Monday, November 16, 2009

Google Policy Fellowship 2010

Don't forget about Google's Policy Fellowship 2010...Yet another wonderful program to learn from some pretty heady groups involved with information policy.

Oxford Internet Institute Summer Doctoral Programme

Just wanted to get out the Oxford Internet Institute has announce the application process for the 2010 Doctoral Programme. Great opportunity to learn from a wonderful group of people.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies

The School of Information Studies (SOIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) is accepting applications for fall of 2010 for its PhD program in Information Studies.

Building on one of the largest and most varied MLIS programs in the United States, the PhD program prepares researchers, educators, and administrators with specializations in three major areas (with other areas also supported):

• Information Organization
• Information Policy
• Information Retrieval

The School’s international faculty are recognized for their research productivity, ranking in the top five nationally in per capita publications in a recent study among American schools of library and information science (Adkins & Budd, 2007). The School also has established agreements and collaborations with a number of institutions around the world that offer students international learning and research experiences. SOIS is home to the Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR), which facilitates information policy research through its lecture series and research paper series, outreach activities, and Information Ethics Fellows program. The School also supports an Information Organization Research Group (IOrg), Research Group for Information Retrieval (RGIR), as well as an Information Intelligence & Architecture Research Lab, which serves as a hub for research on information analysis, system design & evaluation, digital libraries, data mining, and usability.

Located in a residential neighborhood near Lake Michigan, UWM serves a diverse community of over 30,000 students, faculty and staff. The very livable city of Milwaukee offers the cultural amenities of a large metropolitan area with the conveniences of a smaller city.

Financial aid is available in the form of competitive graduate assistantships (full-time students), tuition scholarships, and adjunct teaching opportunities. Priority consideration for admission will be given to applications received by January 15, 2010.

Detailed information about the program is available on the SOIS website ( For additional information, please contact Dietmar Wolfram (

Thanks for the write-up Michael Zimmer

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Open Access Week 2009

This week UW-Milwaukee held an Open Access (OA) conference. Among the many topics of discussion was how to move faculty to publishing in OA journals. The ideas ranged from monetary bonuses to publishing in OA journals to mandating publication in OA journals.

The biggest hurdle to OA publication in my view, and others at this conference, is the culture of academia to underestimate the impact of OA journals. 'Impact' was purposefully chosen since as a future tenure seeking professor, publishing in higher impact journals is undoubtedly an important factor in the tenure attainment. It is all well and good for more established academics to champion OA publications, but those individuals already have jobs/tenure/reputation. For those of us that are new to academia, the prospect of publishing in OA journals is, at present, a choice between sharing our research in an effort to be socially responsible or putting our research in the traditional journals, non-OA, to gain reputation, hopefully a job, and eventually tenure.

Though research is still ongoing into the impact of OA journals, I don't think anyone can say that the impact of OA journals is comparable to traditional journals. Combine this uncertainty with the non-universal appreciation of OA publishing, new faculty members are apprehensive about OA publishing. At least in my view.

Friday, September 11, 2009

DMCA Takedown notice research

Lately I have been able to do some of my preliminary work on DMCA take-down notices on higher learning campuses. As part of the initial work I have chosen to conduct a pilot study on University of Wisconsin system schools,which include two year and four year institutions listed here, and the Wisconsin Technical College System, whose institutions are listed here.

To my surprise, which hopefully I can explore in more depth when the pilot study is concluded, I discovered that few of the technical colleges have designated agents. In addition, there is one designated agent for all the UW System two year institutions and that same person also has domain over several of the UW System four year institutions. Since this pilot is limited to Wisconsin, my curiosity has been peaked and I wonder if this is similar in other states. Only time, and hopefully the support of a grant, will allow me to explore this in further detail and across a larger population. Until then, it looks like this pilot study will be very useful to test out the methodology that I have devised, see what data pertaining to DMCA take-down notices institutions capture, and how the various University of Wisconsin system institutions and Wisconsin Technical Colleges handle take-down notices.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is in a name?

How does government define the term 'broadband'? For years the term was defined solely quantitatively. Now that the FCC has asked for comments on defining and creating metrics to measure broadband, there are some proposals to include more than mere quantitative criteria such as:

Network neutral operation (no blocking legal material, no throttling of connections...)
Ability to watch streaming video, HD video, without noticeable lag
Ability to play games with low latency

There are numerous suggestions, which can be seen here. Defining the term broadband is important, and there is consensus on this point. However the number of stakeholders with a vested interest in defining broadband may not be able to reach an agreeable definition.

The process that the FCC has started does at least allow for input into the decision making process from any interested parties. For years many broadband access advocates decried the early definition of broadband as out of date and unrepresentative of the real world.

For my own part, I do wish broadband access was available for everyone, but realize many factors influence download and upload speeds that users experience during Internet usage. Yet it is my opinion that we should keep it simple and reach consensus on the following core points to define broadband.

1) Download and upload speeds as realized between the user and the ISP local office/node should be measured by the FCC. ISPs advertise certain speeds, but often cannot in reality deliver those speeds outside of the local area. Admittedly I am unaware of exactly what speeds are needed for popular activities such as watching streaming video and VOIP. I would suggest that the speed requirements for both functions be a basis to define broadband.

2)Data that can be legally accessed, to include websites and P2P networks, will not be blocked by ISPs.

3) Network management is acceptable. An ISP will manage its network as it deems prudent to maintain overall performance to end users and maintain compliance with points 1 and 2.

My recommendations are quite simple and will surely strike a wrong chord with some, but it is an attempt to bring the different stakeholders together on, what I feel, are three core issues that have emerged in the discussion to define broadband.