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SI 110 - Introduction to Information Studies

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Term: Winter 2009
Published: March 1, 2010
Revised: November 5, 2012

Module 01: Course Introduction

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Week 01: Course Introduction Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Defining information, metaphors for information processing
  • Life as a biochemical information/messaging system
  • Cosmology and informative objects
  • The ontology of data/information/knowledge/wisdom
  • Do information and knowledge exist "out there", or do humans construct them?
  • The difference between computing and information science
  • Historical precedents for the Information Revolution: from the Print Revolution to the Machine Age
  • Public vs. private information and the making of public and private spaces generally

Assigned Readings:

  • Cornell University. New Cornell study suggests that mental processing is continuous, not like a computer. Cornell University News Service. 27 June 2005. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. <http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/june05/new.mind.model.ssl.html>. Amidst all of the silliness of people comparing brains to computers (and vice-versa), here's a nice piece on how the brain is deeply analogue, and what is more, it's very associational.
  • Fisch, Karl, and Scott McLeod. "Did you know?" Video. Youtube. 22 Jan. 2007. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U>. To give you a sense of the larger agenda we're addressing here, check out this video called, "Did You Know?"
  • Gould, Stephen J. "Humbled by the Genome's Mysteries." Editorial. New York Times 19 Feb. 2001. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/19/opinion/humbled-by-the-genome-s-mysteries.html>. Also, think of genome decoding as an information project; see Stephen Jay Gould on the Genome (RIP: we'll miss him).
  • Schiesel, Seth. "A Coach's Rise, Plotted at the Keyboard." New York Times. 5 Aug. 2004. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/05/technology/circuits/05coac.html>. With this year's Wolverine coaching dilemmas, let's try computing football (and this isn't Madden).
  • Van, Jon. "Work by 'brilliant thinker' may turn science on its ear." Chicago Tribune. 20 Mar. 2000. Web. 2 Nov. 2009. An interview with Stephen Wolfram.

Podcasts:

Module 02: Information in Democratizing Societies

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Week 02a: Information in Democratizing Societies Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike
Week 02a: Information in Democratizing Societies - Audio - Part 2 Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Library and print traditions as shared repositories for cultural and working knowledge
  • The development of symbolic representation and knowledge in the West
  • The library as a public service institution
  • Knowledge difference and social inequality
  • Professionalism and information use
  • Social and economic barriers to information access
  • American Library Association views on censorship, access, and the First Amendment

Assigned Readings:

Podcasts:

Module 03: Computer and Network Architectures

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Week 03 Lecture Handout: Computer and Network Architecture Robert Frost AttributionShare Alike
Week 03 Lecture Handout: Computer Hardware Robert Frost AttributionShare Alike
Week 03a: Computer and Network Architectures Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike
Week 03a: Computer and Network Architectures - Audio - Part 2 Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • The basic hard- and software of computing
  • Computing and information architectures
  • Notions of layered abstractions
  • The congruence between information systems and organizational systems; virtual vs. physical spaces/addresses
  • From the box to the Net: computational and knowledge networks

Required Reading:

Podcasts:

Module 04: Intellectual Property

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Week 04a: Intellectual Property Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike
Week 04a: Intellectual Property - Audio - Part 2 Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Models and practices of intellectual property protection
  • The Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (aka "Saving Mickey Mouse for Disney Corp.")
  • Constitutional intentions and congressional implementations of intellectual property regimes in the US
  • The ambiguity of authorship (original content vs. value-added/derivative works, including marginal cost issues)
  • Piracy and open-source issues
  • Sharing content, Google Print, and the question of "Fair Use"
  • Which stakeholders add value to content?

Required Reading:

  • Boynton, Robert S. "The Tyranny of Copyright?" New York Times Magazine. 25 Jan. 2004. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/magazine/25COPYRIGHT.html>. The best recent summary of major battles in the copyright wars. Make sure to read this article.
  • Center for Internet and Society. "A Fair(y) Use Tale." Video. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/documentary-film-program/film/a-fair-y-use-tale>. An entertaining and accessible explanation of copyright law comes as a mash-up video, "A Fair[y]-Use Tale."
  • Coleman, Mary S. "Riches We Must Share . . ." Editorial. Washington Post 22 Oct. 2005. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/21/AR2005102101451.html>. As the University of Michigan is perhaps ground-zero for the Google Print controversy, the university itself has taken some strong positions in defense of the project, especially on "fair-use" grounds. Please read a sharp defense of the project by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, which appeared as an op-ed in the Washington Post.
  • De Sam Lazaro, Fred. "India Works to Shield Traditional Knowledge from Modern Patents." Video blog post. PBS NewsHour. Public Broadcasting Corporation, 21 May 2007. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/jan-june07/patents_05-21.html>. "Traditional knowledge," the knowledge residing within "non-western" communities, is now subject to getting hijacked by foreign interests. With the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, the Indian government is using a database to fight back.
  • Gillmor, Dan. "Paranoia, stupidity and greed ganging up on the public." San Jose Mercury News. 2 May 2002. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-120412599.html>. For a perhaps over-the-top slam at how Big Media is using copyright law to pursure its own narrow interests, here's a biting piece by Dan Gillmor of Silicon Valley's top rag, the one the IT community reads over its coffee, the San Jose Mercury-News; I like the fact that copyright on the article is claimed for 2001, but it wasn't written until 2002!
  • Harris, Leslie E. "Did Google Boggle It Up?" Information Outlook Dec. 2005. AllBusiness. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/internet-search-engines/1163531-1.html>. In the professional magazine for professional special librarians, Lesley Ellen Harris explains in a nice, readable fasion the legal implications of Google Print.
  • Poulsen, Kevin. "'Super-DMCA' fears suppress security research." SecurityFocus. 14 Apr. 2003. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.securityfocus.com/news/3912>. The DMCA of 1998 has such stringent provisions that it has made it illegal for a UM grad student in EECS to publicize his dissertation.
  • Unintended Consequences: Ten Years under the DMCA. Rep. Electronic Frontier Foundation, Oct. 2008. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.eff.org/wp/unintended-consequences-ten-years-under-dmca>. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 has failed.

Podcasts:

Module 05: IT & Difference - The "Digital Divide"

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Week 05a: IT & Difference: The "Digital Divide" Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike
Week 05a: IT & Difference: The "Digital Divide" - Audio - Part 2 Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • The danger of "technical fixes" (OLPC?)
  • Experts and amateurs: redefining skills
  • Masculine performative norms and gendered cyberspace
  • Reconstructing local and ethnic culture in real-time
  • Do access differentials make skills, interest, class, and income more important than race and gender in giving voice to citizens?
  • Multiple voices or cyberchaos?
  • Net "democracy"?

Required Reading:

  • Clines, Francis. "Wariness Yields to Motivation in Baltimore Free-Computer Experiment." New York Times. 24 May 2001. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/24/technology/24BALT.html>. One of the most exciting attempts to bridge the digital divide is an effort to put networked PCs in the projects.
  • Toward Equality of Access: The Role of Public Libraries in Addressing the Digital Divide. Rep. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.imls.gov/pdf/Equality.pdf>. Here's a very smart report from the Pew Trust and Gates Foundation on how libraries and their service help bridge the digital divide.
  • Twist, Jo. "UN debut for $100 laptop for poor." BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 17 Nov. 2005. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4445060.stm>. The techno-enthusiasts at the MIT Media Lab hope to rescue the Third World with a $100 laptop; the necessary information literacy presumably will appear, somehow. FYI, here's the link to the Website of the makers of that $100 laptop: www.laptop.org
  • University of MIchigan. Girls' interest in math is much lower than their performance. University of Michigan News and Information Services. University of Michigan, 17 Apr. 2002. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://web.archive.org/web/20050216043250/http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2002/Apr02/r041702a.html>. Here's a summary of a U-M study that girls do pretty much as well as boys in math in grades 6-12 (they actually do slightly better), yet their interest is far lower, indicating a possible cause for the paucity of women in IT education (a recent book by Fischer and Margolis, Inside the Clubhouse, exhaustively documents how women's interest in computing majors declines through college as well).
  • Warschauer, Mark. "Reconceptualizing the Digital Divide." First Monday 7.7 (2002). Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/967/888>. This article poses a damning critique of simple dichotomies of info "haves" and "have-nots," proposing that differences within groups (by class, race, or gender) are probably more imporatant than those across groups, and that we need to recognize systematically that "technical fixes" won't work unless we understand underlying social dynamics.
  • Zachary, G. "The African Hacker." IEEE Spectrum. IEE, Aug. 2005. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. <http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/computing/it/the-african-hacker>. Hermann Chinery-Hesse, a Nigerian software entrepreneur, has had considerable success in "negoiating" a solution between leading-edge technology and the local conditions in West Africa. Here's his story.

Podcasts:

Module 06: In, Out, and Beyond - What's Hot, What's Not

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Week 06a: In, Out, and Beyond: What's Hot, What's Not Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • The promise of high-abstraction Net activities
  • Peer-to-peer [p2p] systems as modes of disintermediation
  • Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0?—don't ask AOL)
  • Reputation systems and the emergence of collective judgments
  • The Internet as (perhaps) an emergent "life form"
  • Censorship of the Net: Reaction of the powerful reactionaries
  • Government censorship (guns good, sex bad)

Required Reading:

  • Berners-Lee, Tim, James Hendler, and Ora Lassila. "The Semantic Web." Scientific American. Mar. 2001. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-semantic-web>.
  • Blumenfeld, Laura. "Dissertation Could Be Security Threat Student's Maps Illustrate Concerns About Public Information" Http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A23689-2003Jul7&notFound=true." Washington Post. 8 Jan. 2003. Web. 31 Oct. 2009.
  • Boase, Jeffrey, Jeff B. Horrigan, Barry Wellman, and Lee Rainie. Strength of Internet Ties, The. Rep. Pew Internet & American Life Project, 25 Jan. 2006. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2006/The-Strength-of-Internet-Ties.aspx?r=1>. The Pew Trust has sponsored a body of quality research on the impact of the internet on American life; here's a recent Pew report on Internet Social Networks. It's long, so feel free just to read the summary of findings if you lack sufficient time.
  • Cherry, Steven. "The Net Effect." IEEE Spectrum. IEEE, June 2005. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/computing/networks/the-net-effect>. Lest you believe that US businesses are fighting the good fight for free speech in China, see this piece.
  • "Mining biotech's data mother lode." EHealthNews.eu. 10 Jan. 2006. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.ehealthnews.eu/content/view/124/27/>. The power of grid computing, combined with networks of information sharing, has made possible a new "Bioinformatics Grid." There's a similar grid for climatologists, giving us all a better measure of global warming.
  • Morville, Peter. "UFOs (Ubiquitous Findable Objects)." O'Reilly Network. 17 Nov. 2005. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.oreillynet.com/network/2005/11/17/ubiquitous-findable-objects.html>. Peter Morville, a close ally of the School of Information, suggests that with ubiquitous connectivity, we can look for objects, informational and physical, in something he calls "Ubiquitous Findability."
  • Resnick, Paul, Richard Zeckhauser, Eric Friedman, and Ko Kuwabara. "Reputation Systems." Communications of the ACM 43.12 (2000): 45-48. Print.
  • "The Underground Web." Business Week. 2 Sept. 2002. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_35/b3797001.htm>. For a sense of the fear and paranoia about the "dangerous" Web, try the eerily titled, "The Underground Web."
  • Wesch, Michael. "The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version)." YouTube. Google. Web. 31 Oct. 2009. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g>. This video is embedded in this week's lecture, but you should take some time viewing it, as it offers a lot of info on what we're addressing this week. 

Podcasts:

Module 07: Information Design & Interfaces

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Week 07a: Interfaces to Information Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • From "human factors" to "Human-Computer Interaction"
  • Interfaces in everyday life
  • "Cognitively mapping" information
  • Social and cultural contexts as gates or barriers to accessing information
  • The screen as a "political" divide between users and designers
  • User controls and designers' prescriptions
  • Closure of meaning and the routinization of interfaces
  • The pitfalls of the "single best solution" approach

Required Reading:

Podcasts:

Module 08: Catch-Up and Midterm Exam

Major Topics:

  • Reviewing and rethinking.

Required Reading:

  • None. Time to catch up.

Podcasts:

Module 09: Information Searching and Retrieval

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Major Topics:

  • Can we have information without a location? From libraries to databases.
  • Search algorithms, nomenclatures, authorities, and search terms.
  • Trees of knowledge vs. "rational" classification schemes.
  • The semantic Web--can we search for meanings rather than simple character strings? Do "ontologies" help?
  • Psychological and economic implications of purchasing information.
  • Information overload and methods of filtering.
  • A practical session on using the online resources Google doesn't see.

Required Reading:

Podcasts:

Module 10: Info Biz, and Info in Biz

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Week 10a: The Info Biz, and Info in Biz Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Basic concepts: information content as a commodity vs. IT as a good/service; information demand as "non-rival."
  • "Buzz word" compliance: "mind-share;" bundling; "lock-in;" information infrastructure as a "public good"(?).
  • Activating the "tails" of the demand distribution; niche- and thin-sliced markets.
  • Has the IT juggernaut ended?
  • Problems of paying for infrastructure (with historical precedents).
  • Different pricing models for information services: does electronic access to content doom the free-library model?
  • Does industrial Michigan have a future?

Required Reading:

  • Carr, Nicholas G. "IT Doesn't Matter." Harvard Business Review May 2003. Print. A central set of issues this week involve the heated debate sparked by Nicholas Carr's article, "IT Doesn't Matter"
  • Darnton, Robert. "Google & the Future of Books." The New York Review of Books. 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22281>. Robert Darnton of Harvard worries that the settlement between Google and the authors and publishers will give Google a monopoly, and what was once free will become metered, and for-pay.
  • Frost, Robert L. "Rearchitecting the music business: Mitigating music piracy by cutting out the record companies." First Monday 12.8 (2007). 6 Aug. 2007. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1975/1850>. In his recent article on the music business, bob frost examines the promise of disintermediation.
  • Lanham, Richard A. "Stuff and Fluff." The Economics of Attention Style and Substance in the Age of Information. New York: University Of Chicago, 2007. 1-22.  Richard Lanham's book isn't really economics per se, but it provides a radical break in the way we think of value.
  • MacGuire, James. "'IT Doesn't Matter' - Yeah, Right." OsOpinion. 5 June 2003. Web. 17 June 2003. <http://www.osopinion.com/perl/printer/21672/>. Here's but one response to Carr's article (there are myriad others).
  • Markoff, John. "Ignore the Label, It's Flextronics Inside." New York Times. 15 Feb. 2001. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/15/technology/15FLEX.html>. A good example of a highly IT-oriented firm transforming manufacturing (under the rubric of "flexible production") is Flextronics. (It should be noted that U-M is a leader in research on reconfigurable manufacturing and even has a major facility dedicated to it - http://erc.engin.umich.edu/).

Podcasts:

Module 11: Work and Information Technology

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Week 11: Work and Information Technology Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Cyberspaces or cybercells?
  • Decentering intellectual labor and the problem of info and knowledge outsourcing.
  • Returns on labor in industrial and information work.
  • Work at a distance and the problems of control and trust, collaboration, and authenticity.
  • The subcontracting economy: six-figure temporary employees.
  • Obsolete job hierarchies, perilous "flat" structures.
  • The problem of job qualifications and job titles.

Required Reading:

Podcasts:

Module 12: Memory, Archives, and Records

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Week 12a: Memory, Archives, and Records Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Documentation, control, accountability, and transparency.
  • Documents and the making of facts and memories.
  • A public "right to know" vs. personal rights to privacy.
  • Provenance and the principles of organizing records.
  • Organizations and archival memory.
  • Transitioning cultural resources.
  • Enabling "cultural heritage tourism"?

Required Reading:

  • Brown, John S., and John Duguid. "The Social Life of Documents." First Monday 1.1 (1996). FirstMonday.org. 6 May 1996. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/466/387>. A genuine "breakthrough" article by John Seeley Brown.
  • O'Toole, James M. "Introduction and Chapter 1." Understanding Archives and Manuscripts (Archival Fundamentals Series). New York: Society of American Archivists, 1990. 1-21. Print.
  • Raney, Rebecca F. "Jury is Out on Online Court Records." Online Journalism Review. 25 Jan. 2002. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.ojr.org/ojr/law/1015015443.php>. This article invites you to ponder the dilemma: where should public demands for open access to public documents end and concerns for citizen privacy begin?
  • Zeidberg, David S. "The Archival View of Technology: Resources for the Scholar of the Future." Library Trends (1999). AccessMyLibrary. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-55248857/archival-view-technology-resources.html>. A piece on the dilemmas of accessing and preserving electronic records.

Podcasts:

Module 13: Privacy

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Week 13a: Privacy Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • A right (?) to privacy and its comparative status and countours.
  • Problems of attention and invasion in the eyeball economy.
  • Voyeurism and the perils of the half-known life.
  • Public and watched spaces: a surveillance society?
  • Current crises in invaded privacy: impact of the "war on terror."
  • Who invades privacy—government or corporations—or both?
  • "Data doubles," data-mining, and "constructive" privacy invasions.
  • The problem of "false positives."

Required Reading:

  • Chew, Monica, Dirk Balfanz, and Ben Laurie. "(Under)mining Privacy in Social Networks." N. pag. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.w2spconf.com/2008/papers/s3p2.pdf>. A team of researchers at Google, led by Monica Chew have done a fine investigation of constructive invasions of privacy in venues such as Facebook and Flickr. The article is to be presented at the Web 2.0 Security and Privacy 2009 conference
  • Johnson, Margaret L. "Biometrics and the Threat to Civil Liberties." IEEE Computer 37.4 (2004). Print. Automated biometric threat identification systems - face recognition cameras and software, for example - pose deep civil liberties threats, according to Margaret L. Johnson.
  • Monmonier, Mark. "Maps That Watch." Spying with Maps Surveillance Technologies and the Future of Privacy. New York: University Of Chicago, 2004. Barnes & Noble. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Spying-with-Maps/Mark-Monmonier/e/9780226534275#CHP>. In Mark Monmonier's book, we are offered an analysis of how GIS and GPS, so powerful and useful for opening up new ways of making information, can be used to invade our privacy.
  • O'Neill, Sean. "A rare peek at Homeland Security's files on travelers." Web log post. Budget Travel. Newsweek Budget Travel, 22 Dec. 2008. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://current.newsweek.com/budgettravel/2008/12/whats_in_your_government_trave.html>. Airline travel used to be relatively anonymous, but post-911, passengers might worry about how DHS accumulates and aggregates information. In Budget Travel, Sean O'Neill found what DHS has on him.
  • Schiesel, Seth. "Your Own Affair, More (VCR) or Less (MP3)." New York Times. 2 Oct. 2003. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/02/technology/circuits/02priv.html?>. A very nice, very recent piece on who has what powers to snoop on you; it has a nice table showing the odd and uneven power to snoop on private individuals. You'll be surprised (perhaps) to find that record companies looking for pirates have better access than do the cops looking for criminals!
  • Schwartz, John. "Giving Web a Memory Cost Its Users Privacy." New York Times. 4 Sept. 2001. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/04/business/giving-web-a-memory-cost-its-users-privacy.html>. A solid survey on the history and use of Web "cookies" to track users' browsing activities.

Podcasts:

Module 14: Cyberculture

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Week 14a: Cyberculture Robert Frost archive icon AttributionShare Alike

Major Topics:

  • Is "cyberculture" different any more from "the real world"?
  • The interpenetration of the virtual and the real in the third phase of the Web: proximate sociability.
  • Individualism and sociability in the cyber world.
  • The eclipse of the "good hacker."
  • The imaged and imagined body: intimacy in the virtual world(?)
  • Social networks as infrastructures for viral marketing; is it all about business?
  • A new world of user-generated content; p2p democracy/socialism?

Required Reading:

  • Cohen, Joyce. "On the Net, Love Really Is Blind." New York Times. 18 Jan. 2001. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/18/technology/18DATE.html>. In this week's swamp of cyber-skepticist material, here's a somewhat-dated piece by Joyce Cohen that I find fascinating: we think of computing as an activity that raises the bar for precision, but as I've argued in my own work, humans seem to love ambiguity—it's the dynamic of the unsaid and suggestive—and email systems seem to serve our goals of "ambiguation" quite nicely, thank you.
  • "Introduction." Personal, Portable, Pedestrian Mobile Phones in Japanese Life. New York: The MIT, 2006. Print. Mizuko ("Mimi") Ito is an emerging star in the world of networked sociability; here is the Introduction to a volume she edited with Daisuke Okabe and Misa Matsuda
  • "Mars and Venus, On the Net: Gender Stereotypes Prevail." The New York Times. 12 Oct. 2000. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/12/technology/12VOIC.html>. In a very important debate opened up 15 or more years ago by Donna Haraway, many of us debated whether the emergence of cyborgs—post-human syntheses of our own wetware and IT—signalled a profound redefinition of gender. Deborah Tannen was never convinced, and this article by Anne Eisenberg shows how humans cannot shake gendered ways of communication. You'll probably conclude the same after surfing the sites noted above.
  • Riordan, Teresa. "Idea for Online Networking Brings Two Entrepreneurs Together." New York Times. 1 Dec. 2003. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/01/technology/01patt.html>. You are probably more familiar with the myriad different "social networking" sites, but we invite you to visit and think about Friendster, facebook, and MySpace. Here's a piece by Teresa Riordan on how social networks can be leveraged (insidiously, I believe) to pursue viral marketing. If you're feeling bold, you might want to google for sites that offer sexual intimacy without guilt.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. Republic.com. New York: Princeton UP, 2002. New York Times. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sunstein-01republic.html>. An interesting piece by legal scholar Cass Sunstein on how the personalization of commerce in the electronic environment threatens to reinforce centrifugal tendencies in our civic culture, turning citizens into [narcissistic] consumers.

Podcasts:

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