Ed Mignon Distinguished Lecture
The Ed Mignon Distinguished Lecture in Information Science is named for an alumnus and former faculty member of what is now the iSchool. He passed away in January 2012.
The lectureship is made possible by a gift from Molly Mignon, wife of Ed Mignon. The purpose of the fund is to provide support for an annual lecture by a distinguished speaker on a topic of interest in the field of information science. Speaker topics may be related to current events, policies, controversies, or issues in the information and technology fields. Our goal is to inspire original thinking and foster creativity among students, faculty and researchers at the Information School.
Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom
Writer, sociologist, and associate professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University
Dr. Cottom is the author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy and Thick: And Other Essays. Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally for the urgency and depth of her incisive critical analysis of technology, higher education, class, race and gender. Her most recent work, Thick: and Other Essays, was a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize, as well as the National Book Award. The collection has been described as “essential,” and the Chicago Tribune calls Dr. Cottom “the author you need to read now.” Dorothy Roberts compares reading it to “holding a mirror to your soul and to that of America.”
Dr. Cottom was originally scheduled to deliver the 2020 lecture, but her visit was postponed due to COVID-19.
2019: Siva Vaidhyanathan
Robertson Professor of Media Studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship, University of Virginia
"Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects People and Undermines Democracy "
Vaidhyanathan writes that if you wanted to build a machine that would distribute propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, energize hatred and bigotry, erode social trust, undermine respectable journalism, foster doubts about science, and engage in massive surveillance all at once, you would make something a lot like Facebook. Facebook’s leaders believed that good intentions were enough, he says, and that blind faith in technology could generate a better world. Vaidhyanathan's books include “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy;” “Intellectual Property: A Very Short Introduction;” and “The Googlization of Everything — and Why We Should Worry.”
2018: Nadine Strossen
John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, New York Law School
"HATE: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech, Not Censorship"
Strossen has written, taught, and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties, including through frequent media interviews. From 1991 through 2008, she served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. In her book, “Hate: Why We should Resist it with Free Speech, Not Censorship.” she argues that our political and campus discourse are increasingly filled with charges and counter-charges of “hate speech” to stigmatize and suppress seemingly any speech whose ideas are viewed as hated and hateful.
2017: John Palfrey
Head of School, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
"Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever"
In his book, “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google,” Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. Libraries play a crucial role in making these skills and information available — and yet are at risk. In order to thrive in our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible — by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online, while continuing to play the vital role as public spaces in our democracy that they have for hundreds of years.
2016: Paul Duguid
Adjunct Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley
"Reassessing the Social"
Over the last decade, our “age of information” became increasingly socialized as “social media” came to form a central part of how we both account for the ways the age has developed and predict where it might take us. This talk put this social life of information in a larger, historical context by drawing comparisons with earlier views of information, its “age,” and its sociability. Paul Duguid is coauthor of "The Social Life of Information." Recent work encompasses the history of the concept of “information” and what things like trademarks might tell us about ways information functions in the marketplace.
2015: Luciana Duranti
Chair and Professor, School of Library, Archives, and Information Studies, University of British Columbia
"The concept of place in the digital world: Does the 'where' of preservation still matter? Why? To whom?"
Is it true that, in the digital environment, the where of preservation is irrelevant and the long cherished concept of place, which, since Roman law, has constantly accompanied the idea of perpetual documentary memory, is no longer the pillar supporting trusted repositories like archives and libraries? This lecture presented the concept of place of preservation as it developed and has been interpreted from Roman law to our times, and discussed its relevance to digital preservation by addressing issues of trust, evidence, rights, security, memory, and identity.
2014: Tony Hey
Vice President, Microsoft Research Connections
"Beyond Open Access to Open Data"
Hey discussed the opportunity and obligation iSchools and their graduates have to create new tools to help scientists build, manage, and preserve the necessary data infrastructure. At the time of the lecture, Hey was Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections and was responsible for the worldwide external research and technical computing strategy across Microsoft Corporation. He led the company's efforts to build long-term public-private partnerships with global scientific and engineering communities, spanning broad reach and in-depth engagements with academic and research institutions, related government agencies and industry partners. Hey is a fellow of the U.K.'s Royal Academy of Engineering, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and a Fellow of the British Computer Society.
2013: Carole Palmer
Director, Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship; Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
"Data Curation and the Reuse Value of Digital Research Data: Meeting the Aims of Multiple Disciplines and Stakeholders"
Digital research data are now widely recognized as valuable assets — research resources with tremendous potential for reuse in new and innovative ways. However, realizing this potential will require ready access to extensive bodies of curated data. Advances in the management of digital data are proceeding apace, but curation services in research libraries and data centers need to extend beyond storage, archiving, and preservation to identification of high-value data and provision of data resources that are fit for new purposes. Palmer presented key findings on curatorial approaches needed to support data producers vs. consumers, as well as the aims of research institutions.