Rev. March 31, 2011

Paul Charles Schroeder
13 Hamlin Street, Orono, ME 04473 USA


University of Maine, Orono. 2003. Ph.D., Spatial Information Science and Engineering. Spatial Aspects of Metaphors for Information: Implications for Polycentric System Design.

Simmons College, Boston, MA. 1986. M.S., Library and Information Science.

Stanford University, Stanford, CA. 1969. M.A., Political Science.

University of Illinois, Urbana. 1968. B.A., Political Science. Highest Honors; Phi Beta Kappa; Merriam Awards in Political Science.

Current Activities and Goals

Between January, 2004 and December, 2010 my activities centered on knowledge acquisition and policy advocacy related to solid waste management in Maine. This focus began with questions related to the imposition of a large state-owned and privately-operated special waste landfill in Old Town, Maine (Juniper Ridge Landfill, formerly West Old Town Landfill). Motivation for this involvement stems from recognition of the unequal forces that tilt the public policy process against the interests of specific communities and the interests of the public at large. Ongoing efforts include the design and implementation of a graphic spreadsheet representing the flows of solid waste (material and financial) throughout the New England region.

Beginning January, 2011 my focus will be on documentation rather than advocacy related to the Juniper Ridge Landfill siting and operations process. Documentation project will span April, 2003 (announced closure of the Georgia Pacific mill in Old Town) through Dec. 21, 2010 (landfill gas supply contract signed between landfill operator and the University of Maine). Goals include establishing workable guidelines for community access to public information on complex policy issues, as well developing guidelines for community based document management.

My Ph.D. research proposes an alternative concept of information that emphasizes informational relationships over the prevailing notions of information as object or as resource. This view focuses on resonances among people who engage in a constant process of producing and sharing facts and ideas, and who are often related through small world connections and crooked, nonlinear paths. This concept has resulted in information visualization and management approaches that suggest the creation of question-centered learning environments. A summary of the concepts embodied is the workspace has been provided by Tony Judge in Polyhedral Pattern Language (draft).

People who interact with computer-based information systems are often members of communities, sometimes implicitly defined in terms of other people who may be asking similar questions or sharing similar goals. Serving the needs of communities is a neglected factor in the design of information systems. Greater concern is usually given to the needs of people as individuals, and also to those of corporate entities (governmental, commercial or non-profit). Because communities are often informal, ad hoc and not well defined, finding ways to support their processes of question definition and fact finding presents particular difficulties. On this topic, please see "Changing Expectations of Inclusion, Toward Community Self-Discovery."

Public processes surrounding controversial public issues often prematurely restrict alternatives in a pattern identified by Walter Dean Burnham as "the politics of excluded alternatives." Even when issues are well defined, there is often little room for creative public input. Public policy discourse ideally should be structured so that all participants have opportunities to learn more about the issues, the alternatives, their opponents and themselves. The role of mediating technologies is not yet well defined in these areas. Work is underway with the working title, "Informational Fairness Respecting Groups." A course is also being developed with the working title, "Documenting Public Controversies."


At present self-employed as community-based advocate for public access to information related to solid waste policies.

2008 - . Continuing Education Division, University of Maine, Orono. Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. Spring, 2008, INT490: Lies, Deception and Heroification.

2004 - . Honors College, Univ. of Maine, Orono. Adjunct Assistant Professor, Sept. 2004 - May 2006. Preceptor for HON 111 and 112, "Civilizations: Past, Present and Future, I & II." Fall 2005: "Making Sense of Categories" (Junior Tutorial).
Classified Bibliography:

Island Institute, Rockland, ME. GIS Intern, e-Atlas of the Gulf of Maine. Jan., 2000 - Dec., 2001.

Academic Computing Advisory Committee, Univ. of Maine. Staff Assistant. Sept., 1999 - June, 2001.

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. Consultant to Cultural Informatics Laboratory, sponsored by UNESCO Programme on Cultural Dimension of Development. June-July, 1997.

Moulton Library, Bangor Theological Seminary, Bangor, ME. Assistant Librarian. 1989-1995.

Fogler Library, Univ. of Maine. Humanities and Social Sciences Reference Librarian. 1986-1988.

Note: Graduate studies 1995-2000 were supported through fellowships and research assistantships provided by the Dept. of Spatial Information Science and Engineering; Graduate School, Dissertation Support Fellowships (2); and, New England and Maritime Provinces Fellowships (2).

Public Service

2004 - present. Grassroots advocacy on solid waste policy and public access to information issues in Maine. URL:

2009-2011. Archives Chair, American Society for Cybernetics.

2007-2008. Advisory Board Member, Posibilidad. URL:

2000 - 2004. Pine Tree Folk School HelpNet. Advisory Board member. Online discussion group, newsletter, regional meetings, technical support for small nonprofit organizations in their use of computers. URL:

1999 - 2004. Gulf of Maine Environmental Information Exchange (GoMINFOEX). Action Committee Member. Attended, contributed to and documented 14 meetings in various locations around the Gulf of Maine. URL:

1998. U.S. Geological Survey, National Spatial Data Infrastructure Benefits Programs. Program and proposal reviewer.

1998. Town of Orono, Maine. Member, Orono Readdressing Committee.

1997 - present. American Society for Cybernetics, archival projects group. Chair, 2009-2011.

1997-1999. Academic Computing Advisory Committee, Univ. of Maine. Graduate Student Member. Advises University of Maine Provost on campus-wide policies related to computer facilities and uses.

1997-1998. Historical Atlas of Maine. Participation in series of meetings exploring the feasibility of an historical atlas project. Outcome: Atlas is underway, projected completion 2005.

1995-1996. Bangor Area Information Resources Network (BairNet). Board Member and Information Resources Committee Chair.

1995-1996. PURE Legislative Institute: Telecommunications. Program Planning Committee for conference held Jan. 17, 1996, sponsored by Project for the Study of Public Regulation and the Environment.

1994-1995. Maine Academic and Research Libraries. President.

1994-1995. Intervenor representing Maine Library Association, Maine Library Commission, and Maine Educational Media Association in telecommunications regulatory proceedings before the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Outcome: establishment and public funding of Maine Schools and Libraries Network.

1994. Maine Academic and Research Libraries and Maine Library Association Government Documents Section. Coordinator of statewide conference, ;Public Access to Government Information Services. Augusta, ME, Dec. 2.

Refereed Publications

2001. "Gulf of Maine Environmental Information Exchange: Participation, Observation, Conversation." Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 28(6): 865-887. (With five co-authors). URL:

1999. "Changing Expectations of Inclusion, Toward Community Self-Discovery." Urban and Regional Information Systems Association Journal 11:2, 43-51. URL:

Conference Proceedings, Technical Reports and Other Publications

2007. "Memories of an American Boy: Abadan, 1958-1960." With photos by Charles Schroeder. Series of three contributions to URLs: Abadan in the '50s, Khuzestan, 1958-60, and Little Mother of Abadan.

2003. "A Resonance Model of Information and the Design of Question Spaces: A Report from New Directions Downeast." Colorado School of Mines Quarterly 103:1, 55-63. Unpublished revision, Aug. 2004: "Question Spaces, Discourse Engines and the Resonance Metaphor: Rethinking a Digital Library Initiative. URL:

2002. "Comment: Exploring Question-Centered Approaches to Establishing Learning Communities. Electronic Conference on Foundations of Information Science, 2002: The Nature of Information: Conceptions, Misconceptions and Paradoxes, ed. P.C. Marijun. Basle, Switz.: Molecular Diversity Preservation International.

2001. "A Grasshopper Reflects." In, Human Becoming, Becoming Human: Heinz von Foerster Festschrift, ed. Monika Broecker and Alexander Riegler. University of Vienna, H. von Foerster Archive. URL:

1999. "Exploring the Concept of Community Self-Discovery." Rural Connections 6:1 (Fall), 13-14. URL:

----. "Exploring the Negative Information Sciences." In, Doing the School for Designing Society and Doing Cybernetics, ed. S. Sloan, pp. 43-44. Urbana, IL: School for Designing a Society.

1998. "Access to Public Information: Who Will Control It?" The Dissident 4:1 (July/August), 10-11.

1997. "A Public Participation Approach to Charting Information Spaces." Auto-Carto 13, Seattle, WA, April. In, ACSM / ASPRS Annual Convention and Exposition Technical Papers, Vol. 5, pp. 244-253. URL:

----. "GIS in Public Participation Settings." University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Annual Assembly and Summer Retreat, Bar Harbor, ME, June 15-21. Proceedings online:

----. Technical Report to UNESCO and IGNCA Cultural Informatics Laboratory. New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Sept. 15. UNESCO UN Development Programme, Cultural Aspects of Development, Contract No. 391.028.7

1996. "Organizing Advocacy for Network Services in Maine." Internet Society, 6th Annual Conference, Montreal, June 25-28. In The Internet: Transforming Our Society Now (CD). URL:

----. "Criteria for the Design of a GIS/2." Working Paper for Workshop on Public Participation GIS, Orono, ME (July). URL:

----. "Report on Public Participation GIS Workshop." In, GIS and Society: The Social Implications of How People, Space and Environment Are Represented in GIS. National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, TR 96-7 (November). Santa Barbara, CA: NCGIA. URL:

----. "Panic and Unclosed Loops: Mutual Orientation in Public Spaces." In, Communication and Anticommunication 1, ed. F. Galuszka, 2 pp. [n.p.] Washington DC: American Society for Cybernetics.

----. "Paying the Bill for Going On-Line." Bangor Daily News (Op-Ed). Nov. 14 (With James Patton).

1993. "Introduction to Natural Magic." Interview with Heinz Von Foerster. Systems Reseatch 10:1, 64-79.

----. Yakshas: Essays in the Water Cosmology, by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Editor, new and revised edition. New Delhi: Oxford University Press and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.


2004 - present. Presentations have largely involved testimony and advocacy on solid waste and public information access issues in Maine.

2011. "Importance of Freedom of Access Laws for Journalists." Invited speaker, capstone class on investigative journalism, Prof. Paul Grosweiler. April 6.

2011. Panelist, "Living Downstream: The Juniper Ridge Landfill and the University of Maine." Feb. 3, Controversy Series.

2009. "Environmental Justice Aspects of the Juniper Ridge Landfill." Presentation, class on environmental justice, Prof. Darren Ranco, Univ. of Maine. Oct. 22.

2009. Plenary closing speaker. "Heinz von Foerster's Subversive Pathways to Learning." Learning: Fourth International Heinz von Foerster Congress, Vienna, Austria. Nov. 14, 2009. URL:

2007. “Heinz von Foerster: Anabasis, Inverting Glasses and the Frog's Eye View.” Systems Systemics: Third International Heinz von Foerster Congress, Vienna, Austria. Nov. 18, 2007. URL:

----. "Public Technologies and Local Issue Involvement," with Michele Masucci. Organizers Collaborative, Grassroots Uses of Technology, Lowell, MA. June 23, 2007. Session summary at:

2002. "Update on Participant Observatories." Ecological Understanding II: Design and Conversation, American Society for Cybernetics Annual Meeting, Santa Cruz, CA. June 13-16.

2001. "GIS and Privacy." Institute Fellows Workshop, Island Institute, Rockland, ME. Jan. 18.

2000. "Common Coordinates / Hands Around the Gulf." Graduate Seminar, Dept. of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, Univ. of Maine, Orono. Jan. 26.

----. "GIS and Information Networks Along the Coast." Maine GIS Users Group Annual Meeting, Augusta, ME, May 11.

----. "Spatial Organization of Knowledge and Action." Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, MA. Half-day workshop. Oct. 7.

----. "Down to the Basics: The Issue Plenary." Panelist. Out of the Fog 2: Plotting a Course for Information Exchange in the Gulf of Maine. Saint John, NB: Nov. 2-4.

1999. "Data, Data, Data Forum." Workshop convener. Maine GIS Users Group, Portland, ME, Jan. 15.

----. "Spatial Data Institutions and Community Building in Coastal Maine." Poster. Univ. of Maine Graduate Research Exposition, Orono, ME, March 19.

----. "Action Plan 3: To develop an independent information network for organizing the poor for economic human rights and environmental justice to counter isolation." Presenter. Information Management and Technology Use for Economic and Environmental Community Organizations, Philadelphia, PA, March 25-27.

----. "Common Coordinates: Interorganizational Network Mapping in the Gulf of Maine." Maine GIS Users Group, Nov. 5

----. "Internet Resources for Public Involvement in Environmental Decision Making." Class in Environmental Communication, Environmental Law and Policy Program, Univ. of Southern Maine, Gorham, Nov. 15.

1998. "Spatial Data Institutions Across Coastal Maine." The Atlantic Institute Fredericton NB, Feb. 20-21.

----. "Global and Local, Cultural Environments and Information Technologies." Session: Planning With or Away From Environmental Movements II: Ethical and Technological Issues. Association of American Geographiers Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, March 26.

----. "Writing Places Out of History." American Society for Cybernetics Annual Meeting, Santa Cruz, CA, April 3.

----. "Spatial Data Institutions and Community Building in Coastal Maine." Federal Geographic Data Committee Coordinating Groups Meeting Charleston, SC Sept. 22.

----. "Asserting New Rights to Know, Toward Community Self-Discovery." Empowerment, Marginalization and Public Participation GIS, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Santa Barbara, CA, Oct. 15-17.

----. "Spatial Data Sharing Across Coastal Maine." National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis Annual Assembly, Orono, ME, Dec. 4-6.

1997. "Best Practices Research on Change in the Nonprofit Sector: Incorporating Technological Innovation." Practitioner discussant. Maine Association of Nonprofits and Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, Orono, ME, Feb. 11.

----. "Choosing Technology for Distance Learning in Maine Schools." Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy, Orono, ME, April 17.

----. "Publishing Cultural Materials on the World Wide Web." Workshop on Multimedia Contents and Applications, Indira Ganhdi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, July 22.

----. "Two Models of Digital Library Development." Workshop on Multimedia Contents and Applications, Indira Ganhdi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, July 23.

----. "In Light of Coomaraswamy's Yakshas: Tokens of Sacred Space in the U.S. Domestic Landscape." Invited Lecture, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, July 24. URL:

----. "Extension of Network Services to Libraries in Maine." DelNet, Delhi Libraries Network, India International Centre Library, New Delhi, Aug. 8.

----. "Framework for Discussion: GIS Implementation and Applications." Maine Public Utilities Commission, Augusta, ME, Sept. 10.

1996. "Mapping Maine's Information Infrastructure: GIS Applications in Evaluating Public Access to Information Resources." GIS and Society: The Social Implications of How People, Space and Environment Are Represented in GIS. South Haven, MN, March 2-5.

----. "Design of Participant Observatories: Interactive Technology in Light of Second-Order Cybernetics." In Panel Ourobouratoria and Participant Observatories. American Society for Cybernetics Annual Meeting, Champaign, IL, March 7-12.

----. "Bangor Area Information Resources Network." Fearless Journey: Making E-Mail and the Internet Work for Your Non-Profit. MaineShare, 6th Annual Non-Profit Skills Workshop, Augusta, ME, May 11.

----. "Origins of NCGIA Initiative 19: GIS and Society." Workshop on Public Participation GIS, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Orono, ME, July 10-13.

----. "Public Participation GIS: Local and Regional Potential of Spatial Technologies." Atlantic Institute, 7th Annual Conference, Orono, ME, Sept. 19-21.

----. "Public Participation GIS: What It Could Mean for Maine Communities." Panel Chair, Community Building and GIS, Maine GIS Users Group, Augusta, ME, Dec. 12.

1995. "Consciousness and Computers." Discussant, Thinking Allowed Series, Univ. of Maine, Feb. 28.

----. "Library Perspectives on Public Access." State of Maine Leadership Technology Day, Augusta, ME, March 17.

----. "Workshop and Demonstration: Internet Access." World Community Day, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME, Aug. 6.

----. "Changing Policy Perspectives: Public Access." Panel Moderator, Maine I.S. On the Move: Government Technology Conference. Augusta, ME, Sept. 20.

----. "GIS Data: Fee or Free? An Open Access Perspective." Maine GIS Users Group Augusta, ME, Dec. 13.

1994. "Gopher for Kids." Session, Internet Resources for K-12. Maine Library Association Annual Meeting, May 22-24.

1991. "The Librarian in a Networked Environment." Maine Library Association Annual Meeting, Orono, ME, May.

Other Projects

2002 - 2003. "Visualizing a Digital Library for the Gulf of Maine Region." Participant. New Directions Downeast component of New Directions in the Earth Science and Humanities. Participation in two national and numerous regional and local meetings in effort to craft bridges in interdisciplinary teamwork across earth scientists and the humanities. URL:

2001. "Action Plan, 2001-2006: Public Response Input Form." Construction and maintenance on online input form for Gulf of Maine Council proposed 5-year plan. Jan. - July. URL:

2001. "Changing Places: Improving the Stakeholder Process to Enhance Environmental Values in Maine's Brownfield Redevelopment." Consultant, July-Nov. Focus on choice and development of digital technologies to support public process. Presented prototype digital map-based input interface for group awareness and decision.

2000. "Participants Map, Gulf of Maine Environmental Information Exchange." Prototype graphic interface showing geographic location of participants and projects, with links to project information. URL:

1999-present. "COAST-L Listserv." Initiated online discussion list for coastal users of GIS and related geospatial technologies. URL:

1998-1999. "Spatial Data Institutions and Community Building in Coastal Maine." Interviews of community based geospatial data users and producers, sponsored by Federal Geographic Data Committee, USDI Cooperative Agreement 98HQAG2143, Principal Investigator, Harlan J. Onsrud. Participant wrap-up meeting May 24, 1999, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor.


American Society for Cybernetics
Maine Freedom of Information Coalition
Pine Tree Folk School HelpNet


Maine Library Association and Maine Educational Media Association, Presidents' Award for Outstanding Service, 1995.