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Humanist Archives: July 13, 2019, 4:57 p.m. Humanist 33.137 - the biases in algorithms

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 137.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-07-13 00:49:47+00:00
        From: Verletta Kern 
        Subject: Confronting Algorithmic Bias in Open Research Collections Webinar

As academic libraries purchase more and more digital resources for
research and teaching, or wish to surface hidden collections in their
repositories, or want to support scholars producing open scholarship, it
is imperative to understand how library software makes these resources,
collections, or scholarship accessible and discoverable. Algorithms
underlying these software tools can in fact hinder access and discovery.
Digital literacy is the first step to understanding what is at stake in
access and discovery of these resources, collections, and scholarship.
This webinar seeks to increase digital literacy as it pertains to these

We invite you to explore this topic through an interactive webinar
"Confronting Algorithmic Bias in Open Research Collections" on July 24th
from 11am-12pm Central Time.  Please register in advance for the webinar


Once registered, you'll receive a confirmation with the webinar URL.

This webinar will consist of two interactive sessions followed by time
for questions and discussion. Kate Dohe, Manager of the Digital Programs
& Initiatives department in the University of Maryland Libraries, will
lead a discussion entitled "The Digital is Critical: Creating and
Maintaining Radical Library Systems". Jason Clark, Head of Special
Collections & Archival Informatics at Montana State University will lead
a discussion entitled "Unpacking the Algorithms That Shape Our UW:
Algorithmic Awareness as a Form of Digital Literacy". See below for a
short description of each of these sessions.

We look forward to having you join us for the webinar!


Verletta Kern
Co-convener of the ACRL Open Research Discussion Group

Michelle Urberg
Convener of the ACRL Digital Collections Discussion Group

Session Descriptions:

The Digital is Critical: Creating and Maintaining Radical Library Systems
Kate Dohe

Digital libraries should be one of the most powerful tools available to
libraries to reduce economic, geographic, ableist, and political
barriers to global open access for scholarly and cultural materials.
But how well are digital library systems delivering on these social
justice aspirations?  The application landscape has dwindled to a
handful of commercial applications owned by businesses with long
histories in commodifying content, and an array of open source products
with high technological barriers to entry. Inequalities between
institutions, communities, and valuation of labor are increasingly
apparent within the open source digital library space. This interactive
discussion will explore the impacts of stratification on library
technologies, and consider critical approaches to create and maintain
radical digital projects.

Unpacking the Algorithms That Shape Our UX: Algorithmic Awareness as a
Form of Digital Literacy

Jason Clark

We, and our patrons, routinely engage in systems that predict,
recommend, and speculate about our interests based on the digital
fingerprint we provide with our link clicks and 'likes', but we all
struggle understanding how and why those systems work as they do. Part
of this struggle is recognizing how our technological experiences are
increasingly mediated by algorithms - the code and computational
processes embedded into our software. Recent work by scholars, such as
Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, has shown how algorithms exhibit implicit racial
or sexist biases and reify societal prejudices. Moreover, the technical
nature of algorithms and the lack of transparency surrounding them can
be a challenge for novices. The goal of this session is to create more
informed instructors who can teach about the implications of complex
formulas guiding our technological world. Our Montana State University
team, with grant funding from the IMLS, is conducting research in
support of the teaching of "Algorithmic Awareness": an understanding
around the rules that govern our software and shape our digital
experiences. During the session, we will be teaching participants first
principles around algorithms and their definitions, how to identify
common algorithms in software experiences, and the implications of
algorithms in shaping our world.

Verletta Kern
Digital Scholarship Librarian
University of Washington Libraries
(206) 685-4847

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