches to lifecycle planning and cost estimation for biomedical data at the request of the National Library of Medicine. The committee released its report in June 2020. I'll discuss some of the highlights of the report from my perspective, with particular focus on what it implies for our thinking about data curation, repositories, and data archiving. More on the committee at:
    The report can be downloaded for free at:
    The link to each Seminar session is available only at the School's event listing:

Sept 4: Labor Day: No Seminar Meeting.

Sept 11: Michael BUCKLAND & Wayne DE FREMERY, Sogang University, Korea: Contexts.

    An examination of contexts. Although often used to mean the circumstances or setting of an event, statement, or idea, the history of the word “context” has its origins in the idea of connecting, of weaving together. We examine how different kinds of contexts are woven together, the ways that they fray, what connects creators, documents, and other observers, and what disconnects them. We consider the problems of lack of context and the obsolescence of recorded contexts. We also consider mass media, social media, and big data as they are connected to totalizing effects and totalitarian ideologies. Lists and list making are connected with context etymologically and provide a useful material and conceptual tool for thinking about what counts as the circumstances of an event, statement, or idea. Considering lists and their contexts helps to contextualize information science as a field concerned with enumerating useful contexts.
    Wayne de Fremery teaches Korean literature and bibliography at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea, where he develops new technologies for investigating Korean literature and documentary traditions, as well as information systems as cultural systems. More at

Sept 18: Cliffored LYNCH: The Impact, Priorities and Prospects for Sustained Infrastructure Investment in Scholarly Communication.
    More than thirty years of sustained and strategic investment, largely by libraries, has positioned the research and higher education communities to navigate the disruption of the current pandemic to a considerable extent. To see this graphically, imagine that the pandemic had occurred in 1985 or 1990 and consider the implications for the higher education and research enterprises. We'll discuss some of these specific areas of investment, and also where continued or new investments are needed going forward.
    For background, read

Sept 25: 2:00-3:30 pm. UC Berkeley School of Information 102nd Birthday Celebration.
    A virtual event focused on women’s leadership at the School, beginning with the School of Librarianship up through the present day. This event is in conjunction with the campus-wide Berkeley 150W History Project, which marks the 150th anniversary of the UC Regents’ unanimous approval of a resolution that women be admitted to the University on “equal terms in all respects with young men.” Visit the School of Information's own 150W History Project page:
    Professor Steven Weber, associate dean and head of school, will kick off the event with a welcome and an update on the school during these unprecedented times. Professor and former dean Anno Saxenian will give an overview of the history of women leadership at the I School. They’ll be followed by Assistant Adjunct Professor Morgan Ames (MIMS ’06), Associate Professor Jenna Burrell, Associate Professor Kimiko Ryokai, and Assistant Professor Niloufar Salehi, who will present their research areas of interests and passion projects. Time for questions will follow.

Oct 2: Clifford LYNCH: Continuity of the Research Enterprise during the Pandemic.
    Since April 2020, the Coalition for Networked Information (the organization I lead) has been trying to understand the effects of the pandemic on the research enterprise in the US, and what needs to be done to strengthen research resilience in future. While questions of instructional continuity have received a tremendous amount of media attention (including plans for fall 2020 semesters at various institutions), equally important questions about the research enterprise have gotten much less consideration. CNI convened a series of roundtables in April 2020 to discuss developments with representatives from our member institutions; the report of these conversations can be found at:
    An additional series of roundtables are scheduled for mid-September and a report on those will also be placed on the CNI web site.

Oct 9: Tim TANGHERLINI: Conspiracy in the Time of Corona: An Automated Pipeline for Narrative Framework Discovery on Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories.
    We focus on deriving the underlying generative narrative frameworks in social media posts related to Covid-19 conspiracy theories. Building on earlier work on conspiracies and conspiracy theories, we present an automated pipeline that discovers and aggregates the central actants (people, institutions, places, things) and the interactant relationships that allow us to understand the complex interconnections that narrators build as they move toward creating monological narratives explaining phenomena such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Our model operationalizes aspects of narrative theories first presented by Algirdas Greimas, Joshua Labov and William Waletzky, and Alan Dundes. In this work, we explore the interactions in social media of (i) pre-existing conspiracy theories, such as the globalist cabal behind the pandemic, (ii) emerging conspiracy theories, such as the role 5G telecommunications plays in triggering the virus, and (iii) the intersection or absorption of narratives into totalizing conspiracy theories, such as Q-Anon.
    Tim Tangherlini is a professor in the Dept of Scandinavian, and the graduate advisor for the Program in Folklore, at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on computational folkloristics--the data-driven analysis of traditional expressive forms and their circulation on and across social networks. Recent articles include a study of Pizzagate and Bridgegate (PlosOne 2020), and explorations of text reuse in a large corpus of Danish legends. His research has been supported by the NSF, the NIH, the NEH, the ACLS, the JS Guggenheim foundation, and Google. More at

Oct 16: Clifford LYNCH: The Re-emergence of Scientific Nationalism, The Growth of Supra-Institutional Collaborations, and Implications for Scholarly Communication: Conflicting Trends
    There are several important developments currently taking place that have broad implications for higher education, the research enterprise, and scholarly communication (particularly in the sciences. The first might be described as the re-emergence of scientific nationalism, driven largely by government policies and geopolitics; some might characterize it as an aspect of a new cold war. Curiously, memories about what happened during previous outbreaks of scientific nationalism seem to be very poor, and it's worth asking questions about how much we can learn from this history.
    A second and contrary trend is based on the pandemic-driven move to virtual environments for classes, seminars (including this one), and scholarly conferences. This is changing both the inter-institutional and international dynamics of scholarly communication (particularly the sharing of early results) and collaboration in ways that are still far from clear, and it remains to be seen how much of this will persist as the pandemic eventually wanes.
    I'll discuss both of these trends and how they conflict with each other, and seek seminar participants' views on potential outcomes. Note that these are very preliminary ideas.

Oct 23: Daniel PITTI, University of Virginia: The Social Networks and Archival Context Cooperative (SNAC): What, Who, and How.
    The SNAC Cooperative began as a research and demonstration project in 2010, and in 2015 began a transition to an ongoing cooperative program. The presentation will be divided into three short segments, with each followed by discussion. The first segment will describe the public historical research reference resource that is being cooperatively built and maintained. It will cover the nature and quantity of the content and a demonstration of functional features. The second segment will describe the institutional members, and how the archivists, librarians and volunteers are working together to build and maintain SNAC. The final segment will describe the technology platform and maintenance interface (manual editing and API), and will demonstrate tools being developed, including a SNAC extension to OpenRefine.
    Daniel Pitti is the Director of the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Cooperative at the University of Virginia. Pitti currently also serves as the chair/président of the International Council on Archives Experts Group on Archival Description, charged with developing an archival description conceptual model called Records in Contexts (RiC). From 1993-2010, Pitti served as the chief technical architect of Encoded Archival Description (EAD, an international standard for encoding archival guides, and Encoded Archival Context-Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF), an international standard for encoding archival descriptions of persons, organizations, and families. From 1997-2017, Pitti served as the Associate Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia.

Oct 30: Salwa ISMAIL, University Library and Jenn STRINGER, CIO: Libraries and Campus IT - Collaborations with a Purpose.
    As more information resources become increasingly accessible through campus-wide networks, management of access to these information resources often becomes a shared responsibility of libraries and campus IT. Collaborative strategies are needed to ensure optimum use of resources and services to meet faculty, student, and researcher needs effectively. This seminar talk will focus on discussing collaborative and shared experiences from efforts between the Library and the Office of the Chief Information Officer Information Services and Technology Division to provide users with robust access to digital and data scholarship and resources, handling privacy mandates and policies, and international access to scholarly resources. It will also discuss how these partnerships are vital to the successful development of initiatives and services that are enterprise and resilient.
    Salwa Ismail is Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Information Technology Associate CIO for UC Berkeley Library. Sne leads the Library’s reimagined and rapidly expanding Digital Lifecycle Program (DLP), the Library IT department, and Interlibrary Services.i
    Jenn Stringer is Associate Vicew Chancellor for IT and Chief Information Officer. More at

Nov 6: Elaine SEDENBERG, Facebook: Integrating Research into Real-World Policy.
    Integrating Research into Real-World Policy: Elaine Sedenberg (I School PhD 2019) returns to discuss how information research, including her own dissertation, influence her current role as a Privacy and Data Policy Manager at Facebook leading global research and academic engagement. Elaine will discuss the literature around corporate research, her experience in practice, and strategies for audience members on making their work more readily accessible to those in policymaking practice.
    Elaine Sedenberg leads global research and academic engagement for Facebook’s Privacy and Data Policy team. She has a Ph.D. from the Berkeley School of Information, where she completed her dissertation “Information-intensive innovation: the changing role of the private firm in the research ecosystem through the study of biosensed data.” Elaine’s research challenges the theory of linear innovation, and explores how research strategy, practice, and data policies intersect within a modern information firm. She is a 2018–2021 Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. More at

Nov 13: Howard BESSER, New York University: Digital Privacy Training.
    Almost every week the media reports another large-scale digital privacy attack. Most recently reports have focused on election hacking and hospital ransomware, but in the pre-COVID world we heard frequent reports of massive digital privacy attacks on email providers, governmental agencies, universities, political campaigns, health care companies, and other targets. Many individuals recognize data breeches and hacks as an ongoing problem, but only know very few of the steps that they can take to protect their own privacy.
    This Talk will cover privacy-protection measures taught as part of as the recently-ended 3-year $450,000 IMLS-funded project to intensively train librarians to go out into their communities and make those communities more aware of privacy threats, and to train community members in tools and habits that will offer protection against various types of threats. The Talk will cover methods for the 4-6 month training of these Privacy Advocates in techology-based tools, in discourse and advocacy, and in community engagement. It will also discuss the various types of threats, and a variety of tools designed to mitigate some of those threats.
    The presentation will highlight activities undertaken by the 100 trained Privacy Advocates, and show projects they have completed both during and after the training. This includes: guides, training materials, privacy evaluations of library vendors, outreach plans, etc.
    The Talk will highlight the recruitment methods used to engage over 50% BIPOC as trainees (in a field where less than 17% of professionals are BIPOC). It will also report on the perceived effectiveness of the various instructional methods and delivery systems undertaken, and what topics the trainees felt were most relevant to their constituent communities.
    The presentation will also discuss the a new follow-up IMLS grant and the variety of methods it plans to use to sustain the network of Privacy Advocates.
    Ample time will be allowed for an open discussion on general digital privacy issues, instructional methods for teaching privacy, outreach to communities particularly vulnerable to corporate or governmental privacy intrusions, and building cohorts of lifelong learners who continue to collaborate on digital privacy issues.
    Howard Besser is a retired UCLA Professor of Information Studies who is currently Professor of Cinema Studies at NYU, and Founding Director of the Moving Image Archiving & Preservation MA Program. His work over the past 35 years has emphasized policy issues (copyright, privacy), technology issues (image and multimedia databases), metadata (Dublin Core, METS, PREMIS), media archiving and preservation (Personal Digital Archiving, museum time-based media conservation), and teaching with technology (distance learning). He is a graduate of South Hall. More at

Nov 20: Michael BUCKLAND: Book Talk: Ideology and Libraries.
    In 1950 our alumnus Robert Gitler '31 went to Japan to found Japan's first college-level school of librarianship. In the 1990s I recorded and edited his reminiscences, published as Robert Gitler and the Japan Library School (Scarecrow, 1999). However, curiosity about his improbable success led me continue to examine the Allied occupation of Japan more closely, and also California's own library history, the use of libraries in diplomacy, and this School's role. Also, more generally, how and why do library services differ within and between cultural contexts? And how valid is the supposed relationship between public libraries and democracy? And what is implied for the future of school's of information by present challenges and discontents? The outcome, completed with the help of former Visiting Scholar Masaya Takayama, is Ideology and Libraries: California, Diplomacy, and Occupied Japan 1945-1952 (Rowman & Littlefield, out later this month.)
    I will summarize what was found.

Nov 27: Thanksgiving: No Seminar meeting.

Dec 4: Last meeting of the Semester. This will complete the 30th year of the Seminar.
    Clifford LYNCH: 2020-2021 Networked Information Landscape Survey and Prospect.

    In my role as Director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), I give a plenary at the December membership meeting which includes a landscape summary and a look to the future (videos of this are publicly available after the session). In recent years, I've greatly benefited from previewing parts this with the seminar, exploring selected issues in a setting where they can be examined and discussed in greater depth, and placed in a broader context. In this concluding session of the seminar, I'll once again reprise this process, which should be unusually challenging given the developments of the past year, and the uncertainties characterizing the coming years. Expect to see some of the themes that I've discussed in presentations earlier in the semester resurfacing in today's discussion.

    The Seminar will resume for the Spring Semester on Jan 22.
Spring 2020 schedule and summaries. Spring 2021 schedule and summaries.