Recounting Algorithms

A Workshop on Critical Algorithm Studies in the Library

University of Toronto Mississauga Library

M̶a̶y̶ ̶7̶-̶8̶,̶ ̶2̶0̶2̶0̶ (canceled)

Workshop Canceled

After much deliberation, the workshop organizers have concluded that uncertain conditions regarding international travel, social distancing, and public health restrictions on multi-person gatherings render practical scheduling of a follow-up physical conference impractical. Accordingly, we are formally canceling the “Recounting Algorithms” event. We do not take this decision lightly, but do so out of concern for the safety, time, and mental well-being of the workshop community during uncertain times.


The workshop program will remain published online to allow conference speakers and participants to demonstrate their acceptances had the event not been canceled.

Call for Proposals

How can libraries and archives best contribute to the emerging critical discourse on algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence? Recounting Algorithms is a two-day workshop, supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources and hosted by the University of Toronto Mississauga Library, that aims to enrich the intersections of critical algorithm studies and academic librarianship.

Efforts to historicize, culturally situate, and foreground algorithmic systems as manifestations of bias and power have flourished recently. Work in this area has contributed important insights into the often oppressive operational conditions of systems used to automate tasks such as hiring, criminal risk assessment, supply chain management, web page ranking, and surveillance. The robustness of this growing field of inquiry is demonstrated in the varied institutional backgrounds of those who have contributed to it—they include journalists, artists, advocates, and academic researchers from across the disciplinary spectrum.

Librarians and archivists are beginning to incorporate aspects of this critical discourse through projects that advance algorithmic literacy and initiatives, like Information Maintainers, that emphasize the intersection of information technology, data governance, and social justice. Relatedly, initiatives such as Emulation as a Service and Collections as Data suggest new services and infrastructures that might facilitate analysis of algorithmic systems.

We invite proposals for pedagogical resources, creative projects, and library services that explore how libraries can support and build on investigations of algorithmic systems (including machine learning and AI) and their enabling social conditions. While proposals should be oriented toward the library as a context for sustaining and supporting instruction and critical inquiry, we encourage submissions from non-librarians, particularly from educators, researchers, graduate students, artists, journalists and advocates. Potential themes include but are not limited to:

Invited workshop attendees will present proposals (in draft or prototype form) and participate in workshop activities to further develop their projects. Projects will be shared as an online resource following the workshop.



Submissions should include a project abstract (500-word max) and bio (50-word max) for each presenter. If submitting with co-authors, please limit the group to no more than three presenters. Please submit all materials via email by February 14, 2020 (deadline extended). Email with additional questions.



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