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Information & Culture: A Journal of History

Vol. 36 (2001) through current issue

Formerly Libraries & Culture, through volume 41, no. 2, Spring 2006 (E-ISSN: 1534-7591, Print ISSN: 0894-8631).

Information and Culture: A Journal of History explores the interactions of people, organizations, and societies with information and technologies. Social and cultural context of information and information technology, viewed from an historical perspective, is at the heart of the journal's interests.

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Inside Roman Libraries

Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity

George W. Houston

Libraries of the ancient world have long held a place in the public imagination. Even in antiquity, the library at Alexandria was nearly legendary. Until now there has been relatively little research to discover what was inside these libraries, how the collections came into being and evolved, and who selected and maintained the holdings. In this engaging and meticulously researched study, Houston examines a dozen specific book collections of Roman date in the first comprehensive attempt to answer these questions.

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JSTOR

A History

Hal Varian

Ten years ago, most scholars and students relied on bulky card catalogs, printed bibliographic indices, and hardcopy books and journals. Today, much content is available electronically or online. This book examines the history of one of the first, and most successful, digital resources for scholarly communication, JSTOR. Beginning as a grant-funded project of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at the University of Michigan, JSTOR has grown to become a major archive of the backfiles of academic journals, and its own nonprofit organization.

Roger Schonfeld begins this history by looking at JSTOR's original mission of saving storage space and thereby storage costs, a mission that expanded immediately to improving access to the literature. What role did the University play? Could JSTOR have been built without the active involvement of a foundation? Why was it seen as necessary to "spin off" the project? This case study proceeds as an organizational history of the birth and maturation of this nonprofit, which had to emerge from the original university partnership to carve its own identity. How did the grant project evolve into a successful marketplace enterprise? How was JSTOR able to serve its twofold mission of archiving its journals while also providing access to them? What has accounted for its growth? Finally, Schonfeld considers implications of the economic and organizational aspects of archiving as well as the system-wide savings that JSTOR ensures by broadly distributing costs.

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Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America

Edited by Christine Pawley and Louise S. Robbins

For well over one hundred years, libraries open to the public have played a crucial part in fostering in Americans the skills and habits of reading and writing, by routinely providing access to standard forms of print: informational genres such as newspapers, pamphlets, textbooks, and other reference books, and literary genres including poetry, plays, and novels. Public libraries continue to have an extraordinary impact; in the early twenty-first century, the American Library Association reports that there are more public library branches than McDonald's restaurants in the United States. Much has been written about libraries from professional and managerial points of view, but less so from the perspectives of those most intimately involved—patrons and librarians.
            Drawing on circulation records, patron reviews, and other archived materials, Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America underscores the evolving roles that libraries have played in the lives of American readers. Each essay in this collection examines a historical circumstance related to reading in libraries. The essays are organized in sections on methods of researching the history of reading in libraries; immigrants and localities; censorship issues; and the role of libraries in providing access to alternative, nonmainstream publications. The volume shows public libraries as living spaces where individuals and groups with diverse backgrounds, needs, and desires encountered and used a great variety of texts, images, and other media throughout the twentieth century.

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Library Trends

Vol. 54 (2005) through current issue

Library Trends is an essential tool for professional librarians and educators alike. Every issue explores critical trends in professional librarianship, and includes practical applications, thorough analyses, and literature reviews. Each issue brings readers in-depth, thoughtful articles, all exploring a specific topic of professional interest. Every year, Library Trends covers a wide variety of themes, from special libraries to emerging technologies.

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Making Institutional Repositories Work

Quickly following what many expected to be a wholesale revolution in library practices, institutional repositories encountered unforeseen problems and a surprising lack of impact. Clunky or cumbersome interfaces, lack of perceived value and use by scholars, fear of copyright infringement, and the like tended to dampen excitement and adoption. This collection of essays, arranged in five thematic sections, is intended to take the pulse of institutional repositories—to see how they have matured and what can be expected from them, as well as introduce what may be the future role of the institutional repository. Making Institutional Repositories Work takes novices as well as seasoned practitioners through the practical and conceptual steps necessary to develop a functioning institutional repository, customized to the needs and culture of the home institution. The first section covers all aspects of system platforms, including hosted and open-source options, big data capabilities and integration, and issues related to discoverability. The second section addresses policy issues, from the basics to open-source and deposit mandates. The third section focuses on recruiting and even creating content. Authors in this section will address the ways that different disciplines tend to have different motivations for deposit, as well as the various ways that institutional repositories can serve as publishing platforms. The fourth section covers assessment and success measures for all involved—librarians, deans, and administrators. The theory and practice of traditional metrics, alt metrics, and peer review receive chapter-length treatment. The fifth section provides case studies that include a boots-on-the-ground perspective of issues raised in the first four sections. By noting trends and potentialities, this final section, authored by Executive Director of SPARC Heather Joseph, makes future predictions and helps managers position institutional repositories to be responsive change and even shape the evolution of scholarly communication.

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Monitoring Movements in Development Aid

Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures

Casper Bruun Jensen

In <I>Monitoring Movements in Development Aid</I>, Casper Jensen and Brit Winthereik consider the processes, social practices, and infrastructures that are emerging to monitor development aid, discussing both empirical phenomena and their methodological and analytical challenges. Jensen and Winthereik focus on efforts by aid organizations to make better use of information technology; they analyze a range of <I>development aid information infrastructures</I> created to increase accountability and effectiveness. They find that constructing these infrastructures is not simply a matter of designing and implementing technology but entails forging new platforms for action that are simultaneously imaginative and practical, conceptual and technical. After presenting an analytical platform that draws on science and technology studies and the anthropology of development, Jensen and Winthereik present an ethnography- based analysis of the mutually defining relationship between aid partnerships and infrastructures; the crucial role of users (both actual and envisioned) in aid information infrastructures; efforts to make aid information dynamic and accessible; existing monitoring activities of an environmental NGO; and national-level performance audits, which encompass concerns of both external control and organizational learning.Jensen and Winthereik argue that central to the emerging movement to monitor development aid is the blurring of means and ends: aid information infrastructures are both technological platforms for knowledge about aid and forms of aid and empowerment in their own right.

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Paper Machines

About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929

Markus Krajewski, translated by Peter Krapp

Why the card catalog--a “paper machine” with rearrangeable elements--can be regarded as a precursor of the computer.

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portal: Libraries and the Academy

Vol. 1 (2001) through current issue

Focusing on important research about the role of academic libraries and librarianship, portal also features commentary on issues in technology and publishing. Written for all those interested in the role of libraries within the academy, portal includes peer-reviewed articles addressing subjects such as library administration, information technology, and information policy. In its inaugural year, portal earned recognition as the runner-up for best new journal, awarded by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ). An article in portal, "Master's and Doctoral Thesis Citations: Analysis and Trends of a Longitudinal Study," won the Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research from the Library Research Round Table of the American Library Association.

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Reading Publics

New York City’s Public Libraries, 1754-1911

Tom Glynn

On May 11, 1911, the New York Public Library opened its “marble palace for book lovers” on Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street. This was the city’s first public library in the modern sense, a tax-supported, circulating collection free to every citizen. Since before the Revolution, however, New York’s reading publics had access to a range of “public libraries” as the term was understood by contemporaries. In its most basic sense a public library in the eighteenth and most of the nineteenth century simply meant a shared collection of books that was available to the general public and promoted the public good. From the founding in 1754 of the New York Society Library up to 1911, public libraries took a variety of forms. Some of them were free, charitable institutions, while others required a membership or an annual subscription. Some, such as the Biblical Library of the American Bible Society, were highly specialized; others, like the Astor Library, developed extensive, inclusive collections. What all the public libraries of this period held in common, at least ostensibly, was the conviction that good books helped ensure a productive, virtuous, orderly republic—that good reading promoted the public good._x000B__x000B_Tom Glynn’s vivid, deeply researched history of New York City’s public libraries over the course of more than a century and a half illuminates how the public and private functions of reading changed over time and how shared collections of books could serve both public and private ends. Reading Publics examines how books and reading helped construct social identities and how print functioned within and across groups, including but not limited to socio-economic classes. The author offers an accessible while scholarly exploration of how republican and liberal values, shifting understandings of public and private, and the debate over fiction influenced the development and character of New York City’s public libraries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries._x000B__x000B_Reading Publics is an important contribution to the social and cultural history of New York City that firmly places the city’s early public libraries within the history of reading and print culture in the United States._x000B_

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