Information Access Seminar

Mindtools: Why tools mean as much as data for information literacy.

2014-02-21T15:10:00 - 2014-02-21T17:00:00
Friday, February 21, 2014
3:10 pm - 5:00 pm
Daniel Russell, Google

What does it mean to be literate at a time when you can search billions of texts in less than 300 milliseconds?

Although you might think that “literacy” is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understanding. Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it — knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, how to interpret the texts you find, how to organize and use the information you discover, how to understand your metacognition — these are all critical parts of being literate as well. In this talk Russell will review what information literacy (“informacy”) is today and show how some very surprising and unexpected skills will turn out to be critical in the years ahead.

We have created powerful new tools for the mind. Thing is, those tools are constantly evolving and changing even as the things they operate on change as well. This puts us in the position of having to learn how to find tools, and understanding the substrate on which they work. Literacy in these days is not just reading and writing, but also understanding what knowledge tools are available, and how they can be used in interesting new ways.

Daniel Russell is Google’s Über Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness in Mountain View. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science, specializing in artificial intelligence, until he realized that magnifying and understanding human intelligence was his real passion. Twenty years ago he foreswore AI in favor of HI, and enjoys teaching, learning, running, and music, preferably all in one day. He worked at Xerox PARC before it was, and was in the Advanced Technology Group at Apple, where he wrote the first 100 web pages for using SimpleText and a stone knife. He also worked at IBM and briefly at a startup that developed tablet computers before the iPad.

Last updated: March 26, 2015