<-- The Filter --> October 2006

January 31, 2015
[0] From the Center
[1] Features
[2] Networked: Bookmarks, Webcasts, Podcasts, Tags, and Blogposts
[3] Global Voices: Digital Dose of Global Conversations
[4] Community Links
[5] Upcoming Conferences
[6] Staying Connected
[7] Filter Facts




[0] From the Center

The excitement at Berkman has continued unabated, with leaps forward on efforts such as StopBadware.org, churning out groundbreaking reports and taking on more badware every day; the OpenNet initiative, wrapping up testing on filtering practices in more than three dozen countries for its global report, due out in springtime; and Noank Media (aka Digital Media Exchange), continuing to exceed all expectations, rapidly advancing its technology development and progressing towards rollout in China, with Canada likely to follow. Not coincidentally, we're also in hiring mode: we currently have four full-time positions posted with more on the way, a variety of openings for students, as well as some opportunities for graphic design work. (Please pass the word!) Charlie and Rebecca Nesson's course, CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion, has stirred up Harvard, Second Life and the education world. Don't be alarmed, however: all this doesn't mean we're letting the political season pass us by. We held a reception for those blogging the 2007 elections earlier this week, and have invited people interested in liveblogging election night to join us on Tuesday at 23 Everett street. We hope to see you soon, in Cambridge, on line or in world.

-- Colin Maclay, Managing Director, Berkman Center--

StopBadware.org: <http://www.stopbadware.org>
OpenNet Initiative: <http://www.opennetinitiative.net>
Berkman jobs page: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/home/employment>
Berkman's Live Blogging Session: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/home/events>


[1] FEATURES: a bit of what’s going on at Berkman and where to read more

From Reading to Writing Textbooks
By David Weinberger

In the mid 1990s I moderated a panel at some conference with Bruce Tognazzini as a panelist. Tog, as he likes to be called, was the lead designer of the Macintosh's user interface. He was working on the "Star" project for Sun at the time. On the topic of education, Tog said something that seems to be more true every day: students shouldn't be reading textbooks -- they ought to be writing them.

At the time I thought this was a clever thing to say with some but not enough truth to it. It smacked of a denigration of learning that I find both attractive and repulsive. But now that we have wikis, I find it mainly attractive.

Textbooks serve an important purpose in many classes. As a professor of writing at University of Houston Downtown said at a breakout session I was at last week, they can enunciate a vocabulary that enables conversation. They organize (and commoditize) knowledge according to the experience of an expert in the field. Students cannot reasonably be expected to write a textbook that competes with a published one.

But, textbooks also often present a field as, well, a field that one is going to conquer by marching through it, one turn of the page at a time. And, because they're paper, all the links are broken. Every one of them.

So, in some fields, I'm now with Tog. Give the shared vocabulary in class, and then send your students out to build a wiki that by the end of the course expresses what they've learned together. Let them argue about how to organize it. Keep the discussion pages up. Keep the differences visible. Let them fill it with links. Let them connect with other students in other schools creating related wikis.

A class's wiki is not going to be as complete, well-grounded or well-written as a good textbook. But students will learn more by writing one than by cribbing and cramming from a professional textbook. And they may learn something that few textbooks manage to convey: why the people in that field are in the field. If all you know about the study of history is what you read in your history text, how the study of history can grab a person and throw her through the rest of her life will remain a mystery. But, if your class is doing the work of history -- or at least meta-history -- by writing a wiki textbook on, say, the Renaissance, you may get an inkling. You may.

Of course, this messes with the grading system. How do you grade students individually for social knowledge? But how sad is it that when it comes to education, our measurement techniques shape what is to be measured...

Read more:

* Tog: <http://www.asktog.com/>
* O'Reilly on-demand textbook project (Safari U): <http://www.safariu.com/>
* CNN on interactive, social textbooks: <http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/08/30/coolsc.ebooks/index.html>
* Wiki textbook project: <http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page>



Newspapers 2.0
By Doc Searls

Doc Searls responded to recent newsroom turmoil with 10 tips for revitalizing a ‘rusty’ newspaper industry. He advocates that print dailies look to the Web in their effort to remain relevant.

An excerpt from Searls’ blogpost, “Newspapers 2.0”:

“First, stop giving away the news and charging for the olds. Okay, give away the news, if you have to, on your website. There's advertising money there. But please, open up the archives. Stop putting tomorrow's fishwrap behind paywalls. Writers hate it. Readers hate it. Worst of all, Google and Yahoo and Technorati and Icerocket and all your other search engines ignore it. Today we see the networked world through search engines. Hiding your archives behind a paywall makes your part of the world completely invisible. If you open the archives, and make them crawlable by search engine spiders, your authority in your commmunity will increase immeasurably. Plus, you'll open all that inventory to advertising possibilities…”

Read the rest of Searls’ tips at:



Making a Market Emerge Out of Digital Copyright Uncertainty
By John Palfrey

The Google/YouTube sparked debate over the potential copyright quagmire of YouTube’s user-contributed content. Prof. John Palfrey discussed Google’s potential copyright liability with economist Stan Liebowitz in the Wall Street Journal. However, he emphasized that the issues raised reflect broader questions concerning digital copyright.

From John Palfrey’s blog:
“Part of the answer could come from the courts and the legislatures of the world. But I’m not holding my breath. A large number of lawsuits in the music and movies context has left us clearer in terms of our understanding of the rules around file-sharing, but not enough clarity such that the next generation of issues (including those to which YouTube and other Web 2.0 applications give rise) is well sorted. …”

Palfrey further proposes a licensing system centered on a repository of copyrighted works. To read the rest of the blogpost, go here:

To read John Palfrey’s Wall Street Journal remarks, go here:



Could Online Poker Law Raise The Stakes on Free Linking?
By Derek Slater

The recently-passed Internet Gambling Prohibition Act affects more than online gambling sites and those who frequent them, argues Derek Slater. The imposed restrictions have the potential to restrict the free-flow of information essential to Internet innovation.
From Derek Slater’s blogpost, “Could Online Poker Law Raise the Stakes on Free-Linking?”:

“As in many other instances, this attempt to stamp out an online activity could also impact anyone who wants to link to or help you access sites online. Blocking unlawful gambling-related activities shouldn’t mean censoring people who simply reference the existence of gambling sites. Linking, like publishing a phone number or street address, is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment, and this bill raises some subtle free speech concerns. Instead of changing how federal law treats the individuals who place bets, this bill prohibits businesses from receiving certain types of wagers and puts restrictions on financial service providers, like banks and PayPal, that help transfer money to gambling sites. In so doing, the bill also singles out “interactive computer services” (ICS) like ISPs or website hosting services and then defines what a court can force them to do under this law. …”

Read more of Derek Slater’s remarks on the bill, here:



Links to Berkman conversations happening online

Internet Politics, Governance, and Regulation:

[BLOGPOST] The OpenNet Initiative delves into India’s attempts to regulate online communities.
* <http://www.opennetinitiative.net/blog/?p=106>

[BLOGPOST] Ed Felton weighs in on proposed ThreeBallot voting system.
* <http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1073>
Follow up posts:
* <http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1074>
* <http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1076>

[BLOGPOST] Daniel Haeusermann argues for automatization of licensing.
* <http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/dhaeusermann/2006/10/13/copyright_uncertainty>

Citizen Media and the Future of Journalism:

[BLOGPOST] Dan Gillmor considers the evolving role of citizen media in news coverage.
* <http://citmedia.org/blog/2006/10/14/wholl-cover-the-news/>

[BLOGPOST] Ethan Zuckerman ponders the societal implications of citizen media.
* <http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=1022>

[PODCAST] CyberOne looks into limits of ‘fake news.’
Part I: <http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/CyberOne-CyberOne101706121WatchFirst568.mp4>
Part II: <http://blip.tv/file/get/CyberOne-CyberOne101706122WatchNext629.mp4>

Digital Media:

[WEBSITE] WGBH launches ‘Lab Sandbox’ for independent media innovators.
* <http://streams.wgbh.org/sandbox/>

[PODCAST] CyberOne wanders through ‘Virtual Worlds’ of possibility.
* <http://media-cyber.harvard.edu/AudioBerkman/cyberone-classsix_2006-09-26...

Internet, Education, and Knowledge:

[PODCAST] Mark Frydenburg discusses use of podcasting in the classroom.
Part I: <http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/VideoBerkman-PodcastingAndNewMediaInEducati...
Part II: <http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/VideoBerkman-PodcastingAndNewMediaInEducati...

[PODCAST] Dan Burk describes challenges of adopting open source technology for scientific research.
Part I: <http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/VideoBerkman-OpenSourceStrategiesForScience...
Part II: <http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/VideoBerkman-OpenSourceStrategiesForScience...

Security and Anonymity:

[REPORT] StopBadware.org releases report on Popcorn.net.
* <http://www.stopbadware.org/reports/reportdisplay?reportname=popcorn>

[BLOGPOST] Derek Slater criticizes online gambling ban for punishing ordinary people.
* <http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cmusingsdev/2006/10/03/congress-sneaks-thro...

[BLOGPOST] William McGevern comments on developing ‘Surveillance State.’
* <http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/infolaw/2006/10/10/balkin-on-the-national-s...



[3] Global Voices:
Digital Dose of Global Conversations

David Sasaki, Global Voices Latin America Regional Editor, put together the monthly digest below, a collection of links to the most interesting conversations happening in the global blogosphere. Please check out Global Voices here: <http://www.globalvoicesonline.org>

“After a month of abstinence (from sex naturally) during daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadhan, a mob of sex-starved Egyptians decided to celebrate Eid by attacking and sexually harassing women on the streets of Cairo,” writes Amira Al Hussaini who has translated here the startled reactions and first-hand accounts of local bloggers.

In southern Mexico, escalating political pressure in the tourist city of Oaxaca erupted recently as federal police were ordered in by President Fox just one month before his term expires. Here is a history of the conflict with initial reactions by Mexican bloggers as federal troops continue to face off with remaining anti-government insurgents. Also, American journanlist, Bradley Will films the last moments of his own life as he is gunned down by pro-government paramilitarists in Oaxaca's streets.

Andrew Heavens describes how Ethio-Zagol, one of the most mysterious and well-connected writers in the Ethiopian blogosphere, scored an old-fashioned scoop over the rest of the mainstream press when he broke a story on the arrest of human rights activist Yalemzewd Bekele near Ethiopia’s border with Kenya.

The archeological discovery of what could be Europe’s only step pyramid complex in Bosnia and Herzegovina has brought unexpected attention and cash flow to the region. But local bloggers are mixed in their reactions to the discovery and its consequences. Read their responses here thanks to the translations of Ljubisa Bojic.

Why is there a mass exodus of Russian-language bloggers to the small Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago? Well, virtually speaking. Veronica Khokhlova relates the business deal between LiveJournal.com owner Six Apart and a new Russian internet company and explains why it has some Russian bloggers concerned about the privacy of their data from the government's watchful eyes. <http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2006/10/21/russia-the-second-blog-war/>

Climate change affects everyone. But it affects each region uniquely. Alice Backer translates a conversation from Madagascar reflecting on the effects of global warming on the East African island. <http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2006/10/22/global-warming-in-madagascar/>

“Bangladesh is going through turbulent times,” writes Rezwan after a weekend of violent protests, charges of government corruption, and widespread anxiety over who will next run the nation. One blogger goes so far as to bid farewell to Bangladeshi democracy while others contemplate the possible call for martial law.



Featuring our friends and affiliates

Public Radio Exchange, “Generation PRX”:

StopBadware.org, “In-Depth Reports and Quick Reports":

Electronic Freedom Foundation, “FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project”:

Center for Social Media, “Fair Use and Documentaries in Court”:

Creative Commons, “ccMixter”:

Cambridge Community Television (CCTV), “Cambridge on YouTube”:




* November 3: Brick & Click: An Academic Library Symposium - Maryville, Missouri:

* November 3-8: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All - Austin, Texas:

* November 6-11: ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM) - Arlington, Virginia:

* November 6-17: Copyright Education Programs: Teaching the Ethical and Legal Use of Information - online:

* November 7-9: Third Annual Web 2.0 Conference - San Francisco, California:

* November 8-10: Sofia 2006: Globalization, Digitization, Access, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage - Sofia, Bulgaria:

* November 16-17: Conference: Software Patents: A Time for Change? - Cambridge, Massachusetts:

* November 16-17: 2nd International Symposium in Media Informatics: Cow Paths: Agency in Social Software - Bonn, Germany:

* November 17-18: Futures of Entertainment - Cambridge, Massachusetts:

* November 22-24: UOC UNESCO Chair in eLearning Third International Seminar: Open Educational Resources: Institutional Challenges - Barcelona, Spain:

* November 26-28: Engage: Interaction, Art and Audience Experience - Sydney, Australia:

* November 27-30: Second International Conference on Cyber Law – ICCY II - St. George's Bay, Malta:

* December 4-5: Harnessing the Power of Grey: Eight International Conference on Grey Literature - New Orleans, Louisiana:

* December 4-6: 3rd International Conference on Technologies for Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment - Darmstadt, Germany:

* December 4-6: Joint International Conference on CyberGames and Interactive Entertainment 2006 (CGIE2006) - Fremantle, Western Australia:

* December 6: The Internet: Power and Governance in a Digitised World - Oxford, United Kingdom:

* December 6-9: INFOCOM 2006 - Kolkata, India:

* December 8-9: UNC Social Software Symposium - Chapel Hill, North Carolina:

* December 11-12: LeWeb3: Third Les Blogs Conference - Paris, France:

* December 11-13: Mobile Learning in Higher Education - Charlotte, North Carolina:



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The Filter is a publication of the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School.
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Last updated

January 16, 2008