Frequently Asked Questions
Please feel free to contact us if your question is not covered here.
When was the Berkman Center established?
In 1996, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson and Jonathan Zittrain established what was then called the "Center on Law and Technology" at Harvard Law School. The Center grew out of a seminar with Arthur Miller, David Marglin, and Tom Smuts in 1994 on
cutting-edge Internet issues. The Center set out "to explore and
understand cyberspace, its development, dynamics, norms, standards, and
need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions." A gift of $5.4 million in
1997 from the Berkman family--Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, and their son Myles--underwrote Nesson's vision. Lawrence Lessig
was awarded the Berkman professorship. In 1998, the Center changed its name to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
at Harvard Law School, and has steadily expanded ever since.
A special tenth anniversary report, Berkman@10: a decade of exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and pioneering its development features a lengthier history, as well as a full time line.
Is the Berkman Center part of Harvard Law School?
In May 2008, the Berkman Center was elevated to a University-wide Center, also known as Interfaculty Initiative. Until this point, we had been a research center at Harvard Law School. Today, we report to both the Provost of Harvard University and the Dean at Harvard Law School and are administratively housed at Harvard Law School.
Who are the Berkman Directors?
The Board of Directors shapes the Berkman Center’s overall vision and makes significant financial, research, academic, personnel, governance, and other overarching organizational decisions. Jonathan Zittrain is the Chair of the Board, and he is joined on the Board by Professors Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford, John Deighton, Terry Fisher, Charles Nesson, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, John Palfrey, and Stuart Shieber. Urs Gasser is the Executive Director, leading implementation of the vision and objectives set forth by the Board.
Can the Berkman Center help me obtain admission to Harvard?
The Berkman Center is not associated with admission to any of the academic programs at Harvard University. To learn more about these programs, please visit the admissions pages for each of Harvard's schools.
Can the Berkman Center provide me with a degree in Internet studies or some other type of degree or certificate?
The Berkman Center does not award degrees or offer courses. On occasion, Berkman faculty directors, independent of the Berkman Center, may teach executive-education courses or courses for Continuing Legal Education credit in addition to their regular course offerings at the respective schools.
Does the Berkman Center provide legal assistance?
As a general rule, the Berkman Center does not (and cannot) provide legal
assistance. However, Harvard Law School students occasionally
contribute to cyber-related cases as clinical work, under the supervision of a Berkman Center-affiliated faculty member.
For local area residents in need of legal assistance, we suggest that you visit the website of the Attorney General of Massachusetts.
Does the Berkman Center take policy positions?
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society does not take an institutional position on matters of policy. However, it encourages its faculty, fellows, staff, and community members to express their viewpoints, and invites in-depth conversations on controversial issues. Our goals are to stimulate informed analysis and to catalyze the expression of diverse opinions.
How can I get involved with the Berkman Center?
There are innumerable (and overlapping) ways to get involved with the Berkman
Center--as a financial supporter, an intern, a fellow, or a
conference participant, to name a few.
Details on research and employment opportunities, mailing lists, and more can be found under the Get Involved tab.
Can you host me as a visiting researcher for a few weeks to a few months?
The Berkman Center does not currently run any formal application-based programs for people to come
and spend short periods of time here to do their own research..
We do have public events programming for which no formal relationship is required for participation: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/. Conversations are far-ranging, and attending them is a great way to meet folks in the Berkman community and learn more about the ideas and goings on around here.
The various libraries at Harvard each have different channels and routes to provide access into them. Information about access into Langdell, the Harvard Law School Library, is here. Information about admissions to Harvard College libraries is here.
I see you have people who are called faculty associates and affiliates. May I be considered for one of these roles?
Faculty associates and affiliates are appointed by invitation from senior staff and faculty directors, though there are no independent application processes for these categories of affiliation. These roles include a range of wonderful people, from long-time collaborators to new friends, and are based around common agendas and aspirations. Like fellowships, each relationship is unique, and the modes of engagement with the Berkman community vary. There are times we will consider a fellowship applicant for one of these roles instead of a fellowship based on ideas, goals, constraints, and opportunities that are communicated through the application process.
Who handles press inquiries?
Inquiries are currently being handled by the Center's core staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a brief description of your story, your contact info, and your deadline.
How do I contact people affiliated with the Berkman Center?
If you are a member of the press with a query, please send an email with a brief description of your story, your contact info, and your deadline to email@example.com.
Otherwise, please see our people directory for individual email addresses.
How do I find out about upcoming events?
Information about upcoming events can be found under the Events tab.
Can you help me follow up with a conference presenter/speaker?
We are ready to help you follow up with one of our conference presenters/speakers. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that briefly identifies whom you wish to contact and why.
Where do I find more information about the Berkman Center?
This website is the most abundant and up-to-date source of information about
the Berkman Center, its objectives, and its endeavors.
A special tenth anniversary report, Berkman@10: a decade of exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and pioneering its development is also an excellent source of information about the Center.
You can also sign up for email alerts about Berkman Center projects, etc. under the Get Involved tab.
What are your funding and support policies?
The Berkman Center's funding and support policies appear here.