- Editor's Note
In their fifty-year history, the various incarnations of Information & Culture have defined, investigated, and reimagined the nature and history of the information domains. I&C began its life in 1966 as the Journal of Library History, Philosophy, and Comparative Librarianship (JLH), edited and published by faculty from the Library School at Florida State University. Under the editorship of Louis Shores (1966–69) and later Harold Goldstein (1970–76), the first eleven volumes established the journal as the venue for historical scholarship on library history, philosophy, and comparative librarianship.
Transplanted to the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 1977, the journal came under the management of the University of Texas Press and the editorial control of UT's Graduate School of Library Science. In his first editorial, Donald G. Davis Jr. (1976–2006) set out his plans for the journal's future, even then noting that library history would be construed broadly to include the emerging field of information science. As UT's School of Library Science changed its name to reflect the broadening scope of its curricular content, so too was the journal renamed Libraries & Culture in 1988 to reflect the changes in makeup and emphasis of the journal that had evolved over Davis's tenure as editor. The new name, Libraries & Culture, embodied an effort to foster a more pluralistic discussion of the historical development of libraries, archives, and other information agencies within societies and cultures.
In 2006, under the editorship of David B. Gracy II (2006–11), the former state archivist of Texas, the journal became Libraries & the Cultural Record. As the Governor Bill Daniel Professor in Archival Enterprise at UT's now School of Information, Gracy linked the information domain to four fields: libraries and librarianship, archival and records enterprise, museums and museum administration, and preservation and conservation. Under Gracy's editorship, the journal published articles that explored the historical significance of libraries (and other information [End Page 1] agencies) and their collections of recorded knowledge in the context of social and cultural history.
The journal adopted its present focus in 2012 under the editorship of William Aspray (2012–16). Fully embracing the transformative role of the iSchool movement, Aspray recast the journal to play a central role in the emerging field of information history, with its emphasis on people's, organizations', and societies' interactions with information and technologies. His vision for the journal brought together a panoply of historical research topics centered on information institutions and businesses; information work and workers; information and communication practices; information and network infrastructures; and the study of information as a concept, as a material artifact, and as a system of organization.
I assumed the editorship of the journal in July 2016. I accepted this position because I believe that the study of the past remains relevant to contemporary society, with the journal providing a unique and much-needed platform for studies at the intersection of information science and history. As befits the editor of a journal of history, I am drawing upon the legacy and values of my predecessors while continuing the vision initially set forth by William Aspray.
Information & Culture will remain a journal dedicated to the study of the history of information, broadly conceived. The articles published by the journal over the past fifty years have established the depth and breadth of this research landscape. In the years to come, emphasis will increasingly be placed on the role of the journal as a synthesizer of knowledge, as a means to discover and respond to research gaps, and as a platform for creating deeper connections across the many disciplines that contribute to the field of information history.
The editorial staff and advisory editors will continue to support and expand the role of the journal in providing a shared venue for scholarly research from library historians, historians of computing, labor historians, gender historians, economic historians, business historians, political and diplomatic historians, cultural studies scholars, critical theorists, and science and technology scholars. I invite you to join us on this journey. Good researchers, writers, reviewers, and readers will always be welcome here. [End Page 2]