Dr. Eleanor Mattern, faculty member at the School of Computing and Information, was recently appointed Director of the Sara Fine Institute. In her current work, Mattern, who holds a PhD in Library and Information Sciences, is focused on open data about our communities and on building capacity for libraries to help the public to access, use, and benefit from civic data and information. With colleagues at the School of Computing and Information and at the Western Pennsylvania Research Data Center, she is the recent recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to support this work.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to hold this role and to work with colleagues at the School of Computing and Information to host rich programming for the University community,” said Mattern. “The Sara Fine Institute will enable us to engage with scholars and professionals whose work focuses on the social implications — both positive and negative — of digital technology, on human rights and social justice, on the creation of socially-conscious, anti-racist, and inclusive technologies. The Institute is committed to raising the visibility of University of Pittsburgh research and teaching on social, ethical, and policy issues in technology at the University of Pittsburgh and to fostering local action and study.”
The Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior and Technology was founded in 1998 to honor Dr. Sara Fine (1932-2012), a former member of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. Dr. Fine brought her background as a licensed psychologist to her research, teaching, and publications in the field of information science to investigate the psychological and sociological effects of new technologies. The Institute established in her honor promotes social research on science and technology and coordinates programming and speakers.
In past years, the Sara Fine Institute has brought Dr. Alondra Nelson, Dr. Lucy Suchman, Dr. Christine L. Borgman, and others to the University of Pittsburgh. Over the academic year 2020-2021, The Sara Fine Institute will host a lecture and discussion series on social justice and technology. Announcements about invited speakers will be made in the fall 2020 semester.