This page features 15 years of conversations with leading cyber-scholars, entrepreneurs, activists, and policymakers as they explore topics such as: the factors that influence knowledge creation and dissemination in the digital age; the character of power as the worlds of governance, business, citizenship, and the media meet the Internet; and the opportunities, role, and limitations of new technologies in learning.

Most Berkman events, including conferences, luncheon series talks, and many meetings, are webcast then archived on this website.  Starting in 2015, webcasts are now archived on specific events pages and are no longer listed here.  Please consider this page an incomplete archive, while we transition how we display multimedia on our site. Many of these talks are also available on the Berkman Center's YouTube channel.

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Mideast Youth: Providing platforms for public voice

The mission of MideastYouth is “to inspire and provide young people with the freedom and opportunity of expression, and facilitate a fierce but respectful dialogue among the highly diverse youth of all sects, socio-economic backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs in the Middle East.” fights for social change with podcasts, blogs, social networks, and online video. In this podcast, Esra’a talks about the ability of the internet to empower minorities with a voice, the mission of, and the change it has sparked in the world.

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eon on Born Digital

Berkman founder Charles Nesson reads the first two paragraphs of John Palfrey and Urs Gasser's "Born Digital" (originally presented at


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Obama Works: Online Activism Breeds Local Change

The third installment of the Digital Natives Forum Series: Youth & Civic Engagement discusses the question “How can digital media tools enable youths to motivate one another to create meaningful change?” with a number of fantastic presenters approaching the issues from different vantage points.

Summer intern Nikki Leon talked to Paul on camera about how online interaction can breed offline activism.

Obama Works is an independent grassroots organization that helps Obama supporters in neighborhoods across the country to organize community service events. The group was founded in early 2008 by a group of Yale students who were inspired by Barack Obama and felt that the energy surrounding his campaign could be channeled to do more than generate votes.

In this video, Paul Selker (a recent Yale grad and one of the group’s earliest members) discusses how the organization came together, how they use the web, and what role the internet has played in enabling people of all ages as activists. Produced by Nikki Leon, with camera work by Kanupriya Tewari, and audio engineering by John Randall.


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Digital Natives Forum Series: the impact of digital technologies upon young people’s civic engagement

An interdisciplinary roundtable discussion on youth & civic engagement; Connecting theory to practice; How can digital media tools enable youths to motivate one another to create meaningful change? Dr. Sunshine Hillygus, Keli Goff, Paul Selker, Nasser Wedaddy, and Judith Perry.


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Studying Online (Part II)

David Kosslyn, who is starting up a website, StudyBuddy, hopes to bring together digital natives online to study together. What are the implications of StudyBuddy; from cyber-bullying to the loss of face-to-face interaction?


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Are you a Digital Native? NHK General TV wants to know.

NHK general TV in Japan stopped by the Berkman Center interview our principal investigator John Palfrey about Digital Natives, and caught some footage of the Digital Natives “Reporters in the Field” team in action.

They’re airing a special on Digital Natives in September as part of the program, they’ll be including video blogs made by digital natives about the Internet.


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Imagining Real Places with Virtual Spaces

Hub2 gives local neighborhoods a more powerful voice in urban planning and public design. Residents engage in a process that employs 3D virtual tools and problem-solving techniques to articulate a common vision reflecting the participants' values. Goals of Hub2 include strengthening civic engagement with public spaces, involving population segments traditionally left out of development planning, and providing a constructive and productive community input process for public design.


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Studying Online (Part I)

It seems that everything is accessible online in today’s world- then why not studying?

David Kosslyn, a rising sophomore at Harvard, along with two other friends, is starting up an online academic networking site named StudyBuddy. We talked to him about issues that this may bring about for non-digital natives but also about how studying online can either aid or hinder a digital natives learning process.

The following video, produced by Kanupriya Tewari, is part one where we explore the aims and accomplishments StudyBuddy hopes to achieve.


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Digital Shadows

Your Digital Dossier is made up of all the digital tracks you leave behind – from your photos on Flickr, to the Facebook messages you send, to all the data your credit card company collects about your transactions. On a daily basis, digital natives are consistently leaving information about themselves in secure or non-secure databases. You probably do this without a second thought in you day-to-day life – but have you ever considered the amount of information being collected about you, or the extent to which this information spreads?

In this video, created by Kanupriya Tewari, we explore this issue from the perspective of a child born today – Andy – and the timeline of all the digital files he accumulates in a life span.


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Understanding Social Action, Promoting Human Rights

We're going to discuss our book -- UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL ACTION, PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS (OUP 2009) -- which is a collection of new essays by leading social scientists sharing insights from their discipline for the betterment of human rights scholarship and advocacy. When we contracted for the book, we envisioned a two-part translation, first between disciplines, and second between scholarship and practice.


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The Ballad of Zack McCune, Part 3

In April of last year, Zack McCune was sued by the RIAA. He ended up $3,000 lighter (he settled), but with a much richer understanding of the contemporary debate surrounding music, copyright law, and file sharing. Part I gives an intro to his story, while Part II explores the disconnect between young downloaders and the recording industry. Part III, presented here, concludes Zack’s misadventure and examines where it led him: to the Free Culture Movement, which advocates more flexible intellectual property law.

This video was produced by Nikki Leon and John Randall.


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Is Harvard Magazine Coping in a Digital Age?

Take a glimpse into the world of print media — specifically, Harvard Magazine and the ways in which it is handling society’s shift towards the digital. As a small but growing pool of alumni trades reading class notes for skimming Facebook news feeds, how will alumni publications like Harvard Magazine continue to capture their interest? Cathy Chute, the magazine’s publisher, grappled with these questions and gave some insight into Harvard Magazine’s current approach.

This podcast was created and produced by Nikki Leon, with support and audio engineering by John Randall.


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Can Creativity Be Crowdsourced?

he Internet both attracts and repels art institutions. Curators wonder who could possibly ensure quality control in a world where 50,000 videos are added to YouTube each day. Fortunately, artists themselves were crowdsourcing long before the Internet: composer John Cage laid out the principles fourteen years before Richard Stallman founded the Gnu project and twenty-nine years before the term "open source" was coined. Following the example of Cage, Jon Ippolito & John Bell are working to develop ways for artists to open source not only their art but their artistic process.


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Going On-Line to Get On-Track

In late 2007, several members of Professor Nolan Bowie's “New Media and Democracy” class at Harvard's Kennedy School, including some Nieman Foundation Fellows, proposed that instead of a paper, they would jointly produce a video on a related topic. The resulting 9-minute film “Going On-Line to Get On-Track” profiles the creation and use of a citizen-made documentary film as part of a campaign to bring an alternative transport option to the residents of low-income neighborhoods in Somerville, Massachusetts. Berkman’s Media Re:public project provided post-production support to the video and is publishing a short narrative case about the online media campaign profiled in the film.


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The Ballad of Zack McCune, Part 1

“The Ballad of Zack McCune, Part I” – is the first of a three-part piece created by Nikki Leon and John Randall of the Digital Natives summer team. This is the introduction to Zack McCune’s story — how he got sued by the Recording Industry Association of America and what happened as a result. Part II examines the disconnect between youth and the recording industry, while Part III investigates how the experience got Zack interested in internet policy and the free culture movement.


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How I Learned To Type

This first video, “How I Learned to Type,” was created by Diana Kimball and Sarah Zhang of the Digital Natives team. It takes a glance into how people of different ages learned one of the first skills every digital inhabitant needs – typing. Do you “peck” with two fingers, type in multiple languages at once, or have a typing teacher with a wooden leg? The people in “How I Learned to Type” do all this and more. Digital technology has become so ingrained in our lives that for digital natives, learning to type has become a ubiquitous experience, as memorable, say, as learning to read or ride a bike.


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Designing for Mod Development

Computer games are, in many cases, platforms for user creativity and have become an important part of contemporary culture. Berkman Fellow Shenja van der Graaf discusses her research on the organization and management of innovation and technology, especially user innovation, product development, and media uses in media and software industries.


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The Dynamics of Collaborative Innovation (Luncheon Video/Audio)

There is a tension between the need of collaborative systems to have access to knowledge so that it can be used by others and the incentives of any individual to be recognized as a top performer in a collaborative system. We study this tension in a unique setting involving a "wiki-like" collaborative programming contest involving over 100 contributors.


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Employee Non-Compete Agreements: Protecting Innovation or Stifling It?

The use of employee non-compete agreements by Massachusetts companies is routine, with employers mandating that employees steer clear of any business of a competitive nature once they leave their present jobs. Many believe these agreements are critical to guarding a company's hard-earned intellectual property. Others, however, believe that non-competes are handcuffs on innovation.