Campus & Community

Internet Conference explores Harvard’s digital identity

2 min read

The identity of Harvard, the University, is known and renowned around the world. But can the same be said about Harvard’s identity in the digital world? Where does the University stand within the current framework of technology and new media?

On Nov. 15-16, Harvard will hold the Fourth Harvard Conference on Internet & Society, a unique experiment in collaborative thinking about Harvard’s digital identity. Open to all Harvard faculty, administrators, students, staff, and alumni, the conference will feature presenters and panelists that include Provost Steven E. Hyman, President Emeritus Derek Bok, and Dean of the Business School Kim Clark.

“The Internet is transforming Harvard,” says John Palfrey, executive director of the University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, a partner in organizing the conference.” This conference goes well beyond the question of whether to wire classrooms. It’s about the values we want to express with the choices we’re making – and about where we want to go from here.”

The conference is structured so that the first day focuses inward, exploring Harvard’s identity and mission. The second day looks outward, asking what this identity means in the context of the Internet’s global arena. Conference panels will focus on issues ranging from the management of Harvard’s digital “brand” to the digital archiving of library materials to the creation of the University’s technical infrastructure.

Among the questions to be explored: What does it mean to be a member of the Harvard community when technology breaks down traditional barriers? What kinds of technology are we using within the Harvard system – and how is it changing the way we teach, learn, and connect? Should we make course materials and other educational resources globally available? How should we respond to the explosive controversies surrounding the ownership of digital content?

For more about the conference, visit Visitors will be able to access audio interviews with campus leaders and join in an online discussion using the Berkman Center’s “H2O” system. Open to all who wish to participate, the discussion will be seeded with new questions and topics each week leading up to the conference.