For Immediate Release
Contacts: David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — We live in a sea of information as never before, but how can we find what we need when we need it, and how do we know it’s accurate? How do we keep our private information private while reducing barriers to information about the affairs of government? And how can we develop and use new information tools to improve the lives of people everywhere?
These are among the most pressing questions emerging from the launch of the Future of Information Alliance (FIA) at the University of Maryland. Created to help identify challenges and opportunities arising from the evolving role of information in our lives — and then to serve as a catalyst for research, innovation and action — the FIA, through a series of programs, meetings and online discussions, has generated a list of 10 “Priorities for the Future of Information,” posted online at https://www.fia.umd.edu/priorities.
Taken together, these priorities comprise an agenda for the future of information. They are listed below, and anyone wishing to take part in extending the conversation can do so by tweeting with the two hashtags #FIAumd and #priorities.
Those tweets will appear, along with the list of priorities and related links, at http://www.fia.umd.edu/priorities.
How can private information be secure in a networked world?
How can we identify accurate information and reliable sources?
Can the digital divide be reduced to foster opportunity for all?
How can knowledge about evolving resources be improved?
How can different cultures better understand each other?
How can barriers to information about government be reduced?
What business models will support content creation and access?
How can research across disciplines help tackle the big issues?
How can expert information be translated for broad use?
How can people use available tools together to aid humankind?
“The national conversation and priorities being considered by the Future of Information Alliance are among the most essential ones our digital and global society must wrestle with in the decade ahead,” said Michael Levine of Sesame Workshop, which is an FIA Founding Partner.
Patrick O’Shea, Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, applauds the FIA’s aim of bringing diverse disciplines together to consider these issues. “Grand challenges demand bold actions,” said Dr. O’Shea. “We need innovative thinkers working together, envisioning, researching, and creating the future of information.”
The 10 priorities identified by the FIA follow from the first steps in the Alliance initiative, including a week of thought-provoking events on and off the University of Maryland campus in the fall of 2011. These involved leading innovators from Google, Microsoft and Twitter — the FIA’s inaugural “Visiting Future-ists” — plus experts from the University of Maryland, partners from prominent cultural institutions and government agencies, a brainstorming board drawn from across the University of Maryland campus, and hundreds of faculty, students and staff.
These 10 priorities represent the most salient themes emerging both from that initial week of programs and from subsequent meetings, online discussions, and comments posted to the FIA website via Twitter. They are issues that affect us all — in private and public life, in the workplace and classroom, and across a wide array of academic disciplines. They are being disseminated now to serve as a spur for discussion that is broadly inclusive and for research that extends beyond narrow domains of expertise.
About the Future of Information Alliance
The Future of Information Alliance was launched in November 2011 with a week of events on and off the University of Maryland College Park campus that featured three “Visiting Future-ists” — leading innovators from Google, Microsoft and Twitter — who joined UMD experts in brainstorming issues and solutions with hundreds of faculty, staff and students. These “Visiting Future-ists” were: Dan Russell, Google’s “director of user happiness”; Mary Czerwinski, manager of research on human-computer interaction at Microsoft; and Abdur Chowdhury, former chief scientist at Twitter. The conversation also extended off campus with an event at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center and a program on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5.
Representatives of the FIA’s founding partners also took part in these brainstorming activities. These Founding Partners: the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, the Newseum, Sesame Workshop, the U.S. National Park Service, the Barrie School, the Online Academy, WAMU 88.5., and — the most recent addition — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and the State of Maryland.
The Future of Information Alliance is co-directed by Allison Druin, associate dean for research in Maryland’s iSchool, and Ira Chinoy, associate professor in the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism.
With facilitation from the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research, the FIA was created to serve as a catalyst for dialogue across disciplines and to promote research on issues related to the evolving role of information in our lives. By identifying shared challenges and encouraging innovative solutions, the Future of Information Alliance seeks to facilitate a future in which information in all its forms can be an effective resource for everyone.