Research Brown Bag Schedule 2012-2013

Unless otherwise noted, SIRLS Research Brown Bags take place on Wednesdays from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm in the SIRLS Multi-purpose Room. SIRLS is located at 1515 East First Street, just west of Cherry Avenue.

Additional titles and abstracts will be posted as the semester progresses. Please check back.

October 24
Don Fallis, UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

What is Disinformation?

We are confronted with lies, spin, and half-truths on a daily basis.  While we can be harmed by honest mistakes, *intentionally* misleading information (i.e., Disinformation) is particularly dangerous.  We can try to address this threat to Information Quality by developing (a) techniques for identifying disinformation and (b) policies for deterring its spread.  However, we first need to understand exactly what disinformation is.  This talk will survey the research that has been done by information scientists and philosophers toward an analysis of this concept.

Elluminate Recording with Slides:


October 31
Peter Botticelli and Patricia Montiel OverallUA School of Information Resources and Library Science

Building Sustainable Digital Cultural Heritage Collections: Towards Best Practices for Small-scale Digital Projects

In the past decade, many institutions have undertaken small-scale digital projects (often involving a few hundred items) designed to expand access to cultural heritage online. This work examines a number of theoretical and practical challenges involved in planning and carrying out small-scale digitization projects involving culturally sensitive artifacts. This work builds on a study, Building Digital Cultural Heritage Collections in Arizona, funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Our larger aim is to help define best practices for online documentation of historically under-represented communities.

iTunes podcast/recording:
Accompanying paper:


November 7
Carol L. Tilley, Assistant Professor, The Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Affiliate Faculty, The Center for Children's Books (CCB); Affiliate Faculty, The Center for Writing Studies (CWS); Co-Editor, School Library Research

Children and the Comics: Young Readers Take on the Critics


In April 1953, eleven-year old Brian McLaughlin wrote to psychiatrist Fredric Wertham in response to the latter’s article in Reader’s Digest, “Comic Books – Blueprints for Delinquency.” The boy asserted confidently: “Anybody that goes out and kills someone because he read a comic book is a simple minded idiot. Sound silly? So does your item.” McLaughlin was not the only young person to critique Wertham’s argument about comics: dozens more wrote him in 1953 and 1954. In the late 1940s and culminating in 1954 with the publication of Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent and the televised hearings on comics held by a United States subcommittee, comic books were the most contested form of print. Young readers could not get enough of them, purchasing more than a billion new comic books issues a year in the early 1950s. Adult critics such as Wertham feared, that by reading these four-color pamphlets full of stories of superheroes, cowboys, and jungle queens, young people would stunt their cultural development, ruin their eyesight, and fall into lives of depravity. This paper draws in part from Wertham’s manuscript collection at the Library of Congress and the archival record of the 1954 Senate hearings. Building on these letters, the paper will document and analyze some of the ways young readers challenged and protested adults’ understanding of comic book reading. Moreover, the letters are especially valuable as they enrich scholarship on children’s reading because they offer children’s experiences in a form that is unfiltered and unmediated by adults.

Elluminate recording with slides:


November 14

Laura Lenhart, PhD Candidate, UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

A Property-Based Approach to the Privacy of Our Personal Data


My research draws on Michael Walzer’s seminal Spheres of Justice to develop a eudaimonistic approach to social policy that takes the social understandings of different goods to be important factors in the distribution of that good. In my dissertation, I use this as a framework for adapting and developing intellectual property schemas to better meet the challenges of digital culture and globalization. In particular, I argue that our intellectual property schemas and policies need to be more sensitive to the diversity of values expressed by different kinds of intellectual goods. One of the problematic aspects of standard approaches to intellectual property lies in a philosophical conception of property as a necessarily marketable good--if something is property then it can be sold. Much of Anglo-American intellectual property law is based on the idea that the author or creator is a proprietor of a commodity, whose interests must be ultimately balanced with the common good (Rose, 1994; Saunders, 1992). I will present research from a chapter of my dissertation that develops a property-based approach to the privacy of personal information with an important and novel contribution: property rights in large aggregations of data should be market-inalienable, that is, they should not be for sale.


November 28
Jana Bradley
, UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

Reconceptualizing the Facets of Knowledge and Information Mediation Work: A Framework for LIS Career Choices

Abstract: With the tightening of the economy, the rise of ebooks and known publisher opposition, and budget crises for libraries, there is a growing literature about what can be done with an LIS degree other than work in libraries. While there are numerous guides to various types of jobs, what is needed is an overall framework within which people who are earning or considering earning an ALA accredited master's degree can consider their career options in the widest possible way. In this Brown Bag, I will present a draft of such a framework that I have developed this semester as I have worked with IRLS 504 students to view their career choices in the broad context of a changing society.

Elluminate recording with slides:

January 30
Kay Mathiesen,
 UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

Information Rights as Human Rights

Abstract: In this “information age” there is increasing focus on how to get, disseminate, and control information.  Frequently these concerns are expressed in the language of rights—e.g., privacy rights, intellectual property rights, and the rights to receive and impart information.  Many of the human rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are such “information rights” (see e.g., articles 12, 18, 19, 20, 26, and 27). In this talk I give an overview of the history of human rights conventions and an introduction to human rights theory. I discuss the relationships between human rights and LIS and the relevance of human rights to a number of current questions in information ethics: e.g., equitable access to ICT’s, cultural rights of indigenous peoples, privacy of personal data, and the expansion of intellectual property rights.

February 27
Patricia Montiel Overall, UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

A Content Analysis of the 2012 Latino Literacy Roundtable: Authors’ Perceptions of Developing Literacy

Abstract: Latino children and young adults, particularly Spanish speakers, demonstrate low performance in all areas of the curriculum.  Low development of literacy is a major contributing factor in underachievement.  The Latino Literacy Roundtable was initiated to bring together members of the community to discuss this important issue, and to further understand the role of language and culture in the development of literacy of Latinos.  In 2012, three notable Latino authors, Sam Quiñones, Sarah Cortez, and René Colato Laínez discussed the development of literacy of Latino children and youth.  Preliminary findings from interviews with the author and roundtable discussions in this qualitative study will be presented.

March 6

Ruth Kneale, Systems Librarian, National Solar Observatory

The Alternative Librarian Lifestyle

Abstract: We all know about the opportunities that are available to us in traditional brick-and-mortar arenas; many people think of a school, university, or public library when they think of their future as a librarian. I’m here to tell you, there’s so much more!  The opportunities in non-traditional, or special, libraries are extensive; they broaden even more if you really think creatively.  You’ll hear about some of these exciting and unexpected libraries, and I’ll share some insights into thinking – and looking – outside the "norm."

March 27

Catherine Brooks, UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

Learners as Workers: Issues of Identity and Community among College Student Interns

Abstract: Scholars have yet to gain a sense of how students perform their disparate identities of ‘intellectual’ and ‘worker’ as they navigate the potentially dueling roles of content learning and professional job training in internship courses. This project focuses on students in internship courses in order to ascertain how they socially perform their roles and identities as they negotiate the potentially competing environments of college classrooms and professional organizations. In particular, this project uses discourse analysis to investigate how a professional internship experience can influence students’ concept of ‘self,’ as well as their performative displays across contexts and communities.

April 10

Xiang Fei, PhD, Lecturer, Research Center for Health Information Resources, School of Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, and Visiting Scholar, UA School of Information Resources and Library Science

Medical and Health Information Service Development in China

Abstract: We are in the process of reforming Chinese medicine, which started in 2006, and many changes have been made. It's good to see that, in our field, library and information science, a lot of contributions have been made to improve public health. Because of that, I would like to introduce some improvements and developments in China related to medical and health information service, including medical and health informationization, community health management and services, and medical library development.




File attachments: 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences