Howard Besser

Office hours: Th 5-6PM, 314 South Hall, 643-7365 and by appointment
Paul Peters dies 11/18/96
address and travel schedule
list of recent publications
Writings on Social Effects of Information Technologies
Distance-Independent Learning activities
Work on Multimedia DBs

Howard Besser ( is Visiting Associate Professor at UC Berkeley's School of Information Management & Systems, where he teaches, does research, and supervises a grant examining a multi-institution digital library project. From 1994-96 he was on the faculty of the University of Michigan's School of Information where he headed a committee developing a curriculum in multimedia and digital publishing. He still holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position there. He has also been an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh,

Dr. Besser is also actively involved with museums. He has served on the Management Committee of the Museum Educational Site Licensing Project since its inception. For several years he was in charge of long-range information planning for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and for many years he headed information technology for Berkeley's University Art Museum.

He travels a lot, speaks frequently at professional conferences, gives workshops on Image Databases about half a dozen times a year, and consults for libraries, museums, and other institutions. For several years he has served as co-chair of the American Library Association's Technology & the Arts Interest Group (co-sponsored by the Association of College & Research Libraries and the Library Information Technology Association). From January thru May of 1995 he taught a distance learning class in both Ann Arbor and Berkeley simultaneously, where students in both locations used multimedia and networks to collaborate on projects.

See what's planned at upcoming conferences and what he's learned at selected conferences

Howard's three main interest areas are Multimedia Databases (particularly in cultural institutions), the social effects of information technology, and the design of digital documents. He is currently working on a book on Image Databases as part of the ASIS Monograph series, as well as a book on the social effects of information technology. Under a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to the University of Michigan to revamp curriculum, Howard chaired a subcommittee that examined the creation and design of digital documents, and another committee that was designing a new Information Studies Media Lab. He also worked on a task force examining the archiving of digital information (sponsored by the Commission on Preservation & Access and the Research Libraries Group), and has participated in a group developing a set of standard metadata to describe Network Objects (sponsored by NCSA and OCLC).

Social Effects of New Information Technology

Versions of some of his recent papers and talks on the social effects of new information resources:
  • Documentation on his Winter 1995 course on the Impact of Multimedia and Networks
  • 1995 conference on Ethics and the Internet and images from Howard's presentation
  • Other interesting sites

    Distance Learning

    Howard edited a Perspectives issue on distance education for the Journal of the American Society for Information Science which appeared in Nov of 1996. In Winter 1995 he taught a course on the Impact of Multimedia and Networks in which students in both Ann Arbor and Berkeley used a wide variety of technologies to interact with one another both in class as well as to collaborate on projects.

    Multimedia Databases

    Here are some of his current and recent multimedia database activities:

    1996 Ann Arbor T-Shirt Exhibtion
    Rants on current events (including the Unabom)
    interesting Web sites
    additional interesting Web sites prepared for 7/18/95 talk to Korean visitors
    Course material from previous multimedia classes
    Loki's HomePage
    Impact on Haas Server