SI 575 Community Information Corps Seminar

Professor Paul Resnick

Winter 2004


Last revised 02/16/05 (PR).

Meets Wednesdays 6:30-8  in 409 West Hall
email list: si.cic.575.seminar (I have deliberately not made it a link, so that automated programs won't be able to figure out the full address and send us SPAM. It's

This 1-credit seminar course offers reading, reflection, and social networking experiences for students who are engaged in projects or considering careers as public informationists, (i.e., organizing information flows in support of communal and public interests).

The special theme this winter is the use of ICTs for local social and political organizing. We will examine a number of trends in technology or techniques for making use of technology, and try to connect those to the "big idea" themes of the CIC (social capital; public goods; inequality; diversity, identity, and power; citizenship; the institutional landscape of public interest work). Compared to fall semester, we will do more exploration of technologies and trends, rather than trying to assimilate key theoretical concepts.

This seminar 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, alumni, and outside "friends". Several faculty will be dropping in, 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 to four times). In fall semesters, we'll keep revisiting the key themes, but there will be minimal overlap in the readings and guests adjacent years. The faculty coordinator will rotate as well, leading to slightly different emphases in different semesters. Winter semesters typically focus on some theme of interest to the faculty coordinator (and, hopefully, a large fraction of the CIC-affiliated students!)

There will 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 to travel to relevant conferences and workshops. We will spend a couple of sessions "networking" among ourselves to help each other find jobs and internships doing public information work.

Early in each semester, there will be announcements about project opportunities with faculty and Directed Field Experience opportunities and other volunteer projects. 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 the PEP office. Workshop courses have their own course numbers. Other projects will be arranged as independent study directly with the supervising faculty member, or as non-credit activities. This seminar is one of the focal points for the CIC, but it is not the only way to be involved with CIC.


None officially, but the discussion will often assume that students are familiar with the key concepts covered in fall semesters. See the CIC Fundamental Concepts document. (Note: you will need to log in to the CIC web site before the actual link to that document shows up.)


After participating in SI 575, you should be able to:


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.

Each week, you will be expected to:

Once during the semsester, you will be expected to:

In general the class discussion, and the summary writeups, should cover the following kinds of questions:

There will be no exams, and no end of semester papers.


This class must be elected pass/fail (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). Satisfactory performance is being a good participant on a weekly basis and creating a final, approved summary writeup for your week that will be posted on the CIC website.

Office Hours

Paul Resnick, 3210 SI North, Mondays 4-5PM, Tuesdays 2-3PM. Or email me at

Peter Keller-Transburg, 406 West Hall, by appointment or drop-in. Or email at


Support for Summer Jobs

Last year we were able to supplement summer salaries for public interest jobs and internships. We hope to have money to do that again this year. Watch for more information on this year's program in the coming months.

Travel and Social Networking

If you find a conference that's worth going to and that you think will help you in assessing or developing job prospects or developing project ideas for future semesters, you can ask for travel funds. We don't have much right now, but try making a case and we'll what we can find. You'll have to

Please take advantage of this great opportunity!

About ACT and Its Relationship to CIC

ACT, the Alliance for Community Technology (, conducts a number of catalytic activities at the nexus of academia, community serving organizations and social investors. These activities include environmental scanning, convening discussions and framing emerging issues such as the potential role of open source software and ASPs for non-profit organizations, incubating innovative projects such as digital libraries for Native American Tribal Colleges. developing new knowledge about community technology through research, and training the next generation of public interest and community informationists.

This last activity, grooming the next generation, is where CIC fits in. CIC is the identifier for the suite of ACT activities involving students and alumni. For obvious reasons, the CIC name is somewhat more prominent inside SI, while the ACT name is more prominent in external relations with with organizations that may have less direct contact with students. ACT is the overall entity; CIC is a part of ACT.

Session Schedule

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

(Note: I will be soliciting feedback from students at the first session about a number of topics. The remainder of the schedule after the first two weeks will be filled in based partly on student input from that first session.)

Date Topic mini-event Guest Session Leaders Readings
Jan 5 Intro to CIC, ACT, and the Seminar; project opportunities       Where Virtuality Meets Locality
Jan 12 POTLUCK DINNER at Prof. Resnick's house, 6:30PM Wednesday

By Tuesday evening, send an email to the list saying what you're thinking about for public interest jobs or summer internships (or DFEs right now). After dinner, we'll share ideas.

task sign-ups   Devon Persing

Maria Cervone

Jan 19 Party and event organizing; calendars     Andy Peterson

an interesting blog entry on this

Jan 26 2-1-1 Information and Referral Services   Dale Fitch and Bob Miller
Feb. 2 Community Journalism     Adrienne Janney  
Feb 9 Reuse/recycling     Renata Ewing General info:

Get something or give something away on the Ann Arbor list:


Feb 16 Disaster planning and recovery     Yen-chiun Kuo  
Feb 23 Convening/introducing technologies   Tom Sander Steven Suryo
March 9 Community Technology Centers   Carol Morton Eric Jojola The September Project

Branch Libraries: The Heartbeat of the Community, Chapter 2 in Better Together, by Putnam and Feldstein

March 16 Case Study: Manchester, England   Kate Williams Kristy Cooper  
March 23 SmartMobs   Howard Rheingold Jonathan James SmartMobs, Howard Rheingold

TXTMob, message distribution lists for SMS

Some uses of TXTMob:

March 30 Social networking software

I'll be at Social Entrepreneur's Forum in Oxford, England and meetings on ICTs and community building in London this week; Class meets anyway without me

    Georgia Portuondo Sign up for and explore the features. If you want, create a profile and add your friends, but that's not required.
April 6 Get-out-the-vote/political mobilization tools     Trond Jacobsen  
April 13 Project Reports and job search reports