2023 Lib/Lab Fellows Syllabus

Now in its eigth, the LibLab Fellows program is an experiment in library-based learning guided by a critical consideration of just what we mean by “the digital.” Fellows engage theory and practice of digital scholarship through open lab hours and weekly discussion meetings during the fall semester and spring semester

Week 1 - September 14: Introductions and framing

An introduction to the terrain.

From the physical to the digital. What new information is gained? What is lost?


Week 2 - September 21: Do Artifacts Have Politics? + Text

What can things do? Considering the perspective of Science and Technology Studies. Are the technologies that we will study neutral? In other words, is the saying: “it depends how you use the tool that matters” universally true or is technology inherently biased?


What lies beneath the technologies we use everyday? Investigating the human and computer labor that fuels the web services we rely on.

Week 4 - October 5: Metadata / Data

Can data be neutral? What are the ethical considerations of collecting and analyzing data?

Lisa Gitelman and Virginia Jackson write in the introduction for “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron,

“Data need to be imagined as data to exist and function as such, and the imagination of data entails an interpretive base.”

What do you think when you hear the term “raw data”?

Week 5 - October 12: Network + Internet

National ARPA Network Map

Before we can go further into networked technologies, we ought to have a starting point - What do we mean when we say internet? What makes it different from other forms of information technology?


Week 6 - October 26: Search + Alogrithms

How is information organized and how can we use those systems to find what we are looking for?

Week 7 - November 2: Accessibility

Can we democratize knowledge? How can we make information more accessible for everyone?

Week 8 - November 9: Language of Visualization

Bertin, Semiology of Graphics. 1983. p. 43.

Can we move beyond pleasing images representing data to and understand that visualizations are a language in themselves? In other words, rather than just understanding visualizations as representations of data can we understand them as data?

In this process, what do we gain access to and, oppositely, what is effaced or made invisible?

Week 9 - November 16: Maps

What are the politics of maps? How does the platform used to create and provide access to geographic information shape our understanding of space?

Week 10 - November 30: Surveillance and embodiment

Do we live in a survaillance culture? What are the privacy tradeoffs you make to use the tools you like? More importantly, do you know the liniage of survilance?

Week 11 - December 7: Immersive Technologies

What role do emerging technologies play in higher education?

Week 12 - December 14: Celebration