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

 

New Issue: Information & Culture

A new issue of Information & Culture is out! Articles in 52-2:

• NORAD’s Combat Operations Center
• Nineteenth-Century Croatian Female Writer Dragojla Jarnević
• Elizabeth Cleveland Morriss, the Literacy and Adult Elementary Education Movement in North Carolina
• The Kinsey Institute’s Sexual Nomenclature: A Thesaurus
• Public Library Movement, the Digital Library Movement, and the Large-Scale Digitization Initiative
• The Internet in Argentina and Brazil

New Issue: Information & Culture: A Journal of History

Current Issue: Volume 52 Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2017)

Paper Dancers: Art as Information in Twentieth-Century America
Whitney E. Laemmli

Around 1940, a New York City organization known as the Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) began a decades-long effort to promote a system known as “Labanotation.” Designed to capture the ephemeral, three-dimentional complexity of dance on the flat surface of paper, the DNB believed that Labanotation held the key to modernizing the art form. Focusing on the period between 1940 and 1975, this article catalogues the Dance Notation Bureau’s efforts to make dance both “literate” and “Scientific” and explores how these efforts contributed to broader transformations in the definitions of creativity, preservation, authorship and dance itself.

A Cost-Saving Machine: Computing at the German Allianz Insurance Company
Corinna Schlombs

This article provides a close study of information processing at Allianz, a West German insurance company, in the two decades following World War II. It contributes an international perspective to the history of information by analyzing corporate information technology decisions outside the United States and by tracing exchanges about information technology between insurance managers in the United States and Germany. The article argues that Allianz managers, claiming that electronic information processing would reduce office operating costs, meticulously sought to document these savings to legitimate their computer acquisition in an otherwise adverse economic and political climate.

A History of Information in the United States since 1870
James W. Cortada

This article summarizes the findings of a book-length study of how Americans have used information since the 1700s, with a primary emphasis on the post-1870 period. The author argues that residents of North America were extensive users of information in their work and in their public and private lives. Reasons are offered for that dependence on information: high levels of literacy, economic prosperity, open political system, and considerable personal freedom to do as one wanted. The article describes findings on information use in the private sector, public sector, and in private life, including the American experience using the Internet.

Using Historical Methods to Explore the Contribution of Information Technology to Regional Development in New Zealand
Janet Toland and Pak Yoong

This article examines the role that information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in regional development and their relationship with factors such as regional learning, innovation, culture, and internal and external regional information networks. Historical methods are used to build up a picture of significant changes that have taken place within two contrasting regions of New Zealand between 1985 and 2005. The interdependent relationships between the development of hard ICT-based networks and regional social networks are explored.

The Octagonal Pavilion Library of Macao: A Study in Uniqueness
Jingzhen Xie and Laura Reilly

Privately owned by the Macao Chamber of Commerce, the Octagonal Pavilion Library was the first free Chinese library service as well as the most used Chinese public library in Macao from its establishment in 1948 until the late twentieth century. With a total surface area of 1,130 square feet, it is possibly the smallest library in the world. Despite its diminutive size, its educational and cultural impact on the community make it unique. Its relationship to “the foreign-Chinese divide,” to Ho Yin (Macao’s most important twentieth-century historical figure), and to other libraries in Macao are of particular interest. Its architecture, classification system (centered on the Three People’s Principles), and non-technical operations in the current technical environment also make it a meaningful library service case study.

Find the current issue on Project MUSE.

Purchase this issue at the University of Texas Press.

New Issue: Information & Culture

Information & Culture Volume 51, Issue 4, Fall 2016

Articles

The History, Geography, and Economics of America’s Early Computer Clusters, Part 2: Explanations
Florencia Garcia-Vicente, Daniel D. Garcia-Swartz, and Martin Campbell-Kelly

Technological Innovation, Commercialization, and Regional Development: Computer Graphics in Utah, 1965–1978
James R. Lehning

Blurred Lines: National Security and the Civil-Military Struggle for Control of Telecommunications Policy during World War II
Jonathan Reed Winkler

The Trial of Francisco Bilbao and Its Role in the Foundation of Latin American Journalism
Pablo Calvi

The Book and the Rocket: The Symbiotic Relationship between American Public Libraries and the Space Program, 1950–2015
Brett Spencer

Out of Control: Telephone Networks, Visual Documents, and Management of Business Conversations at Renault, 1911–1939
Alain P. Michel

New Issue: Information & Culture

Information & Culture
Volume 51, Issue 2, Spring 2016

ARTICLES

A Framework for Understanding Information Ecosystems in Firms and Industries
James W. Cortada

A Cowman’s-Eye View of the Information Ecology of the Texas Cattle Industry from the Civil War to World War I
David B. Gracy II
The Value Proposition of the Corporate Library, Past and Present
Alistair Black and Henry Gabb
Generations of Business Information, 1937–2012: Moving from Data Bits to Intelligence
Andrew Gross and Emeric Solymossy
Technology in Architectural Practice: Transforming Work with Information, 1960s–1990s
Katie Pierce Meyer
The Literature of American Library History, 2012–2013
Edward A. Goedeken

http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/journals/information-culture

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Journals Promotion Coordinator
University of Texas Press