Infrastructural Thinking: A Pedagogical Approach to Information Technology and Archives

DeNeve Plaza Room A/B

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

9:00 am – 10:30 am

Led by Jean-François Blanchette of University of California Los Angeles.

What technical skills must future archivists possess as they enter a workplace suffused through and through with information technologies? The question is obviously fundamental to the evolution and continued relevance of the field. This plenary will report on a pedagogical approach developed during the past 8 years at UCLA by Jean-François Blanchette, building on earlier work by Phil Agre. The approach is founded on two related principles: (a) digital information must be understood in terms of both its logical and material dimensions; (b) archivists must become familiar with the fundamentals of the computing infrastructure, which serves to mediate the relationship between these two dimensions. Such an approach provides a general framework for the analysis of the computing ecosystem, as well as powerful insights into its evolution, enabling future archivists to anticipate the technological curve ahead.

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