Research Overview

The Center will provide research findings to our stakeholders and public by way of a series of 'white papers' and also published journal articles. The Center exists and will share resources within its network of Centers so as to leverage the power of combined sets of output.

Current Scholarly Foci

Privacy/Data Management/Surveillance

There exists a growing consensus that the twenty-first century will be defined by increasingly far-reaching surveillance and the need for privacy protections. We explore and engage in scholarly research on the many ways that people alter their behaviors when under surveillance, and we aim to explore the many implications and privacy concerns tied to the many emerging modes of data or movement tracking within and across sectors of business, education, and health. We take a special interest in how data are used, how to use data for positive ends while protecting the individual rights of average citizens, and also what data get collected as part of day to day life in this increasingly digitized and data-driven world.  

Media Freedom, Expression, and News Manipulation that can Disrupt Democratic Processes

Leaked data alongside purposeful disinformation campaigns are powerful tools gaining influence in political processes in different parts of the Western world.  Many of these attacks are covert, raising the question of how scholars and citizens can detect these incursions in real time. At the Center, we consider the nature of ‘data’ in an information-warfare environment, analyze Russian global information warfare, and consider the growing role of news manipuation in political processes and in the related attitude change among citizens.  

Digitization of Materials and Stories

Archival work is important across sectors (e.g., arts, humanities, the sciences) and debates around how to save data, what gets recorded, and whose voices are privileged in archival processes abound. Some of the world's most important data are not available to the people who can use those data (e.g., the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental impact statements that Google recently digitized so that we can analyze them computationally). Along with archiving artifacts or digitizing paper-based records, the digitizing of stories is a distinct means for recording experience and raising awareness around the globe. At the Center we promote scholarly activity and broad awareness of the power in contemporary archival work, as well as the profound importance of visual media, sound technologies, and digital storytelling. 

The Digital Divide and Differences in Infrastructure around the Globe

CDSDS maintains a focus on Cuba as an international test case for the study of technology in emerging societies, but around the globe there are ongoing changes and challenges for under-connected populations. While focused on matters of informed citizenry, population behavior, and how Cubans adapt to the introduction of global information systems in a relatively condensed time frame, we are committed to addressing challenges for other communities as well, exploring issues of access, inequality, and information-seeking in the Southwest region, on the U.S./Mexico border, and around the globe. 

Digital Arts, Museums, and Culture

CDSDS engages questions of computational art, contemporary museums, and culture. We embrace and engage art as having profound impact aesthetically and experientially, but also interrogate the artistic and humanistic aspects that are central in the development of things like games, maps, robots, wearable technologies, interactive displays, augmented and virtual reality experiences, and multimedia productions.

A Selection of Recent Research and Community Projects

Catherine Brooks, the former Director of CDSDS, has a relevant publication entitled "Disciplinary Convergence and Interdisciplinary Curricula for Students in an Information Society" in the Journal Innovations In Education & Teaching International (IETI).  It is available at: Focused on student data privacy, she also wrote this proceedings article with CDSDS postdoctoral scholar Betsy Williams and iSchool colleague Diana Daly: Most recently, she published "How algorithms discriminate based on data they lack: Challenges, solutions, and policy implications" with co-authors Williams and Shmargad, work that is now published in the Journal of Information Policy.

Advisory board members Jane and Derek Bambauer also have a nice selection of recent work, to include:

Bambauer, Jane: The Relationships Between Speech and Conduct, 49 UC Davis L. Rev. 1941 (2016). Available at:

Bambauer, Derek: Secrecy is Dead - Long Live Trade Secrets, 93 Denv. L. Rev. 833 (2016). Available at:

Yotam Shmargad, also a member of the CDSDS Faculty Advisory Board, has written with a co-author, "Social Visibility and the Gifting of Digital Goods," a publication that can be found in the Proceedings of the 2015 ACM on Conference on Online Social Networks. Also, he gets a mention here: "Samara Klar and Yotam Shmargad, at the University of Arizona, carried out a controlled, randomized experiment that addresses confounds inherent in large-scale studies of pre-existing social network data and extends this line of research to preference formation."

Craig Smith, Founder of one of our Partner Centers has published in Communication Law Review, Volume 12, Issue 2 (2015), work that can be found at Additional white papers and other materials relative to the First Amendment can be found on the Center's web pages: