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The End of Ownership

Personal Property in the Digital Economy

Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz

If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don’t own those purchases, you merely license them. That means your ebook vendor can delete the book from your device without warning or explanation—as Amazon deleted Orwell’s 1984 from the Kindles of surprised readers several years ago. These readers thought they owned their copies of 1984. Until, it turned out, they didn’t. In The End of Ownership, Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz explore how notions of ownership have shifted in the digital marketplace, and make an argument for the benefits of personal property. Of course, ebooks, cloud storage, streaming, and other digital goods offer users convenience and flexibility. But, Perzanowski and Schultz warn, consumers should be aware of the tradeoffs involving user constraints, permanence, and privacy. The rights of private property are clear, but few people manage to read their end user agreements. Perzanowski and Schultz argue that introducing aspects of private property and ownership into the digital marketplace would offer both legal and economic benefits. But, most important, it would affirm our sense of self-direction and autonomy. If we own our purchases, we are free to make whatever lawful use of them we please. Technology need not constrain our freedom; it can also empower us.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

Charleston Conference Proceedings, 2014

Over one hundred presentations from the thirty-fourth Charleston Library Conference (held November 5–8, 2014) are included in this annual proceedings volume. Major themes of the meeting included patron-driven acquisitions versus librarian-driven acquisitions; marketing library resources to faculty and students to increase use; measuring and demonstrating the library's role and impact in the retention of students and faculty; the desirability of textbook purchasing by the library; changes in workflows necessitated by the move to virtual collections; the importance of self-publishing and open access publishing as a collection strategy; the hybrid publisher and the hybrid author; the library’s role in the collection of data, datasets, and data curation; and data-driven decision making. While the Charleston meeting remains a core one for acquisitions, serials, and collection development librarians in dialog with publishers and vendors, the breadth of coverage of this volume reflects the fact that the Charleston Conference is now one of the major venues for leaders in the information community to shape strategy and prepare for the future. Over 1,600 delegates attended the 2014 meeting, ranging from the staff of small public library systems to CEOs of major corporations. This fully indexed, copyedited volume provides a rich source for the latest evidence-based research and lessons from practice in a range of information science fields. The contributors are leaders in the library, publishing, and vendor communities.

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Indexing It All

The Subject in the Age of Documentation, Information, and Data

Ronald E. Day

In this book, Ronald Day offers a critical history of the modern tradition of documentation. Focusing on the documentary index (understood as a mode of social positioning), and drawing on the work of the French documentalist Suzanne Briet, Day explores the understanding and uses of indexicality. He examines the transition as indexes went from being explicit professional structures that mediated users and documents to being implicit infrastructural devices used in everyday information and communication acts. Doing so, he also traces three epistemic eras in the representation of individuals and groups, first in the forms of documents, then information, then data. Day investigates five cases from the modern tradition of documentation. He considers the socio-technical instrumentalism of Paul Otlet, "the father of European documentation" (contrasting it to the hermeneutic perspective of Martin Heidegger); the shift from documentation to information science and the accompanying transformation of persons and texts into users and information; social media's use of algorithms, further subsuming persons and texts; attempts to build android robots--to embody human agency within an information system that resembles a human being; and social "big data" as a technique of neoliberal governance that employs indexing and analytics for purposes of surveillance. Finally, Day considers the status of critique and judgment at a time when people and their rights of judgment are increasingly mediated, displaced, and replaced by modern documentary techniques.

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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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Information and Society

Michael Buckland

We live in an information society, or so we are often told. But what does that mean? This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers a concise, informal account of the ways in which information and society are related and of our ever-increasing dependence on a complex multiplicity of messages, records, documents, and data. Using information in its everyday, nonspecialized sense, Michael Buckland explores the influence of information on what we know, the role of communication and recorded information in our daily lives, and the difficulty (or ease) of finding information. He shows that all this involves human perception, social behavior, changing technologies, and issues of trust.Buckland argues that every society is an "information society"; a "non-information society" would be a contradiction in terms. But the shift from oral and gestural communication to documents, and the wider use of documents facilitated by new technologies, have made our society particularly information intensive. Buckland describes the rising flood of data, documents, and records, outlines the dramatic long-term growth of documents, and traces the rise of techniques to cope with them. He examines the physical manifestation of information as documents, the emergence of data sets, and how documents and data are discovered and used. He explores what individuals and societies do with information; offers a basic summary of how collected documents are arranged and described; considers the nature of naming; explains the uses of metadata; and evaluates selection methods, considering relevance, recall, and precision.

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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

Roger C. Schonfeld

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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Laying the Foundation

Digital Humanities in Academic Libraries

edited by John W. White and Heather Gilbert

Laying the Foundation: Digital Humanities in Academic Libraries examines the library’s role in the development, implementation, and instruction of successful digital humanities projects. It pays special attention to the critical role of librarians in building sustainable programs. It also examines how libraries can support the use of digital scholarship tools and techniques in undergraduate education. Academic libraries are nexuses of research and technology; as such, they provide fertile ground for cultivating and curating digital scholarship. However, adding digital humanities to library service models requires a clear understanding of the resources and skills required. Integrating digital scholarship into existing models calls for a reimagining of the roles of libraries and librarians. In many cases, these reimagined roles call for expanded responsibilities, often in the areas of collaborative instruction and digital asset management, and in turn these expanded responsibilities can strain already stretched resources. Laying the Foundation provides practical solutions to the challenges of successfully incorporating digital humanities programs into existing library services. Collectively, its authors argue that librarians are critical resources for teaching digital humanities to undergraduate students and that libraries are essential for publishing, preserving, and making accessible digital scholarship.

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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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