Dr. Melanie Feinberg, Factotem: What Is Information Access For?


Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC iSchool.

Abstract: In this talk, I seek to understand what we mean by information access, and what it means to provide information access in a responsible way. Specifically, I examine the idea of facts. How should providers of information deal with facts? To examine this question, I consider the 2017 protest slogan “Librarians for Facts.” What does this slogan really mean? Ultimately, I suggest that information providers need to determine what they are for, and orient information access mechanisms toward that goal.

Bio: Melanie Feinberg is an Associate Professor in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a classificationist whose research approach combines design with the humanities. Her work focuses on learning how to read and write databases to complement our engineering and mining of them. She received her PhD in 2008 from the iSchool at the University of Washington; she has a master’s from the iSchool at Berkeley (2004) and was an undergraduate at Stanford (1992). In her professional career before returning to academia, she was a content strategist and technical editor, working at companies such as Apple Computer, Scient, and PeopleSoft.


Select Books and Articles Available at UBC Library

Feinberg, M. (2017). Reading databases: Slow information interactions beyond the retrieval paradigm. Journal of Documentation, 73(2), 336-356. [Link]

Feinberg, M. (2017). The value of discernment: Making use of interpretive flexibility in metadata generation and aggregation. Information Research-an International Electronic Journal, 22(1), 1. [Link]

Feinberg, M. (2011). How information systems communicate as documents: The concept of authorial voice. Journal of Documentation, 67(6), 1015-1037. [Link]

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