Events galore this week

by Eszter Hargittai on May 12, 2008

People have rightly suggested that I post about events before they happen, instead of after, so those interested and able can attend. This is one of those weeks when those curious about the social aspects of IT have some wonderful options.

On Wednesday will be the start of the Berkman@10 celebrations at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Yes, Berkman has been around for a decade and they’ve really made their mark on the field (or several fields is more precise). Folks from all over will be coming together in Cambridge, Massachusetts to celebrate a decade of exciting and important work with a look at some of the most pressing questions and challenges ahead (see the schedule for details). The event will culminate in the Berkman 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation.

Unfortunately, I’ll miss a part of the Berkman celebrations, but with good reason. On Thursday evening, I will be moderating an exciting event here at Northwestern. We’re fortunate to host Cass Sunstein and Siva Vaidhyanathan for a symposium on “Social Networks and the Good Society”.* It’s free and open to the public so feel free to come by.

But wait, there is more! This Wednesday and Thursday, Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy will be hosting a workshop on The Future of News, also open to the public.

I may be missing others, but these three events are enough to get your head spinning. I’m excited to be taking part in two of them. I recall seeing one more conflict for the week, but I can’t find info. If you know of other related events, feel free to add.

[*] At which point can people be assumed to be sufficiently well-known that they do not require a link upon mention? I’d think this may be such an instance, but I decided to include pointers to more info just in case.

{ 13 comments }

1

Jacob Christensen 05.12.08 at 1:28 pm

At which point can people be assumed to be sufficiently well-known that they do not require a link upon mention? I’d think this may be such an instance, but I decided to include pointers to more info just in case.

To be honest, I wondered about Siva Vaidhyanathan popping up in the “People you might know”-box on my facebook-page at some point (I suspect a link through Chris Bertram or Scott McLemee)

On a more serious note, I’d say that you can never put too many links in a presentation (well, okay: You probably can…) – it’ll save occasional readers a couple of googlings.

2

Eszter 05.12.08 at 1:39 pm

If you’re using Firefox and have the Conquery extension installed then it’s just a highlight/right-click away for a search. I think the value is more in pointing people to a specific link that you might find particularly helpful as background instead of leaving it to them to figure out what’s most relevant. Of course, people may prefer to figure it out for themselves, but that remains an option, I guess.

3

Jacob Christensen 05.12.08 at 4:48 pm

Re ConQuery: Great tip – didin’t know that extension. Thanks!

4

Seth Finkelstein 05.12.08 at 8:11 pm

Isn’t most of the Berkman event only for registered fee-paying attendees, and registration is now closed?

5

eszter 05.12.08 at 10:42 pm

Seth, I thought tickets to the Gala were still available. I’m sorry if I was wrong. I didn’t say above that the Berkman events were free. Moreover, a lot of information about it is online – there will be online components – so it may still be of interest to folks even if they can’t attend per se.

6

Seth Finkelstein 05.12.08 at 10:50 pm

No problem, but it’s not a matter of being free, just it’s my understanding that there’s no more ability to attend (in person).

cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/4295

“Registration for our Gala and Award Ceremony closes Friday (5/9) at noon”

cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/berkmanat10/gala
“Registration for the Gala is now closed”

7

vivian 05.13.08 at 1:10 am

I vote for “when in doubt, link” and especially “when in snark, link” It wouldn’t occur to your readers that you were underestimating them, just those other readers.

8

HH 05.13.08 at 3:24 am

Berkman could have become the nucleus of a very powerful Internet Studies community, but the founding error was shackling it to a law school. It is fundamentally absurd to study an overarching global transformation from a parochial perspective.

Even a moment’s thought leads one to conclude that Internet-mediated university organization must evolve into global faculties organized by discipline rather than geography. But the tin lizzies of geographically structured universities clatter along, with highly credentialled people studying serious change that leaves academia untouched.

9

Donald Johnson 05.13.08 at 4:05 am

“People have rightly suggested that I post about events before they happen, “

Most people find it is very hard to predict, especially the future.

10

Eszter 05.13.08 at 1:14 pm

HH – Berkman IS a powerhouse when it comes to Internet-related research. Many people don’t even realize it is attached to a law school precisely because the work that they do is so diverse.

Seth – I’m sorry, I guess posting five days in advance is still not enough. I wasn’t following registration info closely. You’re right that I should’ve posted about this earlier. I’m working on getting better at this.:)

11

HH 05.13.08 at 5:12 pm

eszter

There is a fundamental problem of self-examination in the university community regarding the Internet. The Internet, even modestly exrapolated, renders geographically organized higher learning obsolete. What is the response of the existing universities to this unavoidable future? They pretend it doesn’t exist.

Libraries will increasingly be virtual. Scholarly teams will increasingly be global. So how do geographically organized Universities reorganize themselves to participate in global faculties organized by discipline? It is a classic uncomfortable paradigm transformation, and that is why researchers are staying away from the issue in droves.

12

Seth Finkelstein 05.13.08 at 10:00 pm

HH: People have been saying distance learning renders the university obsolete for decades. But if that were true, it would have been the case as soon as printing was invented. The error is assuming the textbooks/content are the one, only, and sole factor which matters. However, everything from credentialing to social networks to personal contact are important. There’s a reason for what’s called the “Gentleman’s C” (meaning, you don’t go to college to do academics, you go to college for political connections and bonding in your social group).

Far better criticisms can be made of Berkman for e.g. their giving digital-sharecropping businesses the academic respectability of being some sort of public service. As I put it:

Popularity data-mining businesses are not a model for civil society.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/oct/25/comment.intellectualproperty

13

HH 05.14.08 at 12:52 am

People have been saying distance learning renders the university obsolete for decades. But if that were true, it would have been the case as soon as printing was invented. The error is assuming the textbooks/content are the one, only, and sole factor which matters.

When gasoline and jet fuel prices double, triple, and quadruple, there will be an astonishing rediscovery of “distance learning,” I assure you, and at that point the logic of global faculties will become very persuasive.

Your point on the buck-chasing being an inappropriate driver for emergent social networking is well taken, but the hucksters tend to dominate press coverage of what are “hot” trends. The Internet phenomenon invalidates so many aspects of traditional economics that a wholesale reappraisal of applicable social philosophy is required. Academia is cautiously tip-toeing toward that endeavor (provided conferences are held in suitably attractive places).

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