Review: Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

I reviewed the book, Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property from Zone Books/MIT Press (2010). It appears here in the Teachers College Record. The review is below:

Access to Knowledge in the Age on Intellectual Property is a collection of over 30 essays by an international body of scholars, lawyers, and activists, detailing the “access to knowledge” movement, or “A2K” for short. A2K is an emerging movement most succinctly described as a reaction to the global expansion of intellectual property law. Adherents to the movement detail the deleterious effects such expansion has had individual ability to access information and build knowledge, especially in the developing world. Such expansion is not only a problem for education, but also for human health. Because many medications are protected by intellectual property law, such as those for treating HIV/AIDS, access to those medicines has become prohibitively expensive for much of the developing world. It is not the cost of manufacturing the drug, but rather the idea of the drug (owned largely by western pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Bristol-Meyer Squibb, among others) where most of the cost lies.

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Constructionist Learning in Digital Archives Education

I’d like to share a new paper I wrote:

Cocciolo, A. (accepted). Constructionist Learning in Digital Archives Education: Student Perceptions of Effectiveness. Proceedings of 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, Oct. 22-27, 2010, Pittsburgh, PA.

Dalton Digital Archive Print ScreenThis paper explores if a constructionist learning approach to digital archives education can positively influence student perceptions of their learning. Constructionism is a learning theory that places students in the role of designers and emphasizes creating physical artifacts in a social environment (Papert, 1980, 1991; Kafai, 2006). This theory is used in the instructional design of the Digital Archives Creation Project (DACP), which is a major component of a new digital archives course offered to a class of students enrolled in a MSLIS program. Results indicate that students perceived strong increases in their learning because of their engagement in the DACP, particularly in terms of their skills, confidence, understanding of topics covered in other courses, and overall understanding. Factors that influenced these increases include the collaborative teamwork, the role of the facilitator or instructor, and individual effort. Results indicate that a constructionist pedagogical approach holds great promise for LIS education, yet further research is required.

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Course on Social Media

I am excited (and a tiny bit daunted) to be offering the class “Social Media” next semester at Pratt SILS. A description is below:

Social Media (LIS-697-09)
Wednesday, 3:30-5:50 PM

The rise of the networked information environment, currently highlighted by such descriptors as Social Media and Web 2.0, and popularized by such web properties as Facebook and Twitter, will continue to profoundly influence the ways in which humans share information. Such technologies support the use, production, and circulation of knowledge in a peer-to-peer networked arrangement. This arrangement shares some aspects with other forms of communications but is most remarkable in its discontinuity from these earlier forms (for example, the hierarchical communication structure widely used in our lifetimes). This new structural arrangement, which will undoubtedly persist alongside other arrangements, has implications for information organizations and professionals, and goes far beyond, “should my library be Twittering?” Rather, the question this course will be guided by is: how might information organizations and professionals leverage the networked information environment to advance longstanding professional values, such as a commitment to democracy, community building, and individual efficacy and fulfillment. In effort to advance these values, students will engage in a collaborative design project that attempts to take advantage of this new arrangement.

Tentative course topics include: history and theories of communication, computer networks and infrastructure, social design affordances, identity and presentation of self, social networks, participatory culture, network analysis and measures, immersion, ubiquitous computing, Library 2.0 and survey of current uses of social media in libraries.

Field trips and/or guest speakers who work within the Social Media landscape will be included throughout the course.

Fall 2009 Classes

I am teaching two classes this Fall at Pratt: Digital Libraries (LIS 693) and Library Use and Instruction (LIS 673). Here are the details on each:

Digital Libraries [ Download Syllabus ]
This course will cover the theoretical, practical and technical aspects involved in creating, using, and deploying digital libraries. Students will study the evolution of digital libraries, consider the relationship between digital libraries and their socio-technical environment, and collaboratively design a digital library or a new program or service related to digital libraries. Students will be asked to think creatively and critically about the future of digital libraries and where to best direct future development effort.

Library Use Instruction [ Download Syllabus ]
Education in libraries has focused extensively on: 1) bibliographic instruction (e.g., teaching patrons how to use the library resources), as well as 2) information literacy (e.g., teaching skills needed to evaluate and use information). This course will consider teaching and learning in these areas, but also ask student to think creatively and critically about new areas where teaching and learning could be applied. Essential questions include: 1) how can we make libraries more educational?, and 2) what methods are best used to achieve this goal? Student will engage in a design project that will ask students to collaboratively design a “filter” to help individuals and communities deal with the feelings of “information overload,” and then teach the class how to use this filter.