SI 575 Community Information Corps Seminar

Professor Paul Resnick

Fall 2000


Last revised 11/13/00 (PR).

Meets Fridays 12-1:30  in 311 West Hall
Project listings
CourseTools   (for discussion and other nice features: access restricted)

This 1-credit seminar course offers reading, reflection, and social networking experiences for students who are engaged in projects or considering careers as public interest informationists, (i.e., organizing information flows in support of communal and public needs). Many students will enroll concurrently in some kind of project work, either through a Directed Field Experience (DFE), an independent study, or a workshop course.

We will read about and discuss theories of community, civil society, and the role of the non-profit sector, and draw connections with project work (reading and reflection). There will also be frequent opportunities to learn about other students' projects and to meet some of the national leaders of the community information movement (social networking) and possibly travel to relevant conferences and workshops. At the end of this course, students who are interested in pursuing careers in the community information movement should have enough information and connections to begin a job search in this area.

This seminar also serves as a focal point for the School of Information's Community Information Corps, a loosely organized  interest group of faculty, doctoral and master's students, and outside "friends". Several faculty are planning to attend frequently, and students who do not wish to sign up for credit are welcome to come for those sessions that they find interesting.

You are encouraged to participate for multiple semesters (you can take it for credit up four times); while we'll keep revisiting similar themes, there will be minimal overlap in the readings and guests.

Early in each semester, there will be announcements about project opportunities with faculty and Directed Field Experience opportunities. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their project experiences in the class. Academic credit for these projects, however, will not be arranged through this class. DFEs will be administered through Karen Jordan. Workshop courses have their own course numbers. Other projects will be arranged as independent study directly with the supervising faculty member.




After participating in SI 597-697, you should be able to:

The Big Ideas

Throughout our examination of these ideas, we will keep returning to implications for the roles of information professionals.

We will keep returning to these big ideas each semester, but usually with somewhat different readings and guests to guide our exploration.


Readings will be handed out in class, or available on the Web. You will need to read materials before class so that we can have lively discussion (see reaction paper assignments below).

Assignments and Due Dates

This is a 1-credit class. Class meets for an hour and a half each week. You should spend, on average, about two and a half hours each week outside of class, doing the following:

Travel and Social Networking

If you find a conference that's worth going to that and that you think will help you in assessing job prospects or developing project ideas for future semesters, you can ask me for travel funds.


Please register for this class pass/fail (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). This is not a class that lends itself to conventional grading.

Office Hours

Mondays 4-5PM, Fridays 10-11AM. It's a good idea to call in advance or send email, as there are a few days when I'll have to miss office hours.
314 West Hall

Session Schedule

Date Topic Guest Readings
8-Sep Intro   Fellows program materials:
15-Sep Social Capital   Robert Putnam. Bowling Alone. Chapter 1.
16-Sep Potluck dinner at Prof. Cogburn's house; 5-8PM    
22-Sep Virtual and Physical Community   Galston, William. Does the Internet Strengthen Community? In Governance in a Networked World, edited by Elaine Ciulla Kamarck and Joseph S. Nye, Jr.

student status report: Vishant Shah on WhoThat photodirectories project.

29-Sep Roles of the NP sector   Lester M. Salamon. Holding the Center: America's Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads. Nathan Cummings Foundation report.

student project report: Karen Scheurer and Laurel Sandor on CTCNet report

6-Oct Application Service Providers and Open Source Software for the non-profit sector Michael Cohen joint statement from ASP/OSS workshop organized by ACT in May 2000.
13-Oct Philanthropy Gail McClure, Vice President- Programs, W.K. Kellogg Foundation  
20-Oct TechSoup Sandra Whisler, Director, TechSoup web site

student status report: Kate Lockwood and Steve Herrick on ACT Knowledge Portal infrastructure

27-Oct Community Information Centers abroad (Info/Change project) Ron Epstein, Info/Change Draft document on Info/Change

USAID IT opportunities in Sri Lanka

student project report: Jenny Smith on CommunityKnowledge

3-Nov Community Networks Ann Bishop, University of Illinois The AFYA project: a participatory approach to digital library design for marginalized communities

student project report: Eliz Breakstone and Melissa Mazmanian on creating middle school cultural/educational resources

10-Nov Book reports    
17-Nov Community Technology in a housing complex Randy Pinkett, MIT Media Lab Pinkett, Randal D. (2000). Bridging the Digital Divide: Sociocultural Constructionism and an Asset-Based Approach to Community Technology and
Community Building.
Paper presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, LA, April

Overview of Camfield Estates Project

student status report: Krissa Rumsey on Flint youth and technology program

1-Dec Collective action   Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation. Chapters 1, 7.

student status report: Kara Goldhamer on e-philanthropy

8-Dec Reflections and planning   student status report: Randy DeShazo and Charles Kaylor, citizen participation in Ann Arbor e-government