Breaking News for Media Downloaders
Users of KaZaa, Direct Connect, and other peer-to-peer networks,
watch out! At press time, the Recording Industry Association of America
filed an additional 532 lawsuits against individuals who allegedly
illegally distributed copyrighted material using peer-to-peer networks.
The lawsuits are presently considered “John Doe” suits
because they were filed without actually naming specific individuals
but through identifying them by their IP addresses. Because of previous
rulings on privacy, the RIAA will be able to subpoena identifying
information only now that the suits have been filed. The RIAA will
work to settle the cases if possible.
Technology and the Humanities:
Not an Oxymoron
When some people think of English majors, the perception may be of
ink-stained fingers and eyesight strained from poring over the pages
of Dickens, Shakespeare, and the like. And for many, “technology”
and “the humanities” seem incompatible, if not downright
antithetical. Yet for Matthew Kirschenbaum, assistant professor
of digital media in the Department of English, technology is a significant
component of his teaching and scholarship.
“New technology has revolutionized the way we understand
texts. Instead of reading something with a defined beginning, middle,
and end, cybertexts invite readers to play with and manipulate them,”
said Kirschenbaum. “There are literary works specifically
created to be experienced online and incorporate text, sound, image,
and video, in a sense redefining what we know ‘reading’
For creative types, the Internet is a new medium in which to explore
and reconfigure traditional forms of artistic expression—or
even invent new genres. “There’s a new form of poetry
centered around cell phone text messaging,” noted Kirschenbaum.
“The challenge for poets is that the technology limits you
to 160 characters.”
Kirschenbaum incorporates technology into his courses. Students in
his upper-level English course, “Computer and Text,” can
check out readings for the day and discussion topics on the course
blog. They can also surf his personal blog, which highlights his research
interests and allows for an expanded range of intellectual conversation.
“Having course material online fits into my students’
world much better,” he said. “They’re online 24
hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, a week into the semester,
and there were already 70 comments on the course blog.”
Kirschenbaum became interested in digital media while in graduate
school at the University of Virginia, where he worked with the William
Blake Archive. This project placed poet, printer, and engraver William
Blake’s illuminated printing—a technique combining words
and illustrations in etchings—online, allowing scholars and
students access to Blake works previously housed only in museums.
You can visit his blogs online via www.otal.umd.edu/~mgk/blog.
Person Identifiers Keep Track of Individuals at the University
By Barbara Hope
Numbers assigned to keep track of individuals? Sounds almost Orwellian,
doesn’t it? At the University of Maryland, these numbers—called
“person identifiers”—are far less sinister. They
help you register for class, check your grades, and see your financial
aid status. University staff can use them to help you when you have
questions, make sure you’re taking the right courses for your
major, and see that you get the paycheck for your campus job. Generally,
your person identifier is your Social Security Number (SSN)—but
all that is changing. The university is implementing changes where
two different kinds of person identifiers—your Directory ID
and your University ID (U ID) Number—will be used.
may have already used your Directory ID without even knowing it.
Most people’s Directory IDs are part of their e-mail address:
their first initial and part of their last name. Directory IDs are
between three and eight alphanumeric characters long and can be
used, in combination with a password, to access university systems
like Testudo while you’re an active student. The Directory
ID and Password combination will gradually replace the SID and PIN
combination for logging in to university systems over the next few
semesters. After you graduate, it is possible that your Directory
ID could be reassigned to someone else.
Over time, your U ID Number will replace your SSN as the primary
person identifier used on university records. Each employee and
student has been randomly assigned one of these nine-digit numbers.
Each number is unique and, unlike your Directory ID, can never be
reused. Your U ID Number links your database records, making it
easier to access your information.
“For a long time, Social Security Numbers were used as primary
identifiers because they were a logical choice—everyone has
one and no two are the same!” said Dave Robb, Registrar. “Social
Security Numbers will still be required for employees and will soon
be required as a condition of admission for students, but over time
will no longer be the primary identifier. SSN is used for administering
financial aid programs, complying with state and federal reporting
requirements, generating federal tax and financial aid reports/forms,
and exchanging student data between post-secondary institutions. But
in today’s Digital Age, we are committed to protecting the privacy
of our students and staff and preventing identity theft, which is
why this change is so important.”
Beginning in June 2003, incoming students have had their U ID Numbers
displayed on the front of their student ID card. Current students
can check to see what their Directory ID and U ID Number are by
and selecting the link entitled Search for Your University Directory
Entry by UMID/SID & PIN.