Thursday, February 19, 2004

Research Proposals:
1. I would like to see if there is a digital divide among library schools. I was just curious to see if there is a wide spread difference in the adoption or incorporation of technology classes into the curriculums. When and how did the curriculums change? Along the same vein, how many schools have changed the name from library to information studies, and who hasn’t? I am not sure if this would be a feasible topic. I would need to look at previous course catalogues. I just get the feeling the profression is dealing with a lot of change and I wanted to get more of a background on it.
2. For a previous class, I worked on a group project where we wrote a fictitious Internet filtering policy for Iraq. At first I had trouble with assignment, even if it was fictitious. The information I came across was really interesting. So much change was occurring in such little time, especially for a society where the government restricted information and whose infrastructure was damaged in war. The Iraqi people went from having no access to information, to unrestricted access via satellite. While the infrastructure is being rebuilt and there are many other complications (to say the least), I would like to take a more in-depth look and compare the before and after. What were the major forms of communication before 2000 and after? How widespread is Internet access? Is there any basis for the belief that access to information will help spread democracy? Is it myth? How does Iraq compare with other countries in the region? I find this topic to be more intriguing, but it will be a matter of seeing what information is available and from what sources. The Coalition Provisional Authority, while not unbiased, does provide research. What else it out there?


1. In online interaction, language can become a character attribute or an identifier. Language becomes an “identification badge” (page 39). How much will online abbreviations or slang impact spoken language? What other effects will this have or what skills does this teach? Do we become more critical readers?
2. While traveling outside of the US, I have felt much more aware of my identity as an American and how I am perceived as an American. At the same time, I have felt more free and anonymous. In Italy, for example, most people did not know if I was European or American unless I spoke English. I had a high degree of comfort in day-to-day interactions and not everyone could pick up the cues that would identify me as American. Do online communities work in the same way? Is there more freedom with anonymity? Or does it work to place more emphasis on identity?
3. Do you agree that stereotypes are more influential and resilient online (page 75)? Is “fantasy freed” in cyberspace or do we translate our identity, gender, race, etc. online because it is so ingrained in real life? Do you agree with this quote from page 78: “Online interactions provide an excellent site for observing the dislocation of mind and body. In this interactional realm it is possible to observe how persons categorize self/other and structure interaction in absence of embodied characteristics.”

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