Volume 54 Number 1 : Special Issue
Editor’s Note: Curated Issue of Information & Culture: A Journal of History
“This special issue of Information & Culture brings together a curated set of previously published articles from the last two decades of the journal’s more than fifty-year history. These articles represent the wide scope of actors, disciplines, and viewpoints that have helped make the journal the space in which to frame and debate the nature of the information domain from a historical perspective. In new and thought-provoking essays accompanying the original articles, the authors look back on the contribution that these articles made to the intellectual life and growth of the journal and its subject matter.”
Revisiting Archival History
Richard J. Cox
The Failure or Future of American Archival History: A Somewhat Unorthodox View
Richard J. Cox
Originally published: Volume 35, Number 1, 2000
The quality of research on American archival history has been uneven and the quantity not very impressive. This essay reviews some of the highlights of American archival history research, especially the growing interest in cultural and public history that has produced some studies of interest to scholars curious about the history of archives. The essay also focuses more on why such research still seems so far removed from the interests of most archivists. The essay will consider some hopeful signs, such as the reemergence of records and recordkeeping systems as a core area for study, for a renewed emphasis on American archival history. While much needs to be done, I am optimistic that the golden age of historical research on American archives lies ahead.
Back to the Future of Library History
Alternative Futures for Library History
Originally published: Volume 38, NUmber 1, Winter 2003
In response to a recent article by Donald Davis and John Aho, “Whither Library History?” Jonathan Rose discusses six possible alternatives for the future of library history. Library historians can either continue to produce a traditional kind of library history or reframe their subject as a subfield of information science, mainstream history, or the history of the book. They can also adopt the models of such critical theorists as Antonio Gramsci and Michel Foucault. Rose argues for a sixth option: to make library history a part of the new academic discipline of book studies.
Still Breathing: History in Education for Librarianship
History in the Library and Information Science Curriculum: Outline of a Debate
Originally published: Volume 40, Number 3, Summer 2005
Only a small minority of Library and Information Science (LIS) schools now schedule courses with a historical focus, and LIS faculty whose research specialty is history seem to be a vanishing breed. Yet some educators are committed to finding ways to preserve historical perspectives in the master’s degree curriculum. At the 2004 conference of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) the Historical Perspectives Special Interest Group (SIG) discussed strategies and subsequently carried on the debate in an online forum. Theoretical justifications for including history in the curriculum appealed to both generalist and specific rationales that argued for “history as story” as well as “history as process,” while practical suggestions included focusing on the preservation of documents, adopting the principles and methods of public history, and creating stronger avenues for collaboration among all historians of libraries and information science, no matter what their disciplinary affiliation. Overall, participants felt that in the current economic climate modestly
scaled efforts stood the best chance of success.
Information History: Searching for Identity
The History of Information Science and Other Traditional Information Domains: Models for Future Research
Originally published: Volume 46, Number 2, 2011
“It has been said that the historian is the avenger, and that standing as a judge between the parties and rivalries and causes of bygone generation she can lift up the fallen and beat down the proud, and by his exposures and his verdicts, his satire and his moral indignation, can punish unrighteousness, avenge the injured or reward the innocent.”
—Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (1931)
Revisiting “Shaping Information History as an Intellectual Discipline”
James W. Cortada
Shaping Information History as an Intellectual Discipline
James W. Cortada
Originally published: Volume 47, Number 2, 2012
Information is an emerging field of interest and concern to citizens, public officials, and scholars in many disciplines. This article acknowledges that problems exist in defining the subject of information history and argues the case that the topic can be addressed in a more coherent fashion. It then poses five questions for historians to investigate with respect to this field and proposes a sequence of three strategies and an agenda for what scholars can do to make this topic a new field of inquiry called “information history,” drawing upon the historiographical experiences of other areas of historical inquiry.
This issue of Information & Culture is now available on Project Muse.