LIBR 559T

Blockchain Technology for Information Professionals

cross-listed with ARST 575M

PRE and/or CO-REQUISITES: MAS and Dual Students, completion of the MAS core courses. MLIS students, completion of the MLIS core and of LIBR 579G or LIBR 516.

Goal: The goal of this course is to provide students with a foundational understanding of blockchains as socio-technical sytems, with recordkeeping at their core, said to establish trust at societal, institutional, informational and technical levels. Students will interact with and apply blockchain technology as a means of evaluating the relationship between trust and blockchain technology, and assess the role of the information professional in relation to requirements for trustworthy recordkeeping and effective information management in the context of blockchain technology.

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

Module 1: Foundations

  • Demonstrate an understanding of all of the salient features and architectures of blockchain technology (1.3)
  • Employ a blockchain wallet and simple scripts to conduct basic cryptocurrency transactions on a blockchain
  • Distinguish different types of blockchains, including differences and similarities between major blockchain platforms (1.3)
  • Critically evaluate notions, and the basis, of trust from different disciplinary perspectives (legal, historical, archival and technical), and through time, and how blockchain operates to solve problems of trust (1.3, 4.1)

Module 2: Blockchain Recordkeeping and Information Management

  • Identify how interacting layers in blockchains, in particular the keeping of records, contribute to the attainment of trust in the context of blockchains (1.3)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the main elements of an archival and diplomatics examination of records for trustworthiness and apply them to the evaluation of blockchain system designs (1.1, 1.3, 4.1)
  • Design and configure a basic blockchain network and appraise its operation in relation to principles of trustworthy recordkeeping and information management (4.2)
  • Critically assess the Crypto-Anarchist’s manifesto and the Cypherpunk manifesto in relation to the management of records and information and the role of trusted records repositories and the role of the records and information professional (1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 4.1, 5.1)

Module 3: Information Governance, Risk and Compliance

  • Critically evaluate discourse on privacy and transaparency in relation to blockchain technology and evaluate the implications for the design of blockchain systems (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 4.1)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of techniques of forensic analysis of blockchain transactions, including those used to trace cryptocurrency transactions (1.3)
  • Analyze blockchain transactions and critically evaluate the implications in relation to user privacy (4.2)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of laws and regulations applicable to blockchains and cryptocurrency tokens, and critically reflect upon these in relation to the notion of “code as law” (1.3)
  • Design and implement a smart contract and assess it in relation to the archival and diplomatic theory relating to records and trustworthy recordkeeping (4.2)

CONTENT:

Module 1: Foundations

  • Blockchain use cases related to archives and libraries
  • Features and architectures of blockchain technology
  • Different types of blockchains, including differences and similarities between major blockchain platforms
  • Notions of trust from different disciplinary perspectives (legal, historical, archival, technical)
  • How blockchains operate to solve problems of trust

Module 2: Blockchain Recordkeeping and Information Management

  • Interacting layers in blockchains, in particular the keeping of records, contribute to the attainment of trust in the context of blockchains
  • Main elements of an archival and diplomatics examination of records for trustworthiness and their application
  • Public Archives, long-term preservation and blockchains
  • The Crypto-Anarchist’s manifesto and the Cypherpunk manifesto

Module 3: Blockchain Information Governance, Risk and Compliance

  • Privacy and transaparency in blockchain technology
  • Forensic analysis of blockchain transactions
  • Laws and regulations applicable to blockchains and cryptocurrency tokens,
  • “code as law”
  • smart contracts