Friday, December 29, 2006

Map of the Internet (2006)

Visualization and spatial reasoning have been important parts of SIS research for many years. Thus, this Map of the Internet might strike your interest. What this map represents is not physical geography but the "geography" of IPv4 addresses. Do you find this a useful way of representing addresses?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peering into the future

This is traditionally a time of year to review and reflect on the year that past. If you get tired of these reflections, you might want to reflect on what is coming. To stimulate this, you might want to review the links at this site from the Horizon Scanning Centre of the UK's Office of Science and Innovation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Your new IT budget is $10

You might enjoy this post from Nicholas Carr's blog. Quoting a selection from this item:
It's pretty amazing to think about what a company can now get for $10 a year:

A complete, web-based IT infrastructure for its business

A custom corporate portal/intranet for its employees

Corporate e-mail service

Corporate instant messaging

Calendar software and services

Web-site design software

Web-site hosting

And, by incorporating some other free Google services, the company also gets:

Word-processing software

Spreadsheet software

Web-site analytics

All the necessary storage, data backups, security, maintenance, and related services are included in the $10 price.

Other than some cheap PCs, a printer, and maybe a bookkeeping application, that pretty much covers all the information technology that most companies on earth require to run their businesses. (And I'll bet the bookkeeping app will arrive soon, perhaps through a partnership with Intuit.) So, if you're a small business or a school or a nonprofit, that's your new annual IT budget: ten bucks. Why spend more?

WiFi at MIT

This link was recommended by Maria Harrington:

When we first spotted MIT's location-tracking WiFi network last year, the stalking capabilities were interesting, but not fully realized. Now with this new iFIND app of theirs, WiFi positioning takes on a whole new level of geeky functionality at the Boston campus. At its core, iFIND is a peer-to-peer application that allows users to control the flow of their own location information, eliminating the privacy concerns of a centralized tracking system. Built on top of that functionality are all sorts of interesting buddy list capabilities to track and chat with friends, and choose who can track you. You can also set up meeting places with friends, even using the system to pick a spot at the "center of gravity" of a group of friends for the ultimate in geek cred. Anyone with an MIT email address can use the system, and future functionality includes the ability to share data anonymously with users found with the system, or to alert the police to your position in an emergency without divulging your identity -- all for the truly paranoid, but fun stuff all the same.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Most dangerous roads in the world

This has nothing to do with SIS (except when SIS faculty travel :-). Please see this link.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pioneering course on web 2.0 and online communities

This is from IBM developerworks: "Rawn Shah manages Community Programs for developerWorks and talks about the growing interest in online communities and a ground-breaking course he helped to launch and is co-teaching at the University of Arizona." Please see this link. Here is a link to the course information. This is an example of a course that would create excitement in the BSIS program...

From the issue dated December 15, 2006

Even With Improved Screens, e-Book Devices Not Ready for College
Campus librarians say new gadgets show promise but have a long way to go


A new generation of e-book devices recently hit the market, hoping to do for electronic books what the iPod has done for digital music — offer an easy-to-use, portable machine that can store vast libraries of material and make it accessible anytime and anywhere.

The screen is the big innovation in the new e-book devices, the most prominent example of which is the Sony Reader. (Another example is the iLiad, by iRex.) The displays rival ink-on-paper in their clarity and readability, thanks to an innovative technology called E Ink that was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Laboratory. Unlike a typical computer-screen display, E Ink does not light up or use illuminated pixels on a grid. Instead, the devices apply a complicated series of electric charges to millions of microcapsules that each turn either black or white, to spell out the proper letters, each time they draw a new page. The result is black text on a gray background, with about the same resolution as your daily newspaper — nearly 700 dots per inch.

"I am a 49-year-old woman who cannot read stuff on the dang computer screen," says Diane J. Graves, university librarian at Trinity University, in San Antonio. She recently bought a Sony Reader and raves about its display. "The ability to read that screen was — pardon the pun — like night and day compared to even a flat-screen monitor," she says. "That's the big breakthrough."

But will the new type of screen help the devices succeed where previous gadgets have failed? If you don't remember the Rocket eBook, the SoftBook, and other attempts at creating a machine that would make printed books obsolete, you're not alone. Hardly anyone bought them when they hit the shelves about five years ago. And while plenty of people have predicted over the years that laptops or tablet PC's would kill print, students still carry around textbooks.

When it comes to delivering long streams of text, the printed book is tough to beat.

Several college librarians who have used the Sony Reader told The Chronicle that the device is interesting but not ready for college-level work. And even Sony officials admit their new device is not ideal for the campus environment, since it cannot search texts or highlight passages a student might want to review right before a test. In fact, the machine has no input device, though users can press a "mark" button to electronically dog-ear a page of text for later reference.

"The Reader was designed for more the type of reader who just reads a book on vacation and less as an academic tool," says David Seperson, a product manager at Sony who works on the Reader device. It will take more research to develop a device suitable for college work, he adds. "We are looking into what's the best way to approach the higher-education market."

But the new screen technology does show promise, several college officials say, and it points to a future in which computers will be far easier on the eyes. And with huge digitization projects under way, such as Google's effort to scan millions of books from university libraries, more people may soon want to curl up with e-books in their favorite reading chairs.

$350 Price Tag

The Sony Reader could be called a book simulator. It looks like a book, measuring about 7 inches tall, about 5 inches wide, and half an inch thick. It weighs about nine ounces, as much as a thin hardback novel. And it has a leather cover flap that opens just like a book cover.

The retail price is about $350, which for now includes $50 in e-books from the Sony Connect store. Each book costs between $3 and $16, and the store boasts more than 10,000 titles, though academics are quick to point out that most are best sellers and not the kind of works that are on most college reading lists.

It is possible to load content onto the device from sources besides Sony's store, as long as the texts are in the popular portable document format (PDF), in plain text format, or in rich text format, which can be created using Microsoft Word. Some PDF's do not seem to work on the device, however. For instance, the Reader failed to display a couple of books downloaded from Google Book Search, which has a feature allowing some public-domain texts to be saved to a computer in PDF form.

The main benefit of the device is that it can pack the texts of more than 80 books into the space of one slim volume. "Students carry around a lot of heavy books, and they don't like that," says Saul Levmore, dean and professor at the University of Chicago's Law School, who recently went to a Sony store to check out the device firsthand.

He says he was impressed by the screen, but thinks that the device probably won't catch on until models that offer more features are released. "I think it's the thing of the future," he says.

Charlotte Johnson, director of user services at the Lovejoy Library at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, bought a Sony Reader in October and says she has read 20 to 30 books on it.

She says she originally thought that her library might buy a few of the devices and lend them to students as a pilot project. But she has nixed that idea.

"I would say it's probably not ready for prime time," she says, noting that the library might instead buy iPods or other devices to lend out so that students could listen to podcasts of lectures. "For that same amount of money, I think what our students would rather have is some kind of media player" that could play music and videos.

Ms. Johnson does praise the Reader's battery, which she hasn't had to recharge yet, despite frequent use. That is a big improvement over previous devices, she says, noting that she has owned "most every other e-book reading device" made in the past as well.

James G. Milles, associate dean for legal-information services at the State University of New York at Buffalo's law library, says he too bought a Sony Reader to test it out, and judged it overall "quite nice."

"The biggest problem I see with it right now is the limited selection for it in their bookstore," he says. He had hoped to load it up with a set of books for a professor studying terrorism and the war in Iraq, he says, but none of the books the professor wanted were available, even though the books were popular titles rather than academic ones.

Publishers Resist

Mr. Seperson, of Sony, says that its e-book store will grow, but that some publishers and authors are still wary. Some in the publishing world fear that they might lose control of books the way musicians and record companies lost control of recordings in the file-sharing era.

"I hate to pass the buck, but it's not our fault," Mr. Seperson says, noting that in some cases the company is asking publishers for digital copies but the publishers are refusing. Even some popular authors, like J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, refuse to allow their works to be distributed in electronic form, he says.

"There is definite interest in the textbook market," though, Mr. Seperson says. "The publishers there are very interested."

Some academic publishers say that they hope future versions of the e-book devices support more of the functions that make digital publishing so exciting — like hyperlinks and multimedia.

"If the piece of electronic equipment doesn't add any value to the reader's experience, then what's the incentive to use it?" asks Kate Wittenberg, director of EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia. "The interesting question is what is the value added."

But even if someone produced the perfect e-book machine, she says, she is not sure that scholarly publishers are ready to put significant amounts of content on it.

"It's hard to say which has to come first — is the scholarly community waiting for a perfect piece of technology in order to move forward, or are the technology people waiting for the publishers to come forward with an extraordinary level and amount of content first?" she says.

Mr. Seperson says the company is interested in working with colleges on potential pilot projects involving the Sony Reader, but that no such projects are yet under way.

"The current device would work well for English students needing to pore through a stack of novels," he says.

"There's tons of public-domain and classical literature available both on our store and on that students can read," he adds, referring to the Web site of Project Gutenberg, a nonprofit effort that has long converted public-domain books to digital form.

Some observers, however, say that the Sony Reader's relatively small screen size and its lack of color capability are major limitations in many fields — such as science and medicine — where illustrations are important.

The device allows most texts to be displayed in three sizes, which can be especially helpful to students or professors with dyslexia or bad eyesight. But the feature makes it difficult for a scholar to cite a specific page of the text, since the number of pages in any given book changes depending on which size text is selected.

Questionable Premise

Others ask why on earth colleges would switch to electronic readers, when printed books have served academics so well for so long.

"Print books work really well," says Ben Vershbow, a researcher at the Institute for the Future of the Book. "They're a really good technology. They're not broken."

He says he has heard many companies talk about creating an iPodlike device for e-books, but he says a music player is not analogous to an e-book reader.

"The iPod was fixing a very real problem — portable music didn't work that well," Mr. Vershbow says, noting that it was a pain to carry around collections of CD's. "The iPod solved the problem. It's not so clear that the e-book reader really solves a problem."

Although some people do need to carry around large numbers of books at once, many others are happy to read one novel at a time. "I can't imagine how this will succeed," he says of the Sony Reader.

That said, the new screen technology will very likely be improved and used in other types of devices. "E Ink will continue to develop," he says, "and it will get better and it will do great things a little further down the road."
Section: Information Technology
Volume 53, Issue 17, Page A33

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Graphic Violence

Graphic Violence
Good and bad signage on the information superhighway.
Reviewed by Alan Jacobs | posted 12/11/06
From Books and Culture

Beautiful Evidence
By Edward Tufte
Graphics Press
213 pp.; $52

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic AdaptationBy Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
Hill & Wang
144 pp.; $16.95, paper

In 1968 Edward Tufte received a Ph.D. from Yale University, having written a dissertation on the American civil rights movement. During the eccentric course of his academic career he taught political economy and statistics, among other things, but would become increasingly interested in activities quite distant from his formal academic training: large-scale sculpture, for instance; graphic design; typography and book-making. Eventually he founded his own publishing house, Graphics Press, and the titles of the four books he has published under that imprint suggest the chief concerns of the latter part of his career: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information; Envisioning Information; Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative; and, published earlier this year, Beautiful Evidence. Each of these books evidences a profound respect for the power of well-chosen designs—charts, graphs, outlines, and so on—to convey information quickly and powerfully.

But Tufte also reminds us that designs are often ill-chosen and poorly implemented. In this regard he may be best known for his relentless critique of PowerPoint, which, he believes, may have a place but certainly a less pervasive place than it now occupies. Indeed, in Beautiful Evidence Tufte compellingly argues that the inappropriate use of PowerPoint by some NASA engineers to present research about possible loss of foam insulation panels on the space shuttle Columbia led, quite directly, to the destruction of that vehicle and the loss of its crew. (That chapter of Beautiful Evidence is available on Tufte's website.) But he also shows some of the ways in which overuse of presentation software does less dramatic but nonetheless serious damage to people's ability to grasp information in many everyday contexts, in the business and academic worlds alike.

Reading Tufte on these matters can be a life-changing experience for people, like me, who deal in information every day—who are, as the current argot has it, "information workers." After spending some time in Tufte's company you become less inclined simply to accept the usual ways in which quantitative information, or non-quantitative information for that matter, is displayed. You start to ask yourself whether there are more creative ways than you had previously perceived to outline an idea for a book, or summarize historical developments for a college class you teach, or make handouts even for Sunday School or church vestry reports. You learn to try out various ways to organize information—historically, thematically, geographically—and in the process you force yourself to reconsider the way you habitually organize data in your own head.

But you also become a more critical reader, or viewer, of other people's visual designs. I became aware of just how much I have become Tufteized when, recently, I was reading The 9/11 Report: a Graphic Adaptation, by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón. (Some sample images from the book may be found here and here.) The book comes with an extravagant back-cover blurb from Stan Lee—"It will surely set the standard for all future works of contemporary history, graphic or otherwise"—but as the co-creator of Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, Mr. Lee could be thought rather biased towards the idea that a graphic version of the story is superior to a text-only version.

In fact, the first thing that should be said about The 9/11 Report: a Graphic Adaptation is that it is not an adaptation so much as an extreme abridgment. The two pages, 88 and 89, that I linked to above are based on more then a dozen pages of detailed narrative in Chapter 9, "Heroism and Horror," of the original report (which may be found in its entirety here.) One might argue that an image like that of the final panel on page 89—which depicts two people in the South Tower of the world Trade Center looking out their window at the burning wreckage of the North Tower, not knowing that their building is about to be hit—captures some of the human drama of the situation. Indeed it does. However, one could also argue that its need for verbal and even visual brevity prevents it from communicating some of that drama. It is only from the original report that one learns, for instance, that some people who had evacuated the South Tower immediately after the North one was hit decided to re-enter the building and return to their offices, where they were killed just minutes later when their building was hit or when, a short time afterwards, it collapsed.

Moreover, even when the "adaptation" is dealing with matters that should be amenable to being pictures, it makes relatively poor use of the powers of graphic display. A timeline showing the progress of the four hijacked planes—the two that hit the World Trade towers, the one that crashed into the Pentagon, and the one that passengers forced down in rural Pennsylvania—extends over several pages of largely blank space. Had this been compressed onto two facing pages we readers could have taken in at once the progress of each flight in relation to all the others. The statement that Osama bin Laden's "network extended to the United States" illustrates that claim with the mapped outlines of the state of New York, Boston, Tucson, Atlanta, Brooklyn—isn't Brooklyn in the state of New York?—and Chicago. These figures, which offer very little information, occupy an entire page. This makes them, in Tufte's terms, extremely "low resolution" graphics: a lot of drawing for very little informational payoff.

What seems to be at work here is a determination to avoid too much text, which in some cases can be commendable, since many people who need to know about the events of 9/11 are intimidated by books as big and dense as the original report. But it would have been nice to see the creators of the "graphic adaptation" think more imaginatively and creatively about how to employ the unique resources of visual imagery to compensate for the relative paucity of words. The person who reads this "graphic adaptation" will get the general outlines of the narrative of events leading up to and following 9/11—along with a few visually striking scenes of blood and gore, which is almost de rigeur for graphic narratives today—but will only get scraps of the serious analysis and the detailed recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. This is better than nothing, I suppose, but not what it could have been. Or so I think—but then, as previously noted, I have been Tufteized. Beware lest it happen to you.

Alan Jacobs is professor of English at Wheaton College. He's at work on a history of original sin.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Technology Obsolescence and the Archival Mission

This is from my own blog, but a book I thought is interesting for many faculty. . . .

I remember a decade ago trying to persuade my 84 year-old mother-in-law that she needed to toss her toaster because it created a situation where the bread would burst into flame. Since she lived in my house, I was particularly concerned about resolving the issue. When I told her we would simply replace it with a new and better one, for a very little bit of money, she struggled with the idea. Could we not take it to the repair shop and fix it? And I then proceeded to explain how not only was it probable that it could not be fixed, but that it might cost more money than simply acquiring a new toaster.

Most of us have experienced such conversations and, as Giles Slade in his new book, Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), ISBN 0-674-02203, suggests, this is merely a common event for those of us living in the United States. As Slade writes, “Deliberate obsolescence in all its forms – technological, psychological, or planned – is a uniquely American invention” (p. 3).

Slade examines the origins of the acceptance of technological obsolescence, considering automobiles, weapons, computers, cell phones, transistor radios, razors, watches, clothing, manufacturing shifts, and the notion of branding for marketing. Slade slowly builds the background for the current problem in e-waste plaguing our society. “Now more than ever,” he writes, “end-users of new technology need to pursue higher levels of technological literacy in order to negotiate the complex interactions among technology, society, and the environment. Ignorance of these interactions effectively grants a permission slip for technological hazards to persist” (p. 263). At one point, Slade describes 250,000 tons of discarded cell phones in our waste dumps, along with other computer waste, as being the “industrial challenge” of the 21st century.

Made to Break is another compelling book about the downside of technology in society, but it also provides some interesting insights in why the role of professionals involved in preservation (archivists, librarians, historic preservationists, museum curators, and others) often has a difficult job in trying to convince the public about why old stuff should be saved. If we are so accustomed to throwing everything out, even when much of it is still usable, it may be a greater challenge convincing those with the necessary resources to save an old building, preserve a historic site, and put historic archives into an acceptable repository.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


You might find this site interesting. There are some cool visualizations possible using the world’s data (I don’t vouch for the quality of the data, though). Put it in the category of time wasters?

Virtual worlds ...

One of the many recent developments in the Internet economy are the emergence of virtual worlds (like Second Life). In these worlds, people can "live", trade and interact with others.

There were a few articles of interest regarding this particular virtual world.

  • In this article, Nicholas Carr performs a computation that shows that an average Second Life avatar consumes as much electricity as an average Brazilian. Thus, it may not be as "green" a hobby as one might otherwise have expected.

  • These virtual worlds have been discovered by real world organizations. This article reports that PA Consulting has opened an "office" in Second Life:
    The consultancy is already looking into new business applications in virtual worlds such as Second Life, where like many other enterprises, it has a virtual branch - in this case, though, all of the negotiations around building the virtual HQ have been done through avatars in Second Life itself.

    Godfrey said: "It was done by someone paid in Linden dollars, whose real name we don't know and who looks like an enormous rabbit."

  • Then, there are the potential tax implications, as reported here:
    Game publishers may have to send forms to individuals who receive nonemployee income they trade for valuable items like Ultima Online castles, EverQuest weapons or Second Life currency, even when those players don't convert the assets into cash.

Virtual worlds may thus be more real than you think ... maybe we need to open a SIS branch on Second Life ... would these enrollments count?

Ethics and Publishing

December 7, 2006 Inside Higher Education

Promoting Ethics in Science
About 10 years ago, Sheldon Krimsky was giving a talk to a group of researchers about money’s influence on science. When he was done, he says, a dean hosting the talk jumped up and tried to downplay the discussion.

Krimsky, a professor of environmental policy at Tufts University and author of Science in the Private Interest, said that he recently discovered that this person has been receiving money from a major corporation for research that might help sell its product. “A dozen years ago, any discussion about conflicts of interest in science was seen as McCarthyism.”

Increasingly, journals are appearing in front page scandals that expose undisclosed industry support of research and scientists who have faked results. Blackwell Publishing, trying to prevent such problems, recently released a comprehensive guide on publication ethics to the editors of its 805 academic journals. These principles provide practical advice to inform policies on a broad range of topics such as conflicts of interest. While the guidelines will not be mandatory, experts seem pleased and expect the move will help to clean up academic publishing.

The guidelines state, for example, that readers have a right to know who supported the research or the publication of a paper. Further, Blackwell advises editors to publish financial disclosures for letters, editorials and commentaries. And the specific role of the funders should also be revealed, whether in gathering data, analyzing results, preparing the manuscript, or controlling publication decisions.

“This sets a high standard for publishing in the journal field,” said Merrill Goozner, director of the Integrity in Science project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. For the last couple years, the center has been running a campaign to get academic publishers to tighten their ethical policies, particularly in disclosing the financial sources of authors and their research.

Numerous peer-reviewed studies have reported a funding effect in science. For instance, an article released last summer in the America Journal of Psychiatry analyzed 10 industry funded trials that compared antipsychotic drugs. Nine of the 10 trials found that the best drug was the one manufactured by the company paying for the study. And a survey of literature also found a publishing bias in studies on the plastics chemical Bisphenol A, which is used to make products such as baby bottles. Fred vom Saal , professor of biology at the University of Missouri-Rolla discovered that 109 of the 120 papers published on Bisphenol A reported that minute levels of the chemical may be harmful. However, 11 corporate sponsored studies found no effect.

“The best practice guidelines issued by Blackwell sets a new standard for the big journal publishers,” said Krimsky. “Even though it is advisory, it may raise awareness and change some of the cultural attitudes against taking conflict of interest seriously.” In a 2001 study, Krimsky found that only 16 percent of the top 1400 science and biomedical journals required authors to report conflicts of interest.

Diane Scott Lichter, vice president and publisher for medical journals at Blackwell said that the company is interested making certain that people who purchase their journals know where the money came from for the study and who did the research. On occasion, journal editors have even discussed punishing researchers, such as banning authors from publishing for a specified period, after failing to disclose financial ties. Lichter said that Blackwell will not enforce punitive measures and will leave that up to the individual journal editors.

Mark Seeley, senior vice president and general counsel for Elsevier, said the best thing journals can do is investigate charges of misconduct and then make the results public. “From my personal perspective, the most serious thing you can do to punish someone in science who has broken ethics is to publish that,” he said. Elsevier is the largest publisher in science and medicine and ethical guidelines vary among its 1,800 publications. Seeley said that Elsevier released conflict of interest procedures last year, and is working now on a general guide for ethics. While it may seem that science is facing a rising tide of ethical misconduct, he said, the truth is quite different.

Krimsky, however, disagrees. He said that publishing companies must also address books funded by corporations to support and protect their products. “This is not going to slow down,” he said. “We are looking at the tip of the iceberg because universities have turned themselves into zones of entrepreneurship.”

— Paul D. Thacker

You can find the guidelines at

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

ITU Telecom World 2006 conference

This article in BuisnessWeek reports on this ITU conference being held now in Hong Kong. While you might find some of the details interesting, I think the big picture is what matters most to this School. That would be that excitement (and investment) around the telecom industry are up. It is in a very optimistic place these days, which, hopefully, bodes well for enrollments in our programs. Quoting from the article:

At the last ITU Telecom World confab held in Geneva back in 2003, the mood was decidedly grim. After all, the industry was still reeling from overcapacity problems, a deep profit recession, and massive layoffs from the bursting of a global telecom bubble in 2000. Only a year earlier, the U.S.'s No. 2 long-distance carrier, WorldCom, had gone bust under the weight of $40-billion plus in debt in the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and had been nailed for massive accounting fraud.

This time around, for the 2006 ITU global gathering that kicked off Dec. 2, the world's biggest telecom companies, handset purveyors, equipment makers, and government regulators have shifted the venue for the first time from Geneva to Hong Kong.

The Geneva-based ITU (or International Telecommunications Union) is the United Nations agency focused on information and communication technology issues. And the industry outlook is far brighter, what with the rise of China and India, big spikes in global mobile phone usage, and the recent rollout of wireless technologies and next-generation, high-speed networks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Security as School-wide opportunity

In a recent email, John Unsworth (UIUC i-school dean) brought up an interesting idea:

"I propose that the I-Schools begin a deliberate campaign to develop education and licensing for people who will, as a part of their employment, be entrusted with the management of personal information. Moreover, as we develop this education and licensing, I think we should also campaign (with corporate and government bodies) to develop and focus demand for people with this education and license, and to develop funding for research and teaching programs in this area."

He cites this as one interesting reflection on the state of affairs, and goes on to say:

"It seems to me that LIS is the profession that already has appropriate values and traditions in this area (protecting library patron privacy on the one hand, ensuring appropriate access to information on the other), and we are well positioned to deal with the reality of a world in which technical and human systems and factors interact to create the problem-space. Social engineering is the easiest hack, so CS-based programs that just look at how to harden systems are overlooking the weak link. And so on: you see how this unfolds.

"If we were to embark on claiming this territory, we could not do it as one school, or two or three--but 20 of us, nationally and internationally, could do it. We could also become the experts to which reporters turn every time one of these stories surfaces, and we could use this problem-space as an entree into the broader world of people/information/systems and what information schools have to offer there."

I think he is on to something here, and it reminded me of the conversation among the GIST faculty last Friday about their perceived asymmetry between IS and LIS.

IBM and services education

This article in the NY Times (free registration required) should be required reading for most SIS faculty. The article is a Q&A with Irving Wladawsky-Berger, IBM VP for technical strategy and innovation. In it, he discusses efforts by IBM to partner with universities for what seems to be very much in the traditional bailiwick of the IS programs.

International Telecommunications Union report

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is an organization that is familiar to people interested in telecommunications and technology standards. It is the oldest extant international organization and is today a branch of the United Nations. In 1997, the ITU began to pay attention to the Internet. This effort has had two components. One is the World Summit for the Information Society (I have blogged about this elsewhere); the other has been to issue a series of reports, the latest of which Digital.Life was released in the past few days.

As we consider topics of broad interest to the school, reports like this might be good fodder for discussion.

St. Isodore and the Internet

From the Chronicle's Wired Campus blog comes this story, in case you're interested in the intersection between religion and technology ...