Bourgeois Specialists and Red Professionals in 1920s Soviet Archival Development
Kelly A. Kolar
Immediately after the 1917 October Revolution the Bolsheviks began developing the most centralized archival system in the world, along with a new profession of “red archivists.” However, the development of archives and the archival profession in 1920s Soviet Union was not simply the top-down implementation of Bolshevik political ambitions portrayed in offi cial Soviet accounts and Cold War–era Western literature but an unexpectedly open negotiation of ideas and customs among actors with diverse professional and ideological backgrounds, including non-Marxist archival professionals, workers from other cultural professions, and young communists.
The Weather Privateers: Meteorology and Commercial Satellite Data
This article examines the changing framework for producing satellite weather data in the United States since the 2000s, from a government function to one increasingly carried out by the private sector. It explores the controversial attempts to commercialize the production of a particular data source (atmospheric profiles obtained with radio occultation)from the perspective of executives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), members of Congress, atmospheric and climate scientists, and the private sector. It addresses their opposing arguments by focusing, in particular, on the stresses and pressures within NOAA and its resistance to acquiring such data from commercial providers. In so doing, the article discusses the connections between commercial activities and meteorology and, more generally, the relations between science and commerce.
Parallel Expansions: The Role of Information during the Formative Years of the English East India Company (1600–1623)
This article examines the role of information in the early years of the English East India Company (EIC). It examines diff erent aspects of the organizational behavior of the EIC between the years 1600 and 1623 and shows the interplay between physical expansion and the transformation of information-handling practices from several perspectives. Although the focus is on a single organization, this case study provides insights into the informational challenges faced by early modern tradingcompanies and similar organizations coordinating operations on a global scale.-public.
Codebooks for the Mind: Dictionary Index Reforms in Republican China, 1912–1937
Faster access to information was an overwhelming concern for Chinese reformists during the Republican era (1912–1949). They claimed that the nonalphabetical nature of Chinese characters presented obstacles to indexing, a fundamental technology for effi cient information access and retrieval. In a matter of three decades, nearly one hundred new indices were invented for Chinese characters. Competition over which indices would prevail was fierce, especially among dictionary publishers, which stood to benefi t greatly in the nascent Chinese dictionary market. This article follows the two main publishing houses in China, Commercial Press and Zhonghua Press, that invented indices in order to dominate the market from the founding of the repub -lic in 1912 to the start of the war against Japan in 1937. As dozens of inventors of indices made clear, however, indexing technologies were situated within a larger social context, and the invention and destruction of indices were sites of political and fi nancial contestation.
A Note from the Senior Book Review Editor
Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing by Marie Hicks (review)
Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America by Michael Z. Newman (review)
The Economization of Life by Michelle Murphy (review)
A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni, Rob Goodman (review)
Edward A. Goedeken
This issue of Information & Culture is now available on Project Muse.