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Posts from the ‘Data’ Category

Clifford Lynch at UCLA: Stewardship in the Age of Algorithms

Clifford Lynch talk poster

2–4 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Presentation Room, Charles E. Young Research Library
Free admission; no reservations required

The term “algorithms” is increasingly used as shorthand to describe complex, large-scale socio-technical systems such as social media platforms, analytic systems, recommendation engines, and personalization that depend on frequently opaque and constantly changing computational algorithms. With the explosion in analytic and tracking technologies and a flourishing market incapturing and re-selling this information, the full scope of the inputs used by algorithmic methods is also often unclear. Effort has gone into understanding the behaviors and potential biases embodied in such systems, but much less well explored is how to document their constantly changing behaviors at a given point in time.

Clifford Lynch will explore the nature of the problem and offer very preliminary thoughts on pathways to address the increasingly urgent need to document and preserve these often-critical social and societal artifacts.

Clifford Lynch has led the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) since 1997. CNI, jointly sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE, includes about 200 member organizations concerned with the intelligent uses of information technology and networked information to enhance scholarship and intellectual life. CNI’s wide-ranging agenda includes work in digital preservation, data intensive scholarship, teaching, learning and technology, and infrastructure and standards development.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Library and the Department of Information Studies

UCLA Data Governance Task Force: final report and recommendations

UCLA Data Governance Task Force reportI am thrilled to announce that the Data Governance Task Force’s work has completed and its final report and recommendations are now available. We’d like to contribute some ideas for addressing questions about appropriate use of data shared by many of our higher ed colleagues. We’re also interested in thoughts about the report.

NB. Availability of this report doesn’t imply campus vetting or endorsement. Those discussions are just beginning.

DataLex: Privacy, Big Data & the Law

DataLex2015-brochureUC Santa Cruz is holding a day-long event on Tuesday, October 13 at the intersection of big data, privacy, and the law. A diverse and renowned group of speakers and a format designed to engage the audience is going to make for a fascinating and fun day… (Full disclosure: I’m moderating one of the panels.) Register now!! If you can’t make it in person, the event will be webcast live as well. Tweets to #datalex2015.

An invitation to meet the authors of graphic novella “Terms of Service”

Terms of Service graphic novellaThe graphic novella Terms of Service: Understanding Our Role in the World of Big Data examines the role of technology and the implications of sharing our personal information online.

I am pleased to join the UCLA Library in presenting authors Michael Keller, a multimedia reporter at Al Jazeera America, and Josh Neufeld, a nonfiction cartoonist, at two events being held at UCLA on May 19.

Admission is free, but space is limited, and reservations are requested (RSVP for each session below separately). Attendees will receive a print copy of Terms of Service and the authors will be available for signing.

Hope to see you on the 19th!


10–11:30am | Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Charles E. Young Research Library | Library Conference Center

In Terms of Service, authors Keller and Neufeld take readers on a practical journey toward understanding digital-age privacy in everyday life. Come hear excerpts from the work, gain insight into into privacy concerns, and learn about the authors’ collaborative creative process. An audience discussion will follow the talk.

Please RSVP to attend the morning session.


2–3:30pm | Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Charles E. Young Research Library | Library Conference Center

A picture’s worth a thousand words, as authors Keller and Neufeld show with their graphic novel Terms of Service. What might this mean on a university campus? Plenty, ranging from research publications to citizen journalism.

Keller and Neufeld will explain their creative process and how they used this visual form to illuminate an extremely complex issue, suggesting new formats for published research. Keller will also suggest how today’s citizen journalists, armed with smartphones and social media accounts, can embrace possibilities and avoid pitfalls.

Please RSVP to attend the afternoon session.

Invitation to the book signing for Big Data, Little Data, No Data

Christine Borgman book signing flyer - thumbnailChristine Borgman’s brand-new book, Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World is for anyone who bandies about the words “big data”. Read this interview and come to the book signing 4-6pm February 25 (flyer)!


Of course we can … but should we?

Big Data: it’s big, messy, and fast-paced: and demand is endless for more data capture, more intertwingling of sources, more slicing, dicing, massaging, and filtering to reveal insights. These demands can result in uses perceived as mostly helpful (The year open data went worldwide) or mostly icky (How Companies Learn Your Secrets). Demand for new uses span UCLA – from accreditation to governmental review to instructional enhancement – making it crucial to assure the campus is acting with credibility and trust with respect to data about its faculty, students, and staff, regardless of domain.

A consistent set of expectations aligned with our culture, values, and expectations – transparency, shared governance, openness, academic freedom, public service, diversity, and accessibility to name a mouthful – form a basis for thinking about ethical and appropriate use. This is especially important when partnering with an external third party entity, as we increasingly do, to enclose “our” data in a bubblewrap of these expectations so that we don’t lose a voice in its use. We know how to write contracts about obligations, whether security or breach response or ownership of intellectual property; but extending values to the wider world is another matter.

Recommendations for a campus structure for big data governance and principles by which to consider proposed uses is the charge of the joint Academic Senate – Administration UCLA Data Governance Task Force (pretend there is a “big” right before “data”). Check back in March 2015 for emerging results.

PS. A very cool idea by Deborah Estrin for turning a “harm” into a “good”: What happens when each patient becomes their own “universe” of unique medical data?