Director of the Berlin School for Library and Information Science
Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Humboldt University
Past Chair and Executive Director of the ISchools Caucus
Professor Michael Seadle has agreed to deliver a keynote address at IMCW2018.
Professor Seadle holds a PhD degree in History from the University of Chicago and an MS degree in Information Science from the University of Michigan. He is currently Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Humanities as well as the Director of the Berlin School of Library and Information Science (Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaft) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Professor Seadle serves as the past chair and executive director of ISchools Caucus comprising more than 50 ISchools around the world. Prior to his current position, Professor Seadle served in various administrative capacities at the University of Chicago and Cornell University, among others, and carried out sponsored projects (LC, NSF, IMLS, DFG). He is the former editor of the peer-reviewed journal “Library Hi Tech” published by Emerald. He has written more than 100 papers and authored books on long term digital archiving, computing management and copyright.
Title: Truth in Context: Managing the Integrity of Research
Abstract: Truth depends on culture. For thousands of years people believed in the truth of the Ptolemaic system where the sun and planets all orbited the earth, and it had theological roots that served at the time as a theoretical justification. Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei suggested a different (and mathematically simpler) truth that defied both tradition and theology. The Church made Galileo recant. Ultimately Galileo’s model won because it could demonstrate practical advantages. In the 20th century Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity offered a theoretical reversal of the Galilean model, since any point (including an accelerating body) could act as the reference point. Galileo’s model survived anyway, not because it was necessarily true, but because it brought practical advantages. The lesson here is that “truth” depends on results.
This lesson is important when assessing information in a so-called “post-truth” era. Information that has practical consequences is easier to judge as true or false. The further topics diverge from hands-on reality into the realm of preference and opinion, the harder it becomes to measure the truthfulness of information. Sources help, but consequences may help more. Sources generally belong to the information management process, but consequences are often merely implicit or left out. This can make a difference in a post-truth world.