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Our Tools and Our Values

Our Tools and Our Values

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The digitization of all aspects of our lives presents an ongoing challenge for values-led organizations like public broadcasters, advocacy organizations and libraries. The software and systems we use to manage our operations often embed values that contradict our stated values as organizations - systems surveil users counter to our values of respecting user privacy, software manipulates user behavior contravening our values of user autonomy and intellectual freedom, for example. We can take a first step towards resolving the conflicts between technology and values in auditing our technological environments and moving towards values aligned alternatives. But a deep shift requires work in creating an alternative technological infrastructure that's driven by public values rather than profits. What would a comprehensive digital public infrastructure look like, and how might it transform the library? How are academic libraries envisioning and engaging to create values-aligned platforms for open scholarly exchange?

Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman is an associate professor of public policy, communication, and information, as well as director of the UMass Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure, focused on reimagining the internet as a tool for civic engagement. Prior to coming to UMass Amherst, Zuckerman was at MIT, where he served as director of the Center for Civic Media and associate professor of practice in media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab. While at MIT, Ethan served on the Provost’s Ad Hoc Task Force on The Future of Libraries, chairing the working group on Community & Relationships. He is an author of books and articles, including an August 2021 piece in Nature on opening up research and monitoring of social media companies. His podcast, Reimagining the Internet, gives us windows through conversations with scholars, activists, journalists and entrepreneurs into ideas and projects designed to reshape social media. Ethan’s resume is wide-ranging, and his thinking is infused with connections between what can be imagined and what can be created to advance public knowledge and the common good.


Martha Fuentes-Bautista is Senior Lecturer, Director of Engaged Research and Learning with the Department of Communication, and a faculty affiliate in the School of Public Policy at UMass Amherst. Her research focuses on digital inequalities, media and Internet governance, and the role of media advocacy networks and media activism in shaping digital inclusion and media policy in the U.S. and Latin America. Her work promotes engaged scholarship that builds capacities and enables dialogue between scholars, students, user communities, practitioners, and policy-makers to create inclusive solutions to digital inequalities and communicative injustices in our media system. She has published articles in academic journals on participatory community development of broadband, social justice approach to internet governance and pedagogy, and media literacy in higher education, among others. In 2020 Martha was awarded a UMass Amherst Open Education Initiative grant to develop open educational resources and a textbook on media industries and institutions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
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UMass Amherst Libraries