SI 575 Community Information Corps Seminar

Professor Paul Resnick

Winter 2001


Last revised 04/24/01 (PR).

Meets Fridays 12-1:30  in 311 West Hall (Informal lunch at 11:30)
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 575, 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.


This class must be elected pass/fail (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). This is not a class that lends itself to conventional grading.

Office Hours

Fridays 11-12AM and 1:30-2:30PM. 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

This schedule is likely to be juggled significantly after the semester begins. Please consult the online version for the latest.

Date Topic Guest Project Status Report Readings
5-Jan Intro Dr. Ray Shortridge, Girls, Inc.    
12-Jan Roles for Information Systems in Building Social Capital   Kate Lockwood, Resnick, Paul. Beyond Bowling Together: SocioTechnical Capital.
19-Jan The Digital Divide: Access     Falling Through The Net IV
26-Jan Local Employer Panel (Organized by JoAnna Kroll)      
WED 31-Jan free lunch with social work, urban planning students 11:45-1:15, 311 West Hall    
2-Feb Technical Assistance for non-profits Jennifer Bright, Director of National Outreach, NPower Cliff Lampe,
ASP initiative

Sample Business Plan;
Spreadsheet for revenue model;
Documentation for spreadsheet

National landscape of technical assistance providers

9-Feb The Changing World of Philanthropy Gail McClure, Kellogg Foundation    
16-Feb Technical Assistance for non-profits: circuit riding Tim Mills-Groninger, ITRC   A "circuit rider's" travelogue
23-Feb The Digital Divide: Content   Chris Hamilton, Karen Scheurer, and Erica Olsen, IMLS research project with Prof. Joan Durrance (tentative) Online Content for Low-Income and Underserved Americans (Children's Partnership Report)
2-March Spring Break--No class      
9-March (In)equality: Definitions Professor John Chamberlin,
UM School of Public Policy
Laurel Sandor, Detroit Library CTC (tentative) Deborah Stone,
"Policy Paradox and Political Reason", pp. 30-48
16-March Deliberative Polls I     Critiques and responses on the idea of "Deliberative Polls"
23-March Deliberative Polls Online: An Exploration Professors James Fishkin and Robert Luskin,
University of Texas
Carrie Auster, legislative forums and issue forums project with  
30-March Information Resources for Non-profits Jillaine Smith, managing editor, Nonprofit Resources

Benton Foundation

Steve Herrick, Kate Lockwood, and Vlad Wieldbut on ACT's "Knowledge Works" infrastructure, using Zope web site
6-April The Role of Citizens   Megan Kinney, CHICO cultural heritage projects Michael Sandel, "Democracy's Discontent", pps. 3-24, 317-351
13-April Reflections and planning   Krissa Rumsey, Detroit CTC conference trip report

Nancy Brigham, non-profits and Internet QoS