School of Information
 Previously School of Library & Information Studies

 Friday Afternoon Seminar: Summaries.
  296a-1 Seminar: Information Access, Fall 2021.

Schedule. Weekly mailing list. Details will be added as they become available.
Session mode varies: Zoom only; in-person only; or hybrid. See announcement for each session. Campus policy requires all Zoom participants to sign into a Zoom account prior to joining meetings hosted by UC Berkeley and a mask for in-person attendance. Zoom sessions are not recorded. A link to each Zoom Seminar session is available only at the School's event listing:
Everyone interested is welcome!

Aug 27: Clifford LYNCH & Michael BUCKLAND: Overview of Seminar and Plans for Fall.
    Clifford LYNCH: Why "Web Archiving" is no Longer a Useful Concept or phrase.
    The Worldwide Web turned 30 years old earlier this month. While the Internet Archive and various national libraries around the world have done fantastic work in capturing and preserving the early web, the nature of the web has changed drastically over the past three decades. I will discuss the nature of some of these changes, and argue that a conceptual model that centers "web archiving" has long outlived its usefulness, and is now actively unhelpful. I'll examine some of the conceptual and technical challenges implicit in attempts to preserve material accessible thorough the today's web, and some of the choices that memory organizations will need to make in addressing this environment.

Sep 3: Labor Day weekend: No Seminar meeting.

Sep 10: ZOOM ONLY.
Clifford LYNCH: Policy and Strategic Issues in Managing the Flood of Video in Universities.

    In preparation for an upcoming Executive Roundtable my organization, the Coalition for Networked Information, will be conducting at the end of September, I want to lead an exploratory discussion of the issues surrounding the management and preservation of vast amounts of video that are being produced by changes in instructional practices in US higher education -- notably, online classes, "flipped" classrooms (online lectures, in-person discussion), reuse of lectures from one class to another, etc. Depending on how much is kept, and how this is stored, these video materials can represent major costs to the institution. There are also policy questions about how long materials should be kept and who is allowed to access them. I hope that we can also at least briefly explore some of the records management implications of conducting not only classes but meetings of various kinds online (with the ability to capture the recordings).

    Wayne De FREMERY & Michael BUCKLAND: Relevance and Creativity.

    Relevance has long been considered a central concept in Information Science, but it has notoriously resisted satisfactory explanation. Most discussions of relevance have focused instead on potential and/or probable relevance and the design of information services has centered on creating infrastructure for predicting what might be relevant. Other concepts, notably topicality, guide design. We explore the idea that relevance can be understood as creative opportunity, and that this reconceptualization of relevance may provide information scientists an avenue forward for research on relevance. Systems can be designed to afford creative opportunities -- new ideas or old stable facts needed for new situations —- in addition to (or instead of) topically similar documents that information scientists have identified as [potentially or probably] “relevant.”
    Wayne de Fremery is an associate professor in the School of Media, Arts, and Science at Sogang University in Seoul and Director of the Korea Text Initiative at the Cambridge Institute for the Study of Korea in Cambridge, Massachusetts ( He represents the Korean National Body at ISO as Convener of a working group on document description, processing languages, and semantic metadata (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 WG 9). Recent research projects have concerned the integration of privately generated textual heritage information into the information management systems of the National Library of South Korea (Library Hi Tech, 2020), digital humanities in the iSchool (JASIST, 2021), copy theory (JASIST, forthcoming), and the use of deep learning to improve Korean OCR (2020), for which he received a national citation of merit from the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. More at

Sep 24: ZOOM ONLY.
    Leslie JOHNSTONE, NARA: Applied Trustworthy Digital Repositories and Risk Assessment.

    One of the greatest challenges for any digital collection is the multiplicity of file formats, some of which may be decades old, each of which carries different risks and risk mitigation strategies. The discussion will cover some leading digital preservation risk models, what risks exist that they measure (or not), and what data you need. This will be accompanied by an applied use case from the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and its Digital Preservation Framework, which includes a holdings profile, a risk analysis matrix, and preservation plans for 550 file format variants.
    Leslie Johnston is the Director of Digital Preservation for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), responsible for developing and executing their digital preservation strategy. Ms. Johnston has worked in the cultural heritage, higher education, and federal communities; her expertise includes system design and implementation, setting and applying content and metadata standards, still image digitization, and the preservation of born-digital and digitized collections. She has a B.A. and an M.A., both from UCLA.

    Leonardo BURSZTYN, Univ. of Chicago: Appropriate Behavior: Social Norms, Morality, and Decision-Making.
    This talk will present an overview of Bursztyn's work on how social image and morality concerns affect the way people make important decisions. It will describe recent work on identifying, understanding, and shaping the effects of social pressure.
    Leonardo Bursztyn is Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and here on sabbatical leave. His current research uses field experiments to understand how individuals make schooling, consumption, political, and financial decisions -— and in particular how these decisions are shaped by individuals’ social environment. He is the co-director of the Becker Friedman Institute Political Economics Research Initiative, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a fellow at the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development, and an affiliate at the Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He is also the recipient of a 2016 Sloan Research Fellowship. More at

Oct 8: ZOOM ONLY: 2:30 pm START.
    The School's 103rd Birthday Celebration.
    Ph.D. student Lucy Li will discuss her innovative research using natural language processing to analyze gender, race, and ethnicity content in textbooks. Former State Librarian Susan Hildreth will give an overview of the extraordinary career of our alumna Regina Minudri, MLS ’59 (1937–2021). Hany Farid, associate dean and head of the School of Information, will discuss his work on deepfakes and misinformation.
    Registration required. For details see

    Clifford LYNCH & Michael BUCKLAND: Short Reports.

    Short reports on various topics, including, as time permits, the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Social Networks and Archival Context, the Mellon memorials project, Maritime Buddhism exhibit, some recent National Academies workshops, information science history, and an update on relevance theory.
    Link to Zoom access Seminar at:

    Alan INOUYE, ALA: Whiplash: Library & Education Public Policy in the Covid Era.

    With the profound changes in daily life caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there also have been radical changes in the U.S. political and policy environment. Historic levels of federal spending are accompanying the pandemic. The questioning of pre-pandemic norms and practices in the library & education sectors is also taking place. This session will explore this policy evolution, how policy-making and lobbying have evolved during the pandemic, and engage in a discussion of future directions for these sectors and public policy.
    Alan S. Inouye is Senior Director of Public Policy & Government Relations for the American Library Association and is based in Washington, D.C. Previously he was the Coordinator of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee in the Executive Office of the President, and a Study Director and Interim Board Director at the National Academy of Sciences. Alan completed his Ph.D. in Library and Information Studies at the University of California, Berkeley with a dissertation on "The External Social Networks of Software Designers."

Oct 29: ZOOM ONLY.
    Sarah HOUGHTON, Salwa ISMAIL and Günter WAIBEL: California Digital Library & UC Berkeley Library:
    Goodbye Melvyl. Hello UC Library Search.

    On July 28, 2021, the University of California's 10 campuses, two regional library facilities, and the California Digital Library CDL) migrated to Ex Libris’s Alma/Primo VE to transform library services and resource discoverability through innovation and collaboration. The aim of this migration was to make the collective UC resources accessible at both the local and systemwide levels via a modern discovery platform, UC Library Search, which replaced Melvyl, local campus library catalogs (OskiCat at UC Berkeley for example), and discovery platforms.
    This session will focus on the various aspects of the migration, including how the UC libraries found the will and funding to tackle this massive technological and cultural change project. It will outline UC's collaborative approach, including how we empowered decision-making at the appropriate staff level and our commitment to improving the patron user experience by keeping user-centered design in the forefront. It will discuss how we considered all of our users in their disciplinary and geographic diversity, and our focus on continuously improving interface design in ways that support user tasks and goals. It will also discuss successes, challenges, and the importance of clear and regular communication and collaboration.
    Sarah Houghton is the Director of Discovery and Delivery for the California Digital Library. The team manages systemwide support and coordination for the Systemwide Integrated Library System, aka UC Library Search. Discovery and Delivery also manages resource sharing technologies for UC Libraries, AGUA (ingestion and data analysis for the Western Regional Storage Trust and the UC Libraries Shared Print Initiative), and Zephir (ingestion, storage, and management for the bibliographic metadata for all HathiTrust contributing institutions).
    Salwa Ismail is the Associate University Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Information Technology and the Associate CIO for UC Berkeley Library. At the UC Berkeley Library she provides Library-wide support and leadership for digital services including digital scholarship, data services, and programs, computing, innovative technology spaces, interface design, and infrastructure services following a user-centric, service-oriented philosophy.
    Günter Waibel is Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director at the California Digital Library, UC Office of the President. As one of the world’s largest digital libraries, the California Digital Library provides transformative digital library services, grounded in campus partnerships and extended through external collaborations, that amplify the impact of the libraries, scholarship, and resources of the University of California. More at

    Charles FAULHABER, Bancroft Library: PhiloBiblon: From Siloed Databases to Linked Open Data via Wikibase: Proof of Concept.

    PhiloBiblon is a database of the Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, and Galician primary sources, both MS and printed, for the study of medieval Iberian culture, along with the texts they contain, the individuals involved with the production and transmission of those sources and texts, and the libraries holding them, along with relevant secondary references and authority files for persons, places, and institutions. It currently contains over 415,000 records. This NEH-supported pilot project is intended to demonstrate that a Wikibase platform, as instantiated in Wikidata, would position PhiloBiblon to take advantage of current and future semantic web developments and decrease long-term sustainability costs. Moreover, we hope to demonstrate that this project can serve as a model for low-cost light-weight database development for similar academic projects with limited resources. &nsp;   For more on Philobiblon see
    Charles Faulhaber is Professor Emeritus of medieval Spanish literature at UC Berkeley as well as Director Emeritus and currently Interim Director of The Bancroft Library. He has been curating the PhiloBiblon database for 40 years.

Nov 12: ZOOM ONLY.
    Mary ELINGS and Christina FIDLER, Bancroft Library: Building a Born Digital Archives Program at the Bancroft Library.

    Much of the focus in born digital archives rightly centers on the technical practices and tools necessary to manage these collections, however, this is just one layer of the overall management of these materials. A born digital archives program must address a user's ability to access and work with these materials in practical ways while both challenging and conforming to traditional archival practices.
    In this presentation, Mary Elings and Christina V. Fidler will discuss the Bancroft Library’s technical approach to managing born digital collections and their efforts to build a framework to support a sustainable digital archives program. They will discuss the challenges born digital collections present throughout the archival process including appraisal/selection, arrangement/description, and access/preservation as well as the tools they use to address those challenges.
    Mary Elings is Interim Deputy Director and Head of Bancroft's Technical Services division overseeing acquisitions, accessioning, cataloging, archival processing, and digital collections units. Prior to becoming Assistant Director in 2017, she served as Head of the Digital Collections unit which is responsible for the creation and management of Bancroft's digital collections. Ms. Elings taught a graduate course in Digital Collections for over ten years and regularly presents on that topic.
    Christina V. Fidler is the Digital Archivist at the Bancroft Library. Prior to this role, she was the Museum Archivist at UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. She has also worked at the California Academy of Sciences as the Digital Projects Coordinator and as the Project Manager for the Academy Library’s IMLS Grant "Connecting Content."

Nov 19: ZOOM ONLY.
    David S. H. ROSENTHAL & Clifford LYNCH.
    David S. H. ROSENTHAL, Stanford (Retd): Blockchain: What's Not To Like?

    We're in a period when blockchain or "Distributed Ledger Technology" is the Solution to Everything™, so it is inevitable that it will be proposed as the solution to problems in academic communication and digital preservation. These proposals typically assume, despite the evidence, that real-world blockchain implementations actually deliver the theoretical attributes of decentralization, immutability, security, anonymity, lack of trust, etc. The proposers appear to believe that Satoshi Nakamoto revealed the infallible Bitcoin protocol to the world on golden tablets; they typically don't appreciate or cite the nearly three decades of research and implementation that led up to it. This talk will discuss the mis-match between theory and practice in blockchain technology.
    David S. H. Rosenthal is retired from Stanford University Libraries. He was a team member of C-MU's "Andrew Project"; an early employee and Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems; Employee #4, first Chief Scientist, and first sysadmin at Nvidia; and Co-founder 20 years ago of the LOCKSS Program. He has been blogging since 2007, about blockchains and cryptocurrencies since November 2013.
    Clifford LYNCH: Priorities for Capital Investment in Digital Infrastructure and Services.
    In preparation for roundtables that my organization, the Coalition for Networked Information, will be conducting in December, I am interested in hearing about the views of seminar participants about priorities for new capital investments in digital infrastructure and services. These investments could be at an institutional level, though I am most interested in those that might be made on a broader community basis, either within the higher education or research and education communities. Such investments might include either entirely new platforms, services or other infrastructure, or replacement/modernization of existing systems (either for technical or governance/support reasons). We might also briefly discuss principles and methods for identifying and prioritizing such investments, sources of funding, and mechanisms for managing and governing such investments at the community level.

Nov 26: Thanksgiving: No Seminar meeting.

Dec 3: *IN-PERSON ONLY* Last Seminar meeting of semester.
    Clifford LYNCH: The Networked Information Landscape: Surveying Recent Developments and Future Prospects.

    This talk will broadly survey what I think are key recent developments in the networked information landscape, with primary but not exclusive focus on the research and higher education sectors, and identify key prospective developments and decision points for the next few years. The discussion at the seminar will inform my shaping of my plenary talk at the upcoming CNI meeting later in December (which will be recorded and made public after the meeting). I'm particularly interested in participant views on whether I've captured the key issues, and what I've missed.

The Seminar will resume in the Spring semester.
Spring 2021 schedule and summaries. Spring 2022 schedule and summaries.