Information & Culture: New Book Reviews

Making IT Work: A History of the Computer Services Industry by Jeffrey R. Yost
Reviewed by Sarah A. Bell

The computer services industry has worldwide annual revenues of nearly a trillion dollars and employs millions of workers, but is often overshadowed by the hardware and software products industries. In this book, Jeffrey Yost shows how computer services, from consulting and programming to data analytics and cloud computing, have played a crucial role in shaping information technology—in making IT work… (MIT Press)

Weaving the Dark Web: Legitimacy on Freenet, Tor, and I2P, by Robert Gehl
Reviewed by Elinor Carmi

The term “Dark Web” conjures up drug markets, unregulated gun sales, stolen credit cards. But, as Robert Gehl points out in Weaving the Dark Web, for each of these illegitimate uses, there are other, legitimate ones: the New York Times‘s anonymous whistleblowing system, for example, and the use of encryption by political dissidents. Defining the Dark Web straightforwardly as websites that can be accessed only with special routing software, and noting the frequent use of “legitimate” and its variations by users, journalists, and law enforcement to describe Dark Web practices (judging them “legit” or “sh!t”), Gehl uses the concept of legitimacy as a window into the Dark Web. He does so by examining the history of three Dark Web systems: Freenet, Tor, and I2P… (MIT Press)

My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret Police File by Katherine Verdery
Reviewed by Kalpana Shankar

As Katherine Verdery observes, “There’s nothing like reading your secret police file to make you wonder who you really are.” In 1973 Verdery began her doctoral fieldwork in the Transylvanian region of Romania, ruled at the time by communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. She returned several times over the next twenty-five years, during which time the secret police—the Securitate—compiled a massive surveillance file on her. Reading through its 2,781 pages, she learned that she was “actually” a spy, a CIA agent, a Hungarian agitator, and a friend of dissidents: in short, an enemy of Romania. (Duke University Press)

New Issue: Information & Culture

Special Double Issue: Volume 53, Number 3 & 4 (October/November 2018)
(subscription)

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
Gemma Cirac-Claveras
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)
Gabor Szommer
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
Ulug Kuzuoglu
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.

Book Reviews:
A Note from the Senior Book Review Editor
Amelia Acker

Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing by Marie Hicks (review)
Megan Finn

Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America by Michael Z. Newman (review)
Roderic Crooks

The Economization of Life by Michelle Murphy (review)
Marika Cifor
p. 374-376

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.

CFP: Information & Culture: A Journal of History

http://www.infoculturejournal.org/submissions

Submissions
Information & Culture: A Journal of History welcomes submissions of research articles. Authors may submit a complete manuscript or may contact the editor with a proposal. You are encouraged to consult the journal’s home page, which gives an overview of the material published in Information & Culture.

Prospective authors should familiarize themselves with the broad topics covered by the journal (found on the about page) as well as the submission requirements and the peer review process. We expect authors to submit completed articles following all guidelines below. Papers that do not follow these guidelines will not be accepted for review. Please note, we do not accept papers that are currently under consideration for publication with another journal.

Content Requirements

  • Interpretive. Good history is about interpretation. Each article must have a historical thesis that is bolstered by an appropriate line of argument and credible evidence that is appropriately cited. Papers are expected to follow the methods of high-quality academic historical scholarship. Articles that are merely descriptive will not be accepted for publication.
  • Information History. All articles must be primarily historical in nature and primarily about information. If the relevance of information to the manuscript theme is not immediately clear, the author should add text as necessary to clarify the relationship, and to place the submission in a larger body of scholarship.
  • Language. Should be written in Standard English. Word choice should be precise and syntax should be clear. Articles written in a language other than grammatically correct English at a high academic level will not be considered.

Manuscript Requirements

  • Manuscript. Articles should typically range from 6,000-10,000 words. Longer articles will be considered in the context of whether the topic and treatment merits the extra length, and whether the journal has the space. Shorter articles may also be considered under certain circumstances.
  • Abstract. The article’s abstract should be no longer than 100 words and should be independent from the body of the article. Care should be taken to craft a clear and compelling abstract. Authors should bear in mind that the abstract is the first thing that the reader and any potential reviewers will see.
  • Keywords. Authors are encouraged to provide three to five keywords that capture the manuscript’s salient points. Keywords should be listed on a separate line on the title page.
  • Reviewers. Authors should submit, along with the manuscript, the names of at least two potential reviewers with expertise in the topic.
  • Endnotes. All citations should be provided as endnotes. Endnotes should be placed in a Notes section following the body of the manuscript. For a sentence with citations, there should be only one callout for all references cited within that sentence, and with few exceptions, that callout should be placed at the end of the sentence. Endnotes must be formatted electronically in MS Word and conform to “Humanities Style” in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Notes should include all bibliographic information required by that style.
  • Acknowledgments. Acknowledgments are not required, but when included, should appear at the beginning of the Notes as an unnumbered endnote
  • Cover Sheet. Include a seperate page with article title, author name, mailing address, phone number, fax number, email address, and a 50-word biographical statement. For blind review purposes, do not include personal or institutional information on any page of the manuscript itself, including the abstract.

Manuscript Format

  • MS Word document in Times New Roman 12-point font
  • Text should follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition
  • All text should be one and a half spaced, including headings, long quotations, endnotes, and captions
  • One-inch margins on all sides
  • Page numbers in the upper right margin
  • All copy aligned left; do not justify
  • Paragraphs indented five spaces (0.25”) with a single tab
  • An extra line of space should be inserted above and below extracts, subheads, and figure/table/image callouts, but not between paragraphs
  • One space only after each period at the end of a sentence
  • Include first name and/or initial(s) of all persons when referred to in the manuscript for the first time
  • Spell out the title of an organization when first referenced, with acronym in parentheses. Acronyms may be used in all subsequent references
  • Tables should be submitted as separate MS Word files

Photos and Illustrations

  • Permissions are required for all published images. Should the article be accepted for publication, it is the responsibility of the author to obtain official written permission to reprint an image from the copyright holder or owner, including preferred wording for crediting the source of the image. Any cost involved is the responsibility of the author.
  • Figure captions should always include a source attribution and a statement of permission to use the image. Images obtained at no cost should attribute the source “Courtesy of…” while permissions obtained for a fee should state the source and “Used by permission.”
  • All images (photos, maps, or illustrations) to be included with a manuscript should be noted in the cover letter.
  • Images should be submitted as separate files (one file per image). Images submitted in Word documents are not acceptable.
  • Each image file should be at least 300 dpi at the size at which it is to be published.
  • Grayscale images in TIFF format are preferred, but most standard formats will be accepted.
  • Figure callouts should be placed in the manuscript on a separate line as Figure X Here, or similar text.
  • Figure captions should be placed at the end of the manuscript, after the Notes section.
  • The editor will make the final determination as to which images, if any, will be published.

Special Notes and Recommendations:
Non-native English speakers preparing a manuscript for submission to Information & Culture may wish to utilize one of the many professional English language editing services that specialize in academic journal manuscript preparation. Clearly written manuscripts help editorial staff and peer reviewers better evaluate the paper for its content, reducing the time required for the review process and resulting in a more competitive submission overall.

Please note, however, that the use of editing services is at the author’s own expense and does not guarantee that the article will be selected for peer review or accepted for publication in Information & Culture.

Submission Procedure
Once the manuscript meets the guidelines above, please submit via email to iceditor@ischool.utexas.edu.

New Issue: Information & Culture

Volume 53, Number 2 (April/May 2018)
(subscription)

“Crises” in Scholarly Communications?: Maturity and Transfer of the Journal of Library History to the University of Texas, 1968–1976
by Maria Gonzalez and Patricia Galloway

“Save the Cross Campus”: Library Planning and Protests at Yale, 1968–1969
by Geoffrey Robert Little

Media Prophylaxis: Night Modes and the Politics of Preventing Harm
by Dylan Mulvin

Rethinking the Call for a US National Data Center in the 1960s: Privacy, Social Science Research, and Data Fragmentation Viewed from the Perspective of Contemporary Archival Theory
by Christopher Loughnane, and William Aspray

Book Reviews, Summer 2018

Read our latest book review of: The Intellectual Properties of Learning, by John Willinsky, reviewed by Jesse Erickson.

New Issue: Information & Culture

New Issue: Volume 53, Number 2 (April/May 2018)
(subscription)

“Crises” in Scholarly Communications?: Maturity and Transfer of the Journal of Library History to the University of Texas, 1968–1976
Maria Gonzalez and Patricia Galloway

“Save the Cross Campus”: Library Planning and Protests at Yale, 1968-1969
Geoffrey Robert Little

Media Prophylaxis: Night Modes and the Politics of Preventing Harm
Dylan Mulvin

Rethinking the Call for a US National Data Center in the 1960s: Privacy, Social Science Research, and Data Fragmentation Viewed from the Perspective of Contemporary Archival Theory
Christopher Loughnane, William Aspray

Recent Issue: Information & Culture

New Issue: Volume 53, Number 1 (January/February 2018)

“Crises” in Scholarly Communications? Insights from the Emergence of the Journal of Library History, 1947–1966

Maria Gonzalez and Patricia Galloway
p. 3-42

This study examines the first ten years of the journal now known as Information & Culture. Founded in 1966 as The Journal of Library History, the Journal has been shaped according to the values, habits, and competencies that its contributors brought to changing circumstances so as to transform the Journal into an erudite interdisciplinary publication distant from its beginnings as a compendium of entertaining vignettes and didactic notes on the writing and uses of library history. Historical perspectives are used to frame various crises in scholarly communications that are treated chronologically as they confronted the Journal, drawing on archival sources, secondary sources, interviews, participant observation by Gonzalez, and close reading of the publication to construct a narrative about the Journal in its relation to higher education, scholarly publication, and professional and disciplinary developments in librarianship and companion fields under the increasing influence of technology on these fields. The characters, actions, and settings are interpreted through the sociological lens of Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of social field, habitus, and multiple forms of actual and metaphorical capital request government.

Maria Elena Gonzalez, after a career in architecture and building, earned a PhD in Library and Information Science (2008) from the School of Information, University of Texas-Austin, and has taught in that field at Wayne State University and Rutgers University.

Patricia Galloway spent twenty years at the Mississippi Department of Archives and history before coming to teach courses on appraisal and digital archives at the School of Information, University of Texas-Austin. She holds PhDs in Comparative Literature (1973) and Anthropology (2004) from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Reading the Minor Forest Product bulletins of the Philippine Bureau of Forestry: a case study of the role of reference works in the American Empire of the early twentieth century

Brendan Luyt
p. 43-66

Empires are built around the control of information with an often-overlooked aspect of empire building being the construction of tools of reference. These tools incorporate with them in summary form the multiplicity of inscriptions that are a product of the empire’s epistemological operations. In order to shed some light on this face of empire, this article focuses on three readings of the minor forest products bulletins published by the Bureau of Forestry of the Philippines in the early twentieth century. The first of these sees the bulletins as demonstrating the Bureau of Forestry’s mastery of the forest domain in the face of natural and human resistance to its work. In the second reading, we can see the Bureau’s efforts to create and assist “botanical entrepreneurs” capable and willing to exploit forest products in an efficient manner. Finally, we can read the bulletins as particular manifestations of the botanical guide as a genre. In this case the bulletins created a series of “inscription clusters” that served to enhance the authority of the Bureau of Forestry as a mediator between users and the forests of the Philippines.

Brendan Luyt is Associate Professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He received both his MLIS and PhD degrees from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. He also holds a MA in Political Science from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency and the Information Work of the Nineteenth-Century Surveillance State

Alan Bilansky
p. 67-84

Private security contractor for business and government, Allan Pinkerton acted centrally in early chapters of the history of the security state. The operative and the report, Pinkerton’s principal surveillance technologies, are analyzed here in relation to each other and in their historical development as information technology, drawing on Pinkerton’s fictionalized accounts of cases, secret reports and other Agency documents. Pinkerton management was consistently preoccupied with strict compliance of operatives, their deployment in a network, and the regular submission of reports. This study suggests information can lead to uncertainty and the surveillance state was and is compartmentalized, entrepreneurial, and other-than-public.

Alan Bilansky holds a PhD in Rhetoric and Democracy from Penn State and an MSLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he consults with faculty about technology and occasionally teaches informatics. He is currently at work on a book examining the information practices of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency.

The Literature of American Library History, 2014 – 2015

Edward Goedeken
p. 85-120

This biennial review of the writings on the history of libraries, librarianship, and information surveys about 200 publications that were published in 2014 and 2015. The essay is divided into a number of specific sections including: academic and public libraries, biography, technical services, and the history of reading and publishing. It also contains a brief list of theses and dissertations that were completed in 2014 and 2015.

Edward A. Goedeken is Professor of Library Science and Collections Coordinator at the Iowa State University Library. Over the past twenty years he has maintained an ongoing bibliography of library history scholarship, and every two years crafts a review essay for Information & Culture on the most recent writings in this discipline.

This issue of Information & Culture is now available on Project Muse.

Book Reviews (reviews are open access)

The Econimization of Life, by Michelle Murphy, reviewed by Marika Cifor 

Michelle Murphy provocatively describes the twentieth-century rise of infrastructures of calculation and experiment aimed at governing population for the sake of national economy, pinpointing the spread of a potent biopolitical logic. Resituating the history of postcolonial neoliberal technique in expert circuits between the United States and Bangladesh, Murphy traces the methods and imaginaries through which family planning calculated lives not worth living, lives not worth saving, and lives not worth being born. The resulting archive of thick data transmuted into financialized “Invest in a Girl” campaigns that reframed survival as a question of human capital. The book challenges readers to reject the economy as our collective container and to refuse population as a term of reproductive justice. (Duke University Press)

A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age, by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman, reviewed by Edward Goedeken

The life and times of one of the foremost intellects of the twentieth century: Claude Shannon—the neglected architect of the Information Age, whose insights stand behind every computer built, email sent, video streamed, and webpage loaded. In this elegantly written, exhaustively researched biography, Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman reveal Claude Shannon’s full story for the first time.

Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost its Edge in Computing, by Marie Hicks, reviewed by Megan Finn

Marie Hicks explores the story of labor feminization and gendered technocracy that undercut British efforts to computerize. That failure sprang from the government’s systematic neglect of its largest trained technical workforce simply because they were women. Women were a hidden engine of growth in high technology from World War II to the 1960s. As computing experienced a gender flip, becoming male-identified in the 1960s and 1970s, labor problems grew into structural ones and gender discrimination caused the nation’s largest computer user—the civil service and sprawling public sector—to make decisions that were disastrous for the British computer industry and the nation as a whole. (MIT Press)

Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America, by Michael Z. Newman, reviewed by Roderic Crooks

Beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey and Pong in 1972, video games, whether played in arcades and taverns or in family rec rooms, became part of popular culture, like television. In fact, video games were sometimes seen as an improvement on television because they spurred participation rather than passivity. These “space-age pinball machines” gave coin-operated games a high-tech and more respectable profile. In Atari Age, Michael Newman charts the emergence of video games in America from ball-and-paddle games to hits like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, describing their relationship to other amusements and technologies and showing how they came to be identified with the middle class, youth, and masculinity. (MIT Press)

New Issue: Information & Culture

Current Issue: Volume 52, Number 3 (Aug/Sept 2017)
(abstracts available, full issue through Project Muse)

Computing and the Environment: Introducing a Special Issue of Information & Culture
Nathan Ensmenger and Rebecca Slayton

“From Clean Rooms to Dirty Water: Labor, Semiconductor Firms, and the Struggle over Pollution and Workplace Hazards in Silicon Valley”
Christophe Lécuyer

“Data, Power, and Conservation: The Early Turn to Information Technologies to Manage Energy Resources”
Julie Cohn

“‘Governmentalities’ of Conservation Science at the Advent of Drones: Situating an Emerging Technology”
Lisa Avron