Is beautiful really usable? (9/17); Curated by the Crowd (9/24); A Global Research Agenda for Children’s Rights

September 12, 2013
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Upcoming Events / Digital Media
September 12, 2013
berkman luncheon series

Is beautiful really usable? Understanding how aesthetics and usability influence user experience.

Tuesday, September 17, 12:30pm ET, Harvard Law School.


Ever come across a product that looked beautiful but was awful to use? Or stumbled over a something that was ugly as hell but just did exactly what you wanted? Ever wondered how these factors work together, and how they influence the experiences we create? Product usability and aesthetics are coexistent, but they are not identical. In this talk I will give you an overview over existing research in this field and present the latest findings that show how usability, aesthetics and affect work together to create great - or not so great - experiences.

Javier Bargas-Avila holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and works as Senior User Experience Researcher & Manager at Google (Switzerland). Before joining Google he was the manager of the HCI lab at the University of Basel (Switzerland) from 2004 to 2011. He published over 20 peer reviewed papers in HCI journals and conferences covering topics such as user satisfaction, mental models in website perception, first visual impression of websites or webform usability. Since 2011 he is part of the YouTube UX research team, where he currently focuses on internationalization, monetization and analytics. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Curated by the Crowd: collections, data, and platforms for participation in museums and other institutions.

Tuesday, September 24, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


Curarium is a collection of collections, an “animated archive,” designed to serve as a model for crowdsourcing annotation, curation, and augmentation of works within and beyond their respective collections. A web-based platform, Curarium aims to construct sharable, media-rich stories and elaborate arguments about individual items as well as groups of items within a corpora. The first project to be ingested into Curarium is Villa I Tatti’s Homeless Paintings of the Italian Renaissance collection, a unique archive of photographs of “homeless” paintings assembled by art historian Bernard Berenson. Taking the collection and its metadata out of VIA and putting it into Curarium will allow engagement with a wider audience, which will then identify, classify, describe and analyze the objects in the collection, as well as reconstruct the stories of objects that have either disappeared or been destroyed."

Jeffrey Schnapp is the Faculty Director of metaLAB, and a Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and in the Department of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design.

Matthew Battles is the Associate Director of metaLAB and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Pablo Barría Urenda holds a degree in Architecture by the Federico Santa María Technical University in Valparaíso, Chile, and a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special event

A Global Research Agenda for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age

Monday, October 7, 6:00pm ET, Harvard Law School.


Worldwide, children’s digital access and literacy is growing apace. Yet many of the creative, informative, interactive and participatory features of the digital environment remain substantially underused, and this is a particular challenge in lower-income countries and among socially excluded children. On the other hand, the internet is compounding offline risks and negative experiences such as unwanted sexual solicitation, bullying and harassment, and exposure to pornography and other potentially harmful materials. Drawing on the framework of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, this discussion will critically examine the state of play regarding children’s rights in the digital age in order to identify the research and policy priorities. Sonia Livingstone will argue that the time has come to conduct robust, cross-nationally comparative research to guide policy and practice in maximizing the opportunities and minimizing the harms associated with ICT for children around the world.

The discussion will include responses from representatives of Pew Internet, FOSI, UNICEF, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.


Sonia Livingstone is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, and author or editor of seventeen books.


Stephen Balkam: For the past 30 years, Stephen Balkam has had a wide range of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in the both the US and UK. He is currently the Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Urs Gasser is the Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and a Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School. Amanda Lenhart is the senior researcher, director of youth and technology research at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. UNICEF: Representative from UNICEF TBA. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special event


Thursday-Friday, October 24-25, Boston Public Library.


On October 24-25, 2013 the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will bring together librarians, archivists, and museum professionals, developers and technologists, publishers and authors, teachers and students, and many others to Boston, MA to celebrate the DPLA’s successful April 2013 launch, its recent milestones, and its future at the first annual DPLAfest.

DPLAfest 2013 — a two-day series of events free and open to the public — will include a reception at the Boston Public Library on the evening of Thursday, October 24 (the reception had been originally planned for April 18, 2013, but was postponed in light of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings on April 15). On Friday, October 25, participants will gather at Northeastern University and the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) for a full day of workshops, discussions, and other hands-on activities. Registration is now open. more information on our website>


RB211: Bruce Schneier on Surveillance and Security


Revelations of the NSA’s data surveillance efforts have raised serious questions about the ethics and necessity of violating privacy that have been bubbling under the surface for some time. Efforts to monitor communication are nothing new, but electronically mediated communication has increased the amount of information being shared, and the possibilities for eavesdropping are endless. But there's a trade off. People tolerate incursions into privacy for greater security or even convenience: health care, transportation, public safety, or any number of web utilities we use on a daily basis. Bruce Schneier is an author, Berkman fellow, and security technologist. He recently sat down with David Weinberger to talk about the positives and perils of privacy violation. audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

Local, national, international, and online events that may be of interest to the Berkman community:

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Last updated

September 12, 2013