New Instructor to Join SJSU iSchool’s Award-Winning Faculty

Darra Hofman

The San José State University School of Information announces the addition of Darra L. Hofman, a new tenure-track faculty member that will join its diverse and award-winning faculty.

Hofman said she was interested in advancing her career in academia at the iSchool because she wanted to work at a place where she could prioritize teaching as well as research. “I love teaching and think that one of the great privileges of this profession is having the opportunity to learn with and from students,” she said. “What I’m most excited about is joining such a collegial faculty!”

Drawing upon her expertise in digital preservation, digital archives and digital records, Hofman will initially teach two core courses in the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program: INFO 200 Information Communities and INFO 284 Digital Curation.

Hofman’s research and teaching interests are in investigating the impact of emerging technologies, such as blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. She helped develop a blockchain course for the iSchool, and collaborated with former iSchool Director Sandra Hirsh and iSchool Lecturer Sue Alman on Blockchains for the Information Professional—an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant funded project aimed at gaining a better understanding of blockchain technology and its potential for libraries and their communities of all sizes and populations.

In addition, Hofman worked with iSchool Professor Patricia Franks on the InterPARES project, a multi-national, interdisciplinary research project exploring issues concerning trust and trustworthiness of digital records and online data. “InterPARES created a true community of researchers on every continent, in a range of disciplines, where none existed prior. That community has been leading the conversation around digital records for decades,” Hofman explained.

When asked why privacy and transparency in digital recordkeeping are especially relevant today, Hofman responded: “Individuals are now subject to near continuous digital surveillance, not just by Big Brother, but by everyone and their brother. Meanwhile, governments, corporations and other institutions—those we expect to be transparent—are increasingly opaque, sometimes under the guise of privacy, sometimes through sheer complexity,” she said, adding, “It’s critical that we understand what’s at stake with decisions about digital privacy and transparency, and move towards more just ways of making those decisions.”

Hofman holds a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Law, Science, and Technology from Arizona State University and expects to complete her PhD in Library, Archival and Information Studies, specializing in archival science, and focusing on the intersection records, law, and technology from the University of British Columbia in spring 2020. She also holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Kentucky.

Hofman will begin her new position as a tenure-track faculty member at the iSchool in the fall 2020 semester.