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Colloquia 2013 - 2014

Faculty Contacts: Dr. Heather O'Brien and Dr. Aaron Loehrlein

The iSchool regularly invites guest speakers to participate in our Colloquia Series. These events are open to the public, and are of interest to faculty, current students, alumni and other professionals and researchers in the community.

Colloquia events are recorded and broadcast through generous funding from the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. You will find links to videos of past colloquia here.

Winter-Spring 2014 Colloquia

Wednesday, January 22, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
"Co-construction of Information Systems Designs and Social Values: An Ethnographic Study"

Richard Arias-Hernandez, Visiting Lecturer, University of British Columbia
Location: Dodson Room, Level 3, Room 302, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC
Refreshments Served

Abstract of the Talk: Scholarly work usually characterizes engineers as politically and socially conservative individuals; instruments of the expansion of capitalism and neoliberalism. It also portrays them as supporters of both the State and the big corporations that employ them. This talk reports on an ethnographic study that documented the work of a group of information technology (IT) engineers in Colombia who decided to create a space of exception to neoliberalism in the form of a Non-Governmental Engineering Organization (NGEO). These engineers found that running their own NGEO provided them with some degrees of freedom to pursue social justice goals in their IT work in ways not usually found in the corporate or neoliberal governmental worlds. However, these opportunities do not come without outstanding challenges, such as funding dependencies from a neoliberal government, which create contradictions that hinder the pursue of social justice goals in the construction of information technology. 

Biography of the Speaker: Richard Arias-Hernandez is a lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s iSchool. He obtained a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008. His research has centred around the study of the co-construction of information technology and society, especially those constructions that aim to advance social justice in capitalist societies.

Wednesday, February 5, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
"The Intent of a Classification: Evaluating Classifications Based on the Concept of "Warrant"
Barbara Kwasnik, Professor, Syracuse University
Location: Dodson Room, Level 3, Room 302, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC
Refreshments Served

Abstract of the Talk: Clare Beghtol uses the concept of "warrant" as a means for evaluating classification systems based on how well they fulfill their goals. For example, through the prism of cultural warrant it is possible to evaluate a classification system based on how well it represents the needs of a particular culture. Other warrants include literary warrant, educational or mission warrant, and scientific warrant. I'll review the traditional criteria for evaluating classifications and add to these criteria some considerations of warrant. The goal is to provide you with a multi-faceted approach to evaluating classification schemes in the context of their potential uses and users

Biography of the Speaker:  Barbara currently serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. She also teaches in the areas of organization of information, theory of classification, and information science. She is especially interested in how classifications intersect with everyday human endeavor -- for example, how they are translated from one culture or application to another. The purpose is to help support increasingly diverse contexts. Previous research (with Kevin Crowston) includes investigating whether genre information can help in searching, personal information management, and browsing.

Wednesday, February 26, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
"Writer as Critic: Inside and Outside the Book"
Sarah Ellis, the award-winning writer of books for children
Location: Dodson Room, Level 3, Room 302, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC
Refreshments Served

A Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program Colloquium

Abstract of the Talk: Sarah Ellis has always appreciated children’s literature from the multiple perspectives of writer, reviewer, critic, and teacher of children’s literature and creative writing. She will discuss her experience as the insider crafting a story and the outsider striving to put that story into context.

Biography of the Speaker: Sarah Ellis is the author of fourteen books for children, including picture books, short story collections, middle grade novels and non-fiction. Her books have been awarded such honours as the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Her books have been translated into French, Spanish, Danish, Chinese and Japanese.
After graduating from U.B.C.’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies and a career as a children’s librarian, Sarah moved to teaching and is on the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sarah studied at Simmons College in Boston where she received a master’s degree in children’s literature. When not writing for children or teaching, she lectures on Canadian children’s books and writes book reviews for The Hornbook Magazine and Quill and Quire. Sarah’s immersion in children’s literature has taken her to Japan, Venezuela, England, Ireland and various Canadian and American locations.

Sarah received the British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and has been nominated for the 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. 

The colloquium is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts Interdisciplinary Programs and the UBC Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, a multidisciplinary degree Program offered by the Creative Writing Program, the English Department, and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies in the Faculty of Arts; and the Department of Language and Literacy Education in the Faculty of Education.

Friday, February 28, 11:00am - 12:00pm
"The Rhizome, the Archives and the Social Media"
Wendy M. Duff, Professor, University of Toronto
Location: Bralorne Reading Room, Suite 470, SLAIS, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC
Refreshments Served

Abstract of the Talk: Recently, some have called upon archives to move to a more radical user orientation, envisioned by community archives, participatory archives[1] and the archival commons[2]. Concomitantly, some have suggested that social media, or Archives 2.0 will transform archives into a more democratic institution, one that foregrounds ‘multiple authorities based on networks of peers”[3].  Research, however, indicates that most archives continue to serve as a centralized archival authority that uses social media to promote services rather than engage users in new relationships[4].  This paper draws on Deleuze and Guattari concept of the "rhizome" to propose a system that supports non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation.   It suggests gamification, mashups, and interactives may provide new ways to connect with non- traditional users and to provide new avenues of access to archival material.

[1] Isto Huvila “Participatory Archive:  Towards Decentralized Curation, Radical User Orientation, and Broader Contextualisation of Records Management,” Archival Science 8 (2008): 15-36
[2] Scott R. Anderson and Robert B. Allen “Envisioning the Archival Commons” American Archivist 72 (Fall/Winter 2008): 383-400.
[3] Elizabeth Yakel, “Balancing Archival Authority with Encouraging Archival Voices to Engage with Records,” In K. Theimer (Ed.), A Different Kind of Web: New Connections between Archives and Users,
(Chicago:  Society of American Archivists, 2011), p. 84
[4] Wendy M.  Duff, Catherine A Johnson and Joan M. Cherry, “Reaching Out, Reaching In: A preliminary investigation into archives' use of social media in Canada” Archivaria 75 (2013): 77-96

Biography of the Speaker: Wendy M. Duff is a professor at the University of Toronto, School of Information. She is currently the Director of the Digital Curation Institute and teaches archives and records management with a focus on access to archival materials. She is a founding member of AX-SNet, an evolving international team of researchers interested in facilitating access to primary materials. Her current research focuses on archival users, archives and social media, measuring the archival impact on social justice and the convergence of libraries, archives and museums.

Wednesday, April 2, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
"Purposeful Play for the Youngest Learners: Early Literacy from Birth to Age Five"
Betsy Diamant-Cohen, Librarian and Creator of “Mother Goose on the Loose” Literacy Program
Location: Dodson Room, Level 3, Room 302, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC
Refreshments Served

Abstract of the Talk: “Purposeful play for the youngest learners: early literacy from birth to age five" Although library service to children was once mainly focused on books, today play is also a strong component. Children learn best through play. Library programs that incorporate purposeful play experiences can give children (and their parents) opportunities for practicing self-regulation, experiencing positive reinforcement, and developing pre-reading skills.  Playful early literacy programs (such as Mother Goose on the Loose) in public libraries help children build school readiness skills; they also teach parents about easy activities to replicate at home that help with their child’s development. Hear about some fun activities with seriously helpful benefits that can be used with even the youngest library visitors!

Biography of the Speaker: Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen is the creator of the early literacy program Mother Goose on the Loose. She was named by Library Journal as a Mover and Shaker in 2004. In 2013, she received the Leadership and Professional Achievement Award from the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies, a division of the American Library Association. The ASCLA award recognized her as “a prolific author, inspiring mentor and presenter, knowledgeable consultant and teacher and creator and developer of the Mother Goose on the Loose program. This program has revolutionized the way story times are presented to young children at libraries across the country and has empowered librarians to work confidently with this young population of readers.” Dr. Diamant-Cohen has had years of experience working in libraries and children’s museums. She runs training workshops and presents courses through colleges and library associations.


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