Seminar Information

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SI 760: Information Policy Seminar
Prof. Jeff MacKie-Mason
Fall 1998: Monday 4-7pm
311 West Hall

I have put the official information and requirements for the course on this page. Other pages present the class schedule, reading resources, Internet tools,  and student-written papers.


We will be studying current policy issues related to the development of modern information networks and digital information production and distribution.  Some questions we will address are:


I assume that everyone taking this class is familiar with Internet resource discovery tools, and with authoring in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). In case you need a bit of help, some introductory and reference materials are collected for you here.


  1. Class discussion (40%)
  2. Two short discussion memos (15% each), and two peer reviews (of a second memo; required but ungraded except for peer pressure). The first memo is due 21 September; the second due date is staggered throughout the term.
  3. A group term project, due by 5pm, 14 December. (30%).
Memos and term papers must be submitted electronically, as HTML documents. They will be posted on the class server for everyone to read. As an experiment in collaborative teaching technology, we will be using the TopClass (TM) server for posting materials.  You must submit them as follows:
  1. Post the file to the TopClass (TM) Web server.  There are instructions for doing so.
  2. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to link from one document you create to another you create when both are stored on the TopClass server (you can embed links to documents elsewhere on the Web, however).  I recommend trying to structure your papers in a single document (you can create chapters for the term paper by using cross-reference links within the document to a table of contents, for example).  Another possibility is to post your documents to some other Web server, then just submit a short file to the TopClass server explaining that the main document(s) is stored elsewhere, and providing a link.
Click here to see a more detailed discussion of the assignments.

Materials and Starting Points

The two most important resources for you to start with are WWW servers maintained by me and Dean Hal Varian (SIMS, Berkeley). Mine contains over 7000 links to Telecom Information Resources on the net; Hal's contains all of the interesting materials on the Economics of the Internet that he has found on the net.

 I have collected a number of interesting articles and commentaries from various electronic mailing lists and other places. They are collected in a Hypermail archive where you can look through them by subject, author or date. This is a good place to browse to get some ideas about various policy and economic debates taking place.

There are  interesting related courses at other universities.  Their Web pages often provide good links to relevant materials, and ideas for projects.  Here are a few to get you started:

Prof. Jessica Litman at Wayne State University has put together a much more extensive collection of links to related courses, with a strong emphasis on law.

Topics and Schedule

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