Prof. Jonathan Senchyne
University of Wisconsin, Madison,
4191F Helen C. White Hall
This course is about information and its settings in a broad context. We will study many social, legal, political, historical, cultural, theoretical, and ethical issues surrounding information creation, dissemination, use, and control. Throughout the course we will question the relation of information to power, control, and access by studying a representative range of information agencies and contexts.
A key part of this course is students’ critical engagement with the course material. You will be responsible for reading the material before class, having thoughts about that material when you arrive for class, and discussing the material during class. Class meetings will be a combination of lecture and discussion. Some components will be led by the instructor, others by guest lecturers, and some by students.
LIS 450, Information Agencies and Their Environments, is intended to provide — in conjunction with LIS 451 (Foundations of Reference) and LIS 551 (Organization of Information) — an introduction to major themes and topics in the field of library and information studies (LIS), as well as the language and literature of the field and cognate disciplines.
- What are some of the major information contexts in contemporary and historical U.S. culture?
- How does the continuum from high control to high openness shape outcomes and debates in information agencies and contexts?
- How do information professionals enter those debates and shape outcomes?
Most of the reading for this course will be provided through e-reserves or using our library’s journal subscriptions. Because the length of some required reading materials, you will be asked to have access to copies of some books. You may buy them, request them through the library system, or access the copy on reserve in the SLIS library.
- Siva Vaidhynathan, The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System. Basic Books, 2004.
- David Golumbia, The Cultural Logic of Computation. Harvard University Press, 2009.
- Richard Handler and Eric Gable, The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg. Duke University Press, 1997.
Course Objectives, Program Level Learning Outcomes, and Assignments
The course is designed to further a number of the program-level learning outcomes of the School of Library and Information Studies Master of Arts degree program. Several assignments will provide evidence of those outcomes, as per the following table.
|Course Learning Objective||Official Program-Level Learning Outcomes(s)||Evidence of Learning Outcomes||Assessing Mastery of Learning Outcome|
|Students develop an understanding of theoretical and historical perspectives that draw on research in other fields of knowledge as well as on LIS.||1a. Students apply key concepts with respect to the relationship between power, knowledge, and information.||Op Ed||Students effectively incorporate some theoretical or historical concept(s) into thesis and argument.|
|Students acquire a strong and informed service ethic grounded in knowledge of local, national, and global
information policies and processes, including scholarly processes.
|2b. Students apply core ethical principles to professional practice.||Collection development exercise||Students explain relation between core profession ethical principles and selections.|
|Students develop core skills in providing information services, analyzing information resources, and analyzing information needs of diverse individuals and communities.||3b. Students search, select, and evaluate print and digital information resources.||Collection development exercise||Students clearly explain process of finding and evaluating resources and articulate reasons for final selections.|
|.Students identify a peer-reviewed journal and appropriately evaluate the scholarship within.|
|3c. Students analyze information needs of diverse individuals and communities.||Collection development exercise||Students explain why resources chosen are appropriate for meeting needs of target community.|
|Students provide justification for proposed and existing projects based on needs of community.|
|Students develop critical thinking and writing abilities in order to become more reflective, creative, problem-solving leaders.||4a. Students participate effectively as team members to solve problems.||Grant application||Peer evaluations reflect commitment to shared work product, collegiality, and initiative.|
|4b. Students demonstrate good oral and written communication skills.||All written assignments, including course blog.||Written assignments are clear, concise, well-articulated and well-reasoned.|
|In class participation||Students articulate questions and criticisms of readings effectively and communicate results of in-class work clearly.|
A: 94 – 100
Outstanding achievement. Student performance demonstrates full command of course materials and evinces a high degree of originality and/or creativity that far surpasses course expectations.
AB: 88 – 93
Very good achievement. Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of course materials and exceeds course expectations by completing all course requirements in a superior manner.
B: 82 – 87
Good work. Student performance meets designated course expectations, demonstrates
understanding of the course materials, and performs at an acceptable level.
BC: 77 – 81
Marginal work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of course materials.
Unsatisfactory work and inadequate understanding of course materials. Course work at this level triggers probationary status unless balanced by an A earned in another course during the same semester.
It is my intention to fully include persons with disabilities in this course. Please let me know immediately if you need any special accommodations to enable you to fully participate. I will try to maintain confidentiality of the information you share with me to the fullest extent possible, given that we may need to speak with your site supervisor. To request academic accommodations, you must register as soon as possible with McBurney Disability Resource Center (1305 Linden Drive; 263-2741; www.mcburney.wisc.edu.)
Assignments are due on the dates listed in the Schedule. In fairness to your classmates, assignments will be marked down if turned in late. Only catastrophic emergencies will be considered justifiable exceptions to this policy. Late work will incur a penalty of one percentage point a day, unless you contact me on or before the due date, to negotiate an alternative reduction.
Class attendance is mandatory. Attendance is defined as being present for the entire class meeting. Anything substantially less than that, e.g., leaving at break, will be considered an absence. If illness or an emergency prevents you from attending class, please notify me, and any team members for group projects, by email or telephone before class begins. You should also make arrangements with another student to get her or his notes. An absence will be excused only if the absent student notifies me in advance of the class, or if the absent student can clearly demonstrate that such notification was not possible. If a student does not notify me of an absence prior to the start of class, students should assume that the absence will be considered unexcused.
Description of Assignments and Grading
Your final grade will be based on the following. I will provide a more complete description of each assignment and expectations at least two weeks before it is due.
Class Participation and Preparation: 20%
An important aspect of this course is your critical engagement with the material and active participation in class. You will be responsible for reading the material before class, having thoughts about that material when you arrive for class, and discussing the material during class. Quality of in-class participation is much more important than quantity.
In addition, you will be responsible to contributing to and reading online discussions on our course blog: http://courses.jsench.org/LIS450. The course blog will serve as a space for asynchronous conversations and questions about readings, current events that relate to the course, and some structured assignments. A certain amount of writing on the blog will be required, and will be available to the public. I will make clear when posting and commenting on the blog is required. Due: Rolling.
Journal Review: 20%
You will select a peer-reviewed academic journal relating to an LIS or LIS-related topic/field, read its most recent two-year run in entirety. Then, write a report summarizing the “state of the field” based on your observation of the academic conversations/debates and reflections on professional practice that emerge across the span of your reading. This will be posted to the blog. Due: September 25
Collection Development Exercise, 20%
You will be given a budget and a topic and asked to build your library’s collection. The end product will be a spreadsheet with the additions, and a short paper (5 pages or less) describing and justifying your approach the exercise and explaining your decisions. Due: October 30
Grant Proposal and Assessment Exercise 20%
Each of you will be assigned to one of eight groups, and each group will draft a grant proposal based on this year’ Big Read book. Later in the semester your group will design an assessment tool related to your grant proposal. Due: November 13
Op Ed: 20%
You will write an Op Ed for a local or regional news outlet explaining an information agency’s importance (public library, academic library/university, museum, investigative journalism center, etc) and why that agency justifies additional support (tax revenues, memberships, political support, etc). This will be posted to the blog. Due: December 11
Each of the written assignments is an appropriate artifact for your MA portfolio. I encourage you to add one or more to your portfolio during the semester. It is likely that you will do even better work as you progress through the program, and you can replace anything you add later. It is, however, important to begin cultivating content for your portfolio early and often. Also, check out portfolio training in the SLIS library, and see portfolio.slis.wisc.edu.
Work for the Course
For graduate level classes, each semester hour of discussion or lecture normally entails at least three hours of outside preparation for the average student. Therefore you should expect to do at least nine hours of preparatory reading and thinking for each class session. You are expected to do the required reading for this course. You are not, however, expected to fully master everything that you are reading at first. I expect that you will make a good faith effort at understanding by doing the reading; looking up words, terms, allusions, and references you may not know; and coming to class meetings with things to say about what you understood and questions about what you haven’t yet grasped. In this way, you will become increasingly familiar and confident in the field, and capable of making your own contributions to the practice and scholarship of information studies.
Week 1 – September 4: introduction to the course, objectives & purposes, topics & themes
What is “information,” what is an “information agency” and “environment.” How ongoing conversations about power, control, and freedom will structure the course.
- Siva Vaidhynathan, The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System. New York: Basic Books, 2004. (entire book)
Week 2 – September 11: Professional Values and Professionalization
Exploring the professional values/ethics of librarians through histories of conflict and current policies.
- Don Fallis, “Information Ethics for Twenty-first Century Library Professionals.” Library Hi Tech 25.1 (2007): 23–36.
- Klaus Musmann, “The Ugly Side of Librarianship: Segregation in Library Services from 1900-1950.” In Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship, ed. John Mark Tucker, Champaign, IL: Publications Office, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1998. 78–92.
- Emily Drabinski, “Librarians and the Patriot Act.” The Radical Teacher 77 (Winter 2006) pgs 12-14.
- American Library Association, “The USA PATRIOT Act” (and Further Reading) http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/federallegislation/theusapatriotact
- American Library Association. “Library Bill of Rights.” http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/
- ———. “Code of Ethics of the American Library Association.” http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics .
- ———. “History of the ALA Code of Ethics.” http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/history
- In-class visits from Prof. Kristin Eschenfelder and Tanya Cobb to discuss professional portfolios and career services.
Week 3 – September 18: The Neoliberal University in the Age of Information and Excellence
The University as an information agency: its economies, logics, politics, and histories. As applied to recent events in academic librarianship.
- Bill Readings, The University in Ruins, “Introduction,” “The Idea of Excellence,” and “The Decline of the Nation State” pages 1-53.
- Marc Bosquet, How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation, “Introduction: Your Problem is My Problem,” “The Informal Economy of the ‘Information University,’” and “Students are Already Workers” pages 1-89, 125-156.
- Sydni Dunn, “As Their Role Changes, Some Librarians Lose Faculty Status,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2013. http://chronicle.com/article/As-Role-of-Librarians-Evolves/137937/
- “Goodbye Faculty Status,” Library Journal, March 11, 2013. http://lj.libraryjournal.com/blogs/annoyedlibrarian/2013/03/11/goodbye-faculty-status/
- Alan Bernstein, “Academic Librarians and Faculty Status: Mountain, Molehill, or Mesa.” Georgia Library Quarterly 46.2, Article 6. http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/glq/vol46/iss2/6
- Rick Anderson, “When Sellers and Buyers Disagree: Edwin Mellen Press vs. a Critical Librarian” The Scholarly Kitchen, February 11, 2013. http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/02/11/you-probably-think-this-song-is-about-you-edwin-mellen-press-vs-a-critical-librarian/
Week 4 – September 25: Public Institutions and Common Goods
Theorizing the commonweal and public information agencies. As applied to recent events with the New York Public Library, the Digital Public Library of America, and the Urbana Free Library.
- Elinor Ostrom and Charlotte Hess, “Introduction: An Overview of the Knowledge Commons” and “A Framework for Analyzing the Knowledge Commons” in Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice. pages 3-26 and 42-81.
- Charles Peterson, “Lions in Winter” n+1, http://nplusonemag.com/lions-in-winter
- Caleb Crain, “Build More Deliberately” and “The Culture of the NYPL’s Research Division,” Steamboats Are Ruining Everything, http://www.steamthing.com/2012/03/build-more-deliberately.html and http://www.steamthing.com/2012/04/the-culture-of-the-new-york-public-librarys-research-divisions.html
- Robert Darnton, “In Defense of the New York Public Library” http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/07/defense-new-york-public-library/
- “In Defense of the New York Public Library: An Exchange” http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jul/12/defense-new-york-public-library-exchange/
- Robert Darnton, “Jefferson’s Taper: A National Digital Library” New York Review of Books, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/nov/24/jeffersons-taper-national-digital-library/
- Zadie Smith, “The North West London Blues” New York Review of Books, http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/jun/02/north-west-london-blues/
- Peruse news coverage of the Urbana Free Library weeding “bookgate” : http://reclaimingourlibrary.blogspot.com/p/in-news.html
- Open Letter from Urbana Residents to Urbana Free Library Board of Directors: http://reclaimingourlibrary.blogspot.com/2013/07/an-open-letter-to-urbana-free-library.html
- Carol Tilley, “A Few Reasons You Should Care about #Bookgate Even If You Aren’t From Urbana” http://reclaimingourlibrary.blogspot.com/2013/07/an-open-letter-to-urbana-free-library.html
- Other documents relating to #bookgate: http://reclaimingourlibrary.blogspot.com/p/foia-documents.html
Week 5 – October 2: Access to (and Enclosures of) Information
Enclosures of the Information Commons, “The Digital Divide,” and Critical Information Needs of the Public. Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality as Important Factors in Information Disenfranchisement
- Nancy Kranich, “Countering Enclosure: Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons” in Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice. pages 85-122.
- Bo Kinney. “The Internet, Public Libraries, and the Digital Divide.” Public Library Quarterly 29.2 (2010): 104–161.
- Lew Friedland et al, “Review of the Literature Regarding Critical Information Needs of the American Public,” Report to Federal Communications Commission. (Executive summary.) http://transition.fcc.gov/ocbo/Executive_Summary.pdf
- tatiana de la tierra, “Latina Lesbian Subject Headings: The Power of Naming” Radical Cataloging: Essays from the Front, pages 94-102
- Vibeke Lehmann, “Challenges and Accomplishments in U.S. Prison Libraries” Library Trends 59.3 (Winter 2011) 490-508.
- Julie Hersberger, “The Homeless and Information Needs and Services” Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44.3 (Spring 2005): 199-202.
- “Library for the Homeless” Street Pulse: Madison’s Homeless Cooperative Newspaper 7.17 (August 2013) pg 5.
- Noah Phillips, “Central Public Library to Open September 21st” Street Pulse: Madison’s Homeless Cooperative Newspaper 7.19 (September 2013) pg 1.
- James Gleick, “Wikipedia’s Women Problem” New York Review of Books http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/apr/29/wikipedia-women-problem/
- Tara McPherson, “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White? Or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation” Debates in the Digital Humanities http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/29
Week 6 – October 9: Theories of the Archive
The relationship between archives and power, memory, and history – theorized. No neutral containers. Concept of “the archive” different than “an archive.” “Find[ing] things where we have already put them.”
- Jacques Derrida, “Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression” diacritics 25.2 (Summer 1995) pgs 9-63.
- Carolyn Steedman, Dust: The Archive in Cultural History, “In the archon’s house,” “‘Something she called a fever: Michelet, Derrida, and dust,” “The magistrates,” and “The space of memory: in an archive” New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press: 2002. pgs 1-83
- Marlene Manoff, “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines” portal: Libraries and the Academy 4.1 (2004) p. 9-25.
- Suzanne Fischer. 2012. “Nota Bene: If You ‘Discover’ Something in an Archive, It’s Not a Discovery.” The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/06/nota-bene-if-you-discover-something-in-an-archive-its-not-a-discovery/258538/
- Helena Iles Papaioannou. 2012. “Actually, Yes, It *Is* a Discovery If You Find Something in an Archive That No One Knew Was There.” The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/12/06/actually-yes-it-is-a-discovery-if-you-find-something-in-an-archive-that-no-one-knew-was-there/258812/
- Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/benjamin/1940/history.htm
Week 7 – October 16: Collection Development: What are we doing when we build a collection?
Guest Lecture by Anjali Bhasin
- Doyle, Tony. 2003. “Selection Versus Censorship in Libraries.” Collection Management 27 (1): 15–25.
- Asheim, Lester. 1954. “Not Censorship, but Selection.” In Book Selection and Intellectual Freedom: Proceedings of the Second Conference on Intellectual Freedom, 90–99. Whittier, CA: American Library Association.
- American Library Association, “Collection Management Section (CMS) | Assn. for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS).” http://www.ala.org/alcts/mgrps/cms.
- ———. “Diversity in Collection Development.” http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=interpretations&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=8530.
- Schomberg, Jessica, and Michelle Grace. 2005. “Expanding a collection to reflect diverse user populations.” Collection Building 24 (4): 124–126
Week 8 – October 23: Social Reading and Community Reading Programs
What are community reading programs? What do they do? Who are they for? What motivates them? Is it a celebration of a book and/or a moment for critical reflection? How do you get grants to support them? Differences from online social reading.
- Danielle Fuller and DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Reading Beyond the Book: The Social Practices of Contemporary Literary Culture, “Introduction,” “Reading,” and “Money” New York: Routledge, 2013, pgs 1-49, 122-163.
- Lisa Nakamura, “‘Words with Friends’: Socially Networked Reading on Goodreads.” PMLA 128.1 (January 2013) 238-243.
- Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, National Endowment for the Arts, www.nea.gov/pup/readingatrisk.pdf
- Discussion of grant/assessment project.
Week 9 – October 30: Information Overload, Past and Present
Information management and user strategies – historically considered.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Books,” http://www.rwe.org/complete/complete-works/vii-society-and-solitude/chapter-viii-books.html
- Ann Blair, “Introduction” and “Reference Genres and Their Finding Devices” from Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age. (Yale, 2010) pp. 11-61, 117-172
- Cathy N. Davidson, “Introduction” and “Part One” from Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. (Viking, 2011) 1-58.
Week 10 - November 6: Michele Besant – Evaluation/Assessment/ Value: Telling our Story
Guest Lecture by Michele Besant
- Kizlik, Bob. “Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation in Education” http://www.adprima.com/measurement.htm
- University of Washington’s Office of Educational Assessment, FAQ: “How is evaluation different than assessment?” http://www.washington.edu/oea/services/research/program_eval/faq.html
- Insitute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). “Outcome Based Evaluation”
In particular, in the “Presentations” section:
“Knowing What Audiences Learn: Outcomes and Program Planning” (Powerpoint Presentation)
- McWhite, Leigh. 2010. “’So, Your Institution Is Hosting a Presidential Debate…’: A Case Study of 2008 Programming by the University of Mississippi Archives and Spcial Collections.” American Archivist 73 (1): 219-234.
- “Libraries Matter: Impact Research” http://www.ala.org/research/librariesmatter/
- Brown, Karen and Kara Malenfant. 2012Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate: A
Report from the Value of Academic Libraries Summits. ACRL.
or see info on at: http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/?p=381 (includes Podcast)
- “Guidelines for Evaluation of Archival Institutions”
- “American Archives Month: The Power of Collaboration:
- Simmons, Annette. 2006. “The Six Stories You Need to Know How to Tell.”
Chapter 1 in The Story Factor. New York: Basic Books.
Week 11 – November 13: Intellectual Property and Licensing
Guest Lecture by Alan Rubel
- Okerson, Ann. 2000. “Are we there yet? Online e-resources ten years after.” Library Trends 48 (4): 671–693.
- Davis and Feather. 2008. “The Evolution of License Content.” In Electronic Resource Management in Libraries: Research and Practice, eds. Holly Yu and Scott Breivold, 122-144. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
- Harris, Lesley Ellen. 2009. Licensing Digital Content: a Practical Guide for Librarians. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Association. Chapter 4, “Key Digital License Clauses.”
- Ashmore, Beth. 2012. The Librarian’s Guide to Negotiation: Winning Strategies for the Digital Age. Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc. Chapter 7, “Negotiating in the Era of Publisher Consolidation and the Big Deal.”
- Zhang, Tian Xiao. 2012. “Pay-Per-View: a Promising Model of E-Articles Subscription for Middle/Small Sized Academic Libraries in the Digital Age.” In Proceedings of the 2012 Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) Conference. Zadar, Croatia.
- Boyle, James. 1996. Shamans, Software, and Spleens: Law and the Construction of the Information Society. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Chapter 5, “Intellectual Property and the Liberal State,” and Chapter 6, “Copyright and the Invention of Authorship.”
- Litman, Jessica. 2001. Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books. Chapter 12, “Revising Copyright Law for the Information Age.”
Week 12 – November 20: Computation and Culture
Technological determinism, the idea that technology defines cultural, social, political, and biological possibility, critiqued. Viewed through rhetoric surrounding “big data” and “MOOC” industries.
- David Golumbia, The Cultural Logic of Computation, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (2009), pgs 1-30, 129-225.
- Up to date links to recent media coverage of “big data” and “MOOCs” will be circulated.
Week 13, November 27: Thanksgiving Break – No Class Meeting
Week 14 – December 4: Privacy and Intellectual Freedom
Guest Lecture by Alan Rubel.
- Klinefelter, Anne. 2007. “Privacy and Library Public Services: Or, I Know What You Read Last Summer.” Legal Reference Services Quarterly 26 (December 20): 253–279. doi:10.1300/J113v26n01_13.
- Magi, Trina J. 2007. “The Gap Between Theory and Practice: A Study of the Prevalence and Strength of Patron Confidentiality Policies in Public and Academic Libraries.” Library & Information Science Research 29 (4) (December): 455–470.
- ———. 2010. “A Content Analysis of Library Vendor Privacy Policies: Do They Meet Our Standards?” College & Research Libraries 71 (3) (May): 254–272.
- Rubel, Alan. N.D. “Electronic Resources, Privacy, and Positive Intellectual Freedom.” Draft.
- American Library Association. “Privacy and Confidentiality.” http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/ifissues/privacyconfidentiality
Week 15 – December 11: Creating History in the Museum
Museums as curators and creators of information, knowledge, and narratives.
- Richard Handler and Eric Gable, The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg, Durham: Duke University Press (1997), entire book.
- Bertolt Brecht, “Questions From A Worker Who Reads” http://unionsong.com/u122.html