Abel, Richard. The Gutenberg revolution : A history of print culture. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers: 2011.
Abel briefly recounts the ancient history of Western culture in order to show the profound impact of the Gutenberg printing press thereafter. Some time is spent wrestling with the role of printers in the creation of culture, vs. being mere enablers of the culture that already was. Abel posits that publishers did perform at least a little gatekeeping in this sense, but the book’s main focus is the locus of printing within the context of social progress in the 16th and 17th century.
Baer, A. (2015, Spring). InULA Notes27(1) SPRING 2015. The new ACRL framework for information literacy: Implications for library instruction & educational reform. Retrieved April 28, 2016, from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/inula/article/view/18978/25096
Baer provides a thorough explanation of the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy explaining the impetus behind its creation, namely that the definition seemed one-dimensional and made information literacy appear to be a much simpler concept to master than it is. She then recounts the different dimensions of the Framework and suggests ways that it might impact pedagogy.
Bissonnette, Z. (2015). The great Beanie Baby bubble: Mass delusion and the dark side of cute. Penguin/Portfolio: New York.
Bissonnette takes a sobering look at Ty Warner, the idiosyncratic creator of Beanie Babies, and explains how his quirks led to a product that was as unique as it was irresistible. He details the rise and fall of Ty, Inc., as well as the speculative market for Beanie Babies.
Blidook, K. ( 2009). “Choice and Content: Media ownership and democratic ideals in Canada.” The Canadian Political Science Review, (3)(2), 52-69. Retrieved April 6, 2016, from http://ojs.unbc.ca/index.php/cpsr/article/view/135/183
Blidook examines the impact of media ownership on content and finds that it can affect what is covered and how it is covered. Blidook recommends that people pay attention to the practices of the media owner to see if its interests have influenced its content, that they look at whose interests their content serves, and that they compare the differences in the content between a source that has a vested interest and a source that does not.
Booth, W. C., G.G. Colomb, and J. M. Williams (2003). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
This book is a trusted resource on the research process. Of particular interest for this site are the book’s guidelines for determining the reliability of sources: The source should be published by a reputable press, the publisher should use a peer review process, the author should be a reputable scholar, and the source should be current.
Breen, T. H. The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.
Breen looks at the genesis of the American Revolution in economic terms, suggesting that the binding force of the nascent revolution was economic disenfranchisement by the British hegemony. This is a useful book in understanding the lives of obscure Americans who participated in the Destruction of the Tea and other acts of marketplace protest. Furthermore, it is insightful in its discussion of ritual and the historicity of events.
Bruner, J. ( Autumn 1991). “The narrative construction of reality.” Critical Inquiry. Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.semiootika.ee/sygiskool/tekstid/bruner.pdf
Bruner voices criticism of Piaget’s classic rationalist view of the mental representation of reality, expounding instead on Vygotsky’s notions of reality construction to conclude that people organize perception of reality in the form of narratives that are transmitted culturally. This seems an especially clear lens at which one can look at cognitive biases and belief systems in order to understand how people may interact with and interpret the information they encounter.
Casson, L. Libraries in the ancient world. New Haven : Yale University Press: 2001.
A history of ancient libraries, ranging from the 3rd millennium BC to the 5th century AD. Casson draws on ancient writings about ancient libraries, but acknowledging that such sources are rare finds, he includes much from archeological digs of libraries. His history of the Library at Alexandria is full of collected details from a wide range of sources.
Cheuk, B. (2008). “Delivering business value through information literacy in the workplace.” Libri, 58, 137-143.
Cheuk highlights information literacy skills in play at Environmental Resources Management (ERM). Information literacy is described as a critical component of its knowledge management program and is recognized to create value for the company. Cheuk explains that it has become a strategic issue in businesses to make sure that employees have the right information at the right time.
Chisnell, D. (2010, March 03). “Where do heuristics come from?” Retrieved March 09, 2016, from http://uxmag.com/articles/where-do-heuristics-come-from
This useful article talks about the heuristics of web design. While this is a different field of heuristics than the kind an information scientist is typically interested in, the article demonstrates a sophisticated view of information literacy in decision-making. The distinction is drawn between different kinds of information that may influence design, where it comes from, and how much weight to give it.
Chrisman, R. “The role of mass media in U.S. imperialism,” The Black Scholar, Fall, 2013, Vol.43 (3), p.56(5) Retrieved March 8, 2016 from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ccc.idm.oclc.org/
Chrisman discusses the correlation between US imperialism and the growth of US mass media. Chrisman suggests that mass media were a by-product of imperialist expansion whose role was to inform, propagandize and market to new consumers. The article spends time discussing how saturated the US public is with messages.
Congressional Budget Office. (2010, December 2). “Trends in federal tax revenues and rates.” Retrieved March 22, 2016, from https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/111th-congress-2009-2010/reports/2010-12-02_incometax_chartbook.pdf
The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) analysis of average tax rates is used to question whether the rallying cry of the TEA Party was reasonable in light of past taxation. Reviewing the trend of taxation showed that the argument was not in line with recent trends of taxation, which were comparably low at the time.
Conley, T.M. and Gil, E.L. (2011). “Information literacy for undergraduate business students: examining value, relevancy, and implications for the new century.” Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 16(3), 213-228.
This article examines the business relevance of information literacy and its importance for business students. The authors note that though the concepts of information literacy are important to businesses, their terminology for such processes do not always mirror the terminology used by information professionals. The article underscores the importance of information literacy skills in the business world.
Dawkins, W. (apr 30, 1997). “The negro pied piper: Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of a paper that fueled migration.” NABJ Journal, 15(1), 27. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://search.proquest.com.ccc.idm.oclc.org/docview/224169137?rfr_id=info:xri/sid:primo
This brief but insightful article discusses the role of Chicago Defender in encouraging the great northern migration. Dawkins discusses how the paper was disseminated and how it affected the southern states as labor power moved north.
Dunlap, R. E., & Jacques, P. J. (2013). “Climate change denial books and conservative think tanks: Exploring the connection.” American Behavioral Scientist, 57 (6), 699-731. doi:10.1177/0002764213477096.
The authors analyze the publications of conservative think tanks to determine the link between these think tanks and books that deny the science of global warming and which serve to attack climate science and scientists. The authors found a strong link. They noted that many denial books are produced by individuals with no scientific training and that at least 90% of those books do not undergo peer review.
Foster, A. L. (2006). Students fall short on ‘information literacy,’ Education Testing Service’s study finds. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(10), A36.
This article reports on findings by Educational Testing Services (ETS) showing that college and high school students are lacking in information literacy skills. The 2006 study used the ICT Literacy Assessment Core Level, which stands for “information and communication technology.” The report states that students are deficient in their abilities to retrieve, analyze, and communicate information available online.
Franklin, M. A. & D. A. Anderson. (1995). Mass media and law: Cases and materials. New York: West Group.
An in-depth discussion of law and the legal landscape of mass media in the United States. Especially useful is the history of court cases and litigation concerning freedom of the press and the First Amendment.
Frantz-Parsons, E. “Klan skepticism and denial in reconstruction-era public discourse” The Journal of Southern History. Feb, 2011, Vol.77(1), p.53(38) EBSCO Academic Search Complete.
Frantz-Parsons discusses the history of the Ku Klux Klan during the Reconstruction period of U.S. history, exploring how public accounts of the Ku Klux Klan varied markedly about its nature and size. Useful to information literacy is the author’s discussion of newspaper editorial practices and sensationalism in the press, as well as its influence on popular culture.
Gilens, M., & C. Hertzman. (2000). “Corporate ownership and news bias: Newspaper coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.” Jop The Journal of Politics, 62 (02).
The authors assess the impact of corporate media ownership interests on the content of their stations and news outlets. They look at coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and find that media outlets who stood to gain from the Act covered it markedly differently than those which did not stand to benefit. Also useful here is the article’s discussion of the role of institutionalized news media in democratic societies.
Gurhtrie, D. (2012, February 14). “Corporations: Personhood conferred; citizenship earned.” Retrieved March 17, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougguthrie/2012/02/14/corporations-personhood-conferred-citizenship-earned/#543d47b22e03
This article provides an overview of the controversies surrounding the notion of corporate personhood. Though Guthrie spends most of the article discussing taxation and tax burden, there are passages which reflect more broadly on the legal justification of corporate personhood and how legal decisions regarding it have enabled broad and deep corporate power in the United States.
Harris, M. (1979). Cultural materialism: The struggle for a science of culture. New York: Random House.
Harris expands on the thesis that the struggle for existence on earth defines much of the social and cultural interactions between people. His philosophy bears more than a passing resemblance to Marxism thinking. Most relevant to the concepts of information literacy are Harris’s attention to the systemic relationships between thought and action.
Hessel, A. A history of libraries. New Brunswick, N.J. : Scarecrow Press 1955.
Hessel writes thoroughly about the history of libraries from ancient Greece to 20th century America and contains some impressive insights and obscura about some of the prominent individuals in the history of the profession. Especially useful here are Hessel’s detailed knowledge of day to day operations of the Library at Alexandria.
Himmelfarb, G. (1999). One nation, two cultures: A searching examination of American society in the aftermath of our cultural revolution. New York, NY: Knopf.
Himmelfarb, a conservative social critic, argues that the moral decline of the United States is primarily due to the disintegration of traditional families. Although I find much disagreeable about the book, her description of how beliefsare spread from parents to children in a family structure is both succinct and reasonable.
Hobsbawm, E. J., & Ranger, T. (2004). The invention of tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
This collection of essays advances the theory that many traditions and pieces of modern culture were invented by the power elite in the 18th and 19th century. The creation of a usable past served to enculturate citizens and reinforce what it meant to be proper members of their respective societies. This analysis of tradition and culture is useful when studying the impact of culture on information.
Hoggan, J., & Littlemore, R. D. (2009). Climate cover-up: The crusade to deny global warming. Vancouver: Greystone Books.
Hoggan and Littlemore further document the conglomerate of industry and think tank authors and influencers who attempt to challenge and/or obfuscate the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic global warming. Though the authors cannot claim to be neutral reporters, they document their sources thoroughly and rest their judgments on the considerable pedestal of evidence about AGW produced by the world scientific community.
Horton, J. O., & Horton, L. E. (2006). Slavery and public history: The tough stuff of American memory. New York: New Press.
This collection of essays focuses on the public history of slavery, its impact on America, and the difficulty in having a public discourse about it. Particularly illustrative of these points are essays by James Oliver Horton, who details in his Slavery in American History: An Uncomfortable National Dialog how most Americans have strong emotional reactions to discussions of slavery but know not much about it, and by Joanne Melish, who shows in her “Recovering (from) Slavery: Four Struggles to Tell the Truth,” the practical difficulty of changing people’s belief of long-held narratives.
Hough, M, and A. Park (2002). “How malleable are attitudes to crime and punishment? Findings from a British deliberative poll.” In Changing Attitudes to Punishment: Public Opinion, Crime, and Justice. ed. J.V. Roberts and M. Hough. Collumpton, UK: Canadian Journal Of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 54(4), 415-441.
In a deliberative polls groups of people are brought together and briefed by field experts on the subject under consideration. The authors discuss the use of deliberative polls as a way to identify and change citizens’ attitudes and policy preferences about crime and punishment. In 1994, 297 people were brought together for this purpose. Attitudes were measured before and after the polls. It was noted that before the deliberative polls, participants believed that sentences were too lenient, that crime rates were increasing, that recidivism rates were higher than they actually were, and that typical offenses appearing in court were more severe than in actuality. After the event, participants expressed more liberal views about the justice system, including less support for long prison sentences and more support for preventative measures. Findings suggest that public attitudes can be changed given more education.
Kenyon, G. (2016, January 06). “The man who studies the spread of ignorance.” Retrieved April 08, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160105-the-man-who-studies-the-spread-of-ignorance
This article introduces its readers to science historian Robert Proctor, the man who invented the word agnotology, which is the field of study concerning the deliberate propagation of ignorance. The article details his early work on tobacco firms who sought to obfuscate the link between smoking and cancer. Parallels are drawn between the tobacco industry and the coal and oil industry.
King, D. (1997). The commissar vanishes: The falsification of photographs and art in Stalin’s Russia. New York: Metropolitan Books.
A book of photographs from Stalin’s Soviet Union showing clearly how photographs were manipulated, edited, and altered to falsify history. The photographs are shown side by side with detailed explanations of how they were altered and why.
King-Owens, S. (2012). “To ‘write down the republican administration’: William Boylan and the Federalist Party in North Carolina, 1800-1805”.North Carolina Historical Review., Apr, 155-183. Retrieved March 9, 2016, fromhttp://web.a.ebscohost.com.ccc.idm.oclc.org/
This article details rivalry of William Boylan and Joseph Gayles, two editors of rival newspapers. As documented, their rivalry was so intense that they came to physical blows. Though the article is primarily about the decline of the Federalist Party, it is primarily useful here as anecdotal evidence of the partisanship of the early North American press.
Kosar, K. R. (2015, January/February). “Why I quit the Congressional Research Service.” Washington Monthly. Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/januaryfebruary_2015/features/why_i_quit_the_congressional_r053467.php
Author Kevin Kosar writes about how the dysfunction of Congress and the defunding of the Congressional Research Service led him to leave the profession. He recounts deep research, shared effort on immense projects, and a reverence for impartiality and objectivity within his co-workers, yet he also laments a growing workload that made such critical work possible. Tellingly, he recalls the agency receiving political pressure from Michigan Representative Pete Hoekstra for, essentially, doing its job and informing Congress that the executive branch had probably not provided enough notification about its wiretapping activities as the law required.
Lanham, R. A. (2006). The economics of attention: Style and substance in the age of information. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lanham’s thesis is that we are moving away from an economy of things and toward an information economy. In deference to this idea, he expounds upon the importance of style in establishing attention, motivating action, and driving the world economy. Inasmuch as style shapes both the dissemination and perception of information, the book is quite useful in conceptualizing the nuances of information in the digital age.
Lasn, K. (1999). “The unofficial history of America.” In Culture jam: How to reverse America’s suicidal consumer binge–and why we must. New York: William Morrow. Excerpt retrieved March 17, 2016, from http://www.vgpolitics.f9.co.uk/00401.htm
Lasn proposes a wide-ranging critique of consumer culture in America. The book particularly useful in its recognition of early American business charters and in unpacking the convoluted legal landscape of information in the United States.
Lerner, F. A. (1998). The story of libraries: From the invention of writing to the computer age. New York : Continuum.
An historical narrative about the history of both libraries and written communication, this book explores how these institutions have shaped society and allowed people to record human experience.
Levine, R. (2011). Free ride: How digital parasites are destroying the culture business, and how the culture business can fight back. New York: Doubleday.
Business historian Robert Levine discusses the Internet’s disruption of traditional business models. He notes that early ideas about online businesses, specifically that information should be free on the Internet, have had a deleterious impact on businesses and profits.
Liu, A. (2004). The laws of cool: Knowledge work and the culture of information. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Liu looks at information and knowledge work and how the rise of this paradigm has impacted the post-industrial world. He spends considerable time asking about the place of arts and humanities in an online world that is increasingly dominated by corporate presence and suggests that economic life may be co-opting private life and creative life and documents forms of intellectual and creative resistance to that new paradigm.
Lupia, A. (2004, January-February). “Legal affairs.” Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/January-February-2004/feature_lupia_janfeb04.msp
Lupia pens a response ot Ackerman and Fishkin’s “Deliberation Day,” which appeared in Yale Review. In the article they proposed a new national holiday for voting in which large groups would discuss policy issues and subsequently vote the next week. Lupia’s issue is not so much with the proposal but with its idealized view of human decision making. He gives a detailed explanation of the workings of human cognition to show that their proposal, neat as it looks on paper, would not ultimately increase voter competence.
MacKinnon, R. (2012). Consent of the networked: The world-wide struggle for Internet freedom. New York: Basic Books.
MacKinnon writes about citizenship in the information age, delving into personal and political expression of individuals against the backdrop of a commercial and state apparatuses. Though she writes much about the power of social media to affect positive change in the world, she also acknowledges the government and corporate forces that seek to impinge if not control discourse. She provides some ideas for what might be done to decrease corporate and government control of the Internet.
MacLeod, R. M. (2000). The Library of Alexandria: Centre of learning in the ancient world. London: I.B. Tauris.
This collection of scholarly essays provides extensively sourced and meticulously detailed essays on vital aspects of the Library at Alexandria as well as the politics and culture in the time of its existence.
Matarazzo, J. M., & Pearlstein, T. (2015).”Academic libraries: A soft analysis, a warning and the road ahead.” IFLA Journal, 41(1), 5-12.
The authors caution that academic libraries face existential challenges in a for-profit environment. Though the importance of libraries was once a given in the academic world, the encroaching business model of education as well as networked access to full-text information on line may disrupt the traditional model of education and academic libraries. The authors ask academic librarians to learn some lessons from corporate librarians in order to ensure sustainability.
May, C. (2002). The information society: A sceptical view. Malden, MA: Polity Press.
May provides a sober rebuttal to the heady optimism that proclaimed the Internet’s limitless value as a tool for social justice and change. He examines existing power structures and expounds upon the likelihood that the information society fits within recognized parameters of social change and practice and is not a radical revision of state and corporate power.
McChesney, R. W. (2013). Digital disconnect: How capitalism is turning the Internet against democracy. New York: The New Press.
This text is a thorough account of the early days of the Internet and the subsequent impact of capitalism on its content and delivery. McChesney contends and shows that the early idealism about the Internet was somewhat undermined by the collusion of government and industry. He laments that the Internet has been turned into an economic vehicle for industry a means of surveillance by world governments.
McKay, C. (1980). Extraordinary popular delusions: The madness of crowds. New York: Three Rivers Press.
McKay sums the thesis of his work bluntly: “Whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first” (xvii). The book plays the thesis out across the panoply of the crusades, witch hunts, haunted houses, and dueling as a way of settling disputes.
Media mergers. (2004). “OECD Journal: Competition law and policy,” 5(4), 73-85. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.oecd-library.org
OECD iLibrary is the online library of the Organizsation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy reviews media mergers and explores the complications inherent in discussing content, markets, advertising, and revenue.
Messer-Kruse, T. (2012). “The ‘undue weight’ of Truth on Wikipedia.” Retrieved March 09, 2016, from http://chronicle.com/article/The-Undue-Weight-of-Truth-on/130704/
Messer-Kruse writes about his inability to change an erroneous Wikipedia entry by citing a primary source about the Haymarket Riot. He notes that their editorial practice places weight upon consensus over primacy, and that before an entry could be changed, most secondary sources would need to agree to the facts presented in the primary source.
Middle States Commission on Higher Learning. (2003). Developing research & communication skills: Guidelines for information literacy in the curriculum. Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.msche.org/publications_detail.asp?idPublication=18
This handbook offers suggestions to colleges and universities for developing information literacy programs and initiatives across the curriculum. The authors stress the importance of information literacy skills.
Mooney, C. (2005). The Republican war on science. New York: Basic Books.
This book traces right wing attacks on climate and environmental science from Nixon to Bush. Mooney investigates what he calls “science abuse,” in which industry stakeholders partner with Republican politicians to obfuscate science to further their economic interests. The book is obviously partisan, though the ideas cited here are well documented and correspond to other sources in the field that take a more neutral approach.
Moore, B. N. and Richard Parker (2003), Critical thinking. 7th. Ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
This source posits a thorough system for determining the credibility of a source. They draw distinctions between the credibility of the claim, itself, (e.g.: Is something contrary to what we know to be true) and the source (e.g.: Is the source of the information demonstrably knowledgeable, accurate, and objective). Likewise, they introduce the reader to the concepts of sharpening and leveling, which they define as the tendency of people to exaggerate what they feel are the main points of a story and to de-emphasize what they perceive as peripheral.
Morozov, E. (2011). The net delusion: The dark side of Internet freedom. New York, NY: PublicAffairs.
Morozov argues that the Internet is far from the democratization tool that cyberutopians hoped it would be. Instead, Morozov shows how the Internet is used in authoritarian regimes to spy and crack down upon dissidents and in free cultures as little more than a tool of social and economic convenience. Especially interesting was his dissection of the coverage of the Iran protests. Morozov asks his reader to recognize the economic engine that drives information technology and social media.
O’Reilly, T. E., & Tennant, M. (2009). The age of persuasion: How marketing ate our culture. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint.
O’Reilly and Tennant offer a glimpse into the history and practice of marketing and how it became a dominant force in Western culture. This is not a scholarly work, but as an insider’s guide to the ad world, and as such provides useful anecdotes and factoids as well as solid analysis of the field.
Oreskes, N., & Conway, E. M. (2010). Merchants of doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
Oreskes and Conway look into the work of several scientists who are heavily connected in political and industry circles who work to sow doubt about science related to the economic interests of certain industries and politicians. This book illuminates the playbook, of obfuscating scientific consensus among experts and muddling the public perception of it. The authors trace this influence brokering tactic from its early use by the tobacco industry in the 60s to its contemporary use by industries wishing to forestall action on climate change.
Pagowsky, N. & Miriam Rigbby (2014). “Contextualizing ourselves: The identity politics of the librarian stereotype.” In Nicole Pagowsky and Miriam Rigby (Eds.), The Librarian stereotype: Deconstructing presentation and perceptions of information work. (1-29). Chicago: The Association of College and Research Libraries.
Pagowsky and Rigby discuss the fashion and characterization of librarians and note that such critical analysis is an inherent facet of the general investigation of the field against the backdrop of library budget deprioritization and a broader sense that the value of library services is underestimated. They suggest that librarians are subject to the same fashion and image judgments as others and express concern that stereotypes and other such heuristics may interfere with the ability of librarians to assist or even to reach patrons. They cite scholarship showing that students often do not exactly understand what the librarian’s role is and hypothesize that patron reliance on stereotypes will undermine the service the library could have offered. The importance of being “welcoming, accessible, engaged and savvy” (8) is stressed.
Pariser, E. (2011). The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you. New York: Penguin Press.
Pariser’s Filter Bubble is a cautionary work about the internet’s propensity to deliver to people only the kind of information that they want to receive, thus cutting them off from information that might contradict their beliefs. He notes that the feature of information feedback loops is built into the algorithms of such giants as Google and Facebook. Though the thesis of the work was recently challenged by Facebook itself when they sought to test his hypothesis, the results indicated that Pariser’s work largely stands.
Pasley, J. (2001). The tyranny of printers: Newspaper politics in the early American republic. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
Pasley’s “The Tyranny of Printers” reveals the partisanship of the press in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and details their relationship to the rise of political parties. Newspapers were used by the political parties to spread their political agendas; however, Pasley notes that the editors of these papers often drove the political conversation using their presses as megaphones. It is an extensive look at the papers, the editors, and the politicians and how the press shaped the pursuit of democracy in fledgling America.
Pomeroy, S. B. (1999). Ancient Greece: a political, social, and cultural History. New York : Oxford University Press.
This collaboration of four scholars from different fields, from classicist, history, and humanities backgrounds, this book represents a comprehensive history of Greece from the second millennium BCE through the Hellenistic period. Of interest here are passages about the spread of Greek culture and language as well as the establishment of Alexandria and the library.
Reclaim democracy! (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2016, from http://reclaimdemocracy.org/
This is a partisan site; however, their list of charter provisions is not especially controversial and provides a simple summary lacking elsewhere.
Reed, T. V. (2014). Digitized lives: Culture, power and social change in the Internet era. New York: Routledge.
Reed examines the impact of digital communication technologies on politics, state power, individual agency, education, protest movements, and more. This books serves to balance the early giddiness and optimism about the internet’s unfettered use as a tool for social justice.
Riley, T. (2012, June 29). “Messing with Texas textbooks.” Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://billmoyers.com/content/messing-with-texas-textbooks/
A critical look at the process by which the Texas School Board updates curriculum and textbooks for use in Texas schools. The author discusses and gives examples of conservative bias in the school board. Riley also notes that other states often adapt the Texas school books for reasons of economy. This is presented here as a de facto censorship and compared to the Soviet model.
Rosenson, B. A. (2015). “Media coverage of state legislatures: Negative, neutral, or positive?” Social Science Quarterly, 96 (5), 1291-1300.
The author examines how media cover state and local political races to determine if there is a persistent bias depending on the media outlet’s ownership interests. Rosenson finds that the coverage is predominantly neutral in tone and objective.
Rumbo, J. D. (2002). “Consumer resistance in a world of advertising clutter: The case of Adbusters.” Psychology & Marketing 19 (2), 127-148.
The article discusses consumer culture and capitalism and notes the emotional impact of advertising on individuals. Viewing advertising through a theoretical lens of fragmentation, post-modernist hyper-speed, and the decentering of subject, the author details how people develop “ad-avoidance strategies.” This article is useful in understanding the nuances of an economic system on greater cultural life, and how that synergy impacts information.
Shennan, S. (2002). Genes, memes, and human history: Darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution. London: Thames and Hudson.
The opening chapters of this Shennan work are of key value here for their discussion of cultural evolution. This work is useful in establishing the notion of culture as information that affects individual phenotypes, and that it is learned via teaching or imitation. Shennan proposes that cultural tradition is “a process of inheritance through social learning.”
Schmookler, A. B. (1993). The illusion of choice: How the market economy shapes our destiny. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Schmookler provides philosophical, economic, and pragmatic critiques of capitalism and the free market system. The book, though amply cited and logically defended, makes more than a few polemical claims. The book is useful in talking about the influence of the free market on information, and in the 20+ years since its publication, more than a few of Schmookler’s warnings seem to have been borne out.
Smith, J. A. (1991). The idea brokers: Think tanks and the rise of the new policy elite. New York: The Free Press.
The Idea Brokers traces the history of think tanks and influence groups and illuminates their impact on the US political process. The materials in this book are useful for information science students because they explain a part of the information landscape that few are well-versed in.
Skjærseth, J. B., & Skodvin, T. (2003). Climate change and the oil industry: Common problem, varying strategies. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
This book explores corporate strategies within the oil industry to meet the challenges of climate change as well as the impact of political context and interaction in determining policies. The authors note a wide variance of strategies and seek to pinpoint the factors that determine how and why each responds the way it does, from head-in-the-sand obstinance to more proactive strategies. The information in this book comes from in-depth interviews with the many companies, institutions, and organizations.
Smith, M. (2015). Targeted: How technology is revolutionizing advertising and the way companies reach consumers. New York: Amacom.
Targeted is billed as part history and part handbook for advertising in the digital era. Smith provides a wealth of factual information about the industry and teaches advertisers new techniques for reaching consumers in a cluttered online ecosystem of information. The book clearly explains ad buying and auctioning as well as data aggregation and demographic tracking. These are important considerations in an LIS course because of their implications for privacy, commerce, filter bubbles, and the economics of information systems.
Stavy, R. and Dina Tirosh (2000). How students (mis-)understand science and mathematics: Intuitive rules. New York: Teachers College Press.
The use of intuitive rules is part of the valuable cognitive skill of extrapolation, which helps people understand systems and learn new knowledge. However, Stavy and Tirosh discuss several faulty heuristics that people use in making judgments about math and science problems. Many people substitute faulty shortcuts for accurate measurements and observations, leading to critical errors in math and science. Though these shortcuts seem intuitive, they misapprehend the nature of what is being studied. Examples of the faulty heuristics are that More A means More B, Same A means Same B, and Everything Can Be Divided. They further suggest that these rules may apply outside the domains of science and math, and that the effects of intuitive rules may be overcome by learning formal rules and the reinforcement of specific content knowledge.
Stevens, W. (2009). “Two radicals and their Los Angeles: Harrison Gray Otis and Job Harriman Errol.” California History 86.3 : 44-64. JSTOR. Web. 6 Nov. 2014. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40495219?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
A discussion about Harrison Gray Otis and Job Harriman Errol, the Los Angeles newspapermen of the late 19th century, The two came from opposite ends of the political spectrum, Otis being a staunch anti-labor republican and Errol being a socialist. Their newspapers contended with one another in a fiercely partisan battle until Otis’s Los Angeles Times won out. The article is useful in its discussion of the history of newspapers, how those newspapers can be used for purposes somewhat less noble than merely keeping the public informed, and how a newspaper’s content often reflects both its owner’s and its reader’s interests.
Sunstein, C. R. (2007). Republic.com 2.0. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Sunstein offers a vision of the power of the web to improve civic life and the political discourse but also raises concerns about both the ability of people to have well-informed opinions as well as the problems (such as the filter bubble) inherent in technology. The book contains many examples of ways that technology and digital-connectedness could elevate society and discourse; however, the concerns Sunstein raises are never abated by detailed solutions. It remains a valuable introduction to the nexus of digital technology and the democratic process.
Sutherland, Z. Children & books. New York, NY: HarperCollins 1991.
Sutherland delivers a comprehensive history of children’s books, writing in the premier book about children’s books. Children & Books has been periodically revised since its appearance in 1947 and has long been a trusted sourcebook about all things in children’s literature. It serves as a who’s who of authors and illustrators, an explanation of genre criteria, and a gauge of early childhood needs and interests. The book is important to information literacy for many reasons, not the least of which is a thorough history of children’s literature and a thoughtful explication of the forces that created that history.
Tanasichuk, C. S. and J. Stephen Wormith (2012). “Changing attitudes toward the criminal justice system: Results of an experimental study.” Canadian Journal Of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 54(4), 415-441.
Tanasichuk and Wormith note low knowledge and confidence in the Canadian criminal justice system among Canadian citizens and hypothesize that providing the public with factual information about crime and the criminal justice system will lead to increased knowledge of and confidence in the system. The authors build on Hough and Park’s research on deliberative polls (2002) as well as a raft of research on the Canadian public’s misunderstandings of the Canadian criminal justice system. The authors acknowledge the expense of deliberative polling and tested three alternative methods of education. Factual information about the Canadian Justice System was standardized into three formats: a seminar, a video and a booklet. All three methods showed a significant increase in knowledge, with the video resulting in the highest increase. Additionally, the study found that participants who had learned the material via more active learning techniques (i.e. through discussion) evidenced more confidence in the criminal justice system than those who had learned via a a passive learning technique (i.e. reading a booklet). The implication for the researchers is that active learning is more likely to induce attitude changes in the public.
Tester, K. (1994). Media, culture, and morality. London: Routledge.
Tester examines mass media’s role in culture, examining its function as the arbiter of norms and morality. He notes that the media play a critical role in informing a nation’s citizens about internal and external threats to the things the society holds sacred. Tester takes a fairly even tone, responding to more ardent critics with balance. The information herein is important for information literacy as it helps understand the narratives consistently woven by the evening news channels, which is where many people receive much of their information about political and social issues.
Toffler, A., Toffler, H., & Gingrich, N. (1995). Creating a new civilization: The politics of the Third Wave. Atlanta: Turner Pub.
The Tofflers break civilization down to a tripartite of agricultural society, industrial society, and ultimately an information/knowledge society. The book suggests that some nation states, such as the former Soviet Union, collapsed because they did not recognize the global transition from industry to knowledge work. This book is important for information literacy as it adds context and balance to the discussion of the information age, which has caused much upheaval to traditional structures and institutions.
Tversky, A., & D. Kahneman. (1974, September 27). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://psiexp.ss.uci.edu/research/teaching/Tversky_Kahneman_1974.pdf
This landmark study has shaped much of the discourse on heuristics over the last 40 years. The implications of internal heuristics on decision making is very much at the heart of information literacy and understanding our relationship to information in both public and private spheres.
Wallace, A. (2005). Newspapers and the making of modern America. Westwood, Conn.: Greenwood.
Wallace explores the relationship between newspapers and their respective communities and demonstrates how newspapers are often the vehicle that drives policies and ties communities together. The case studies presented herein paint a vivid picture of the newspaper’s impact on society.
Walker, E. T. (2014, July 08). “What’s the difference between political grassroots and big-interest Astroturf?” Retrieved April 08, 2016, from http://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/whats-the-difference-between-political-grassroots-and-big-interest-astroturf
Edward T. Walker is an associate professor of sociology at UCLA and the author of “Grassroots For Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy.” This article defines the term astroturfing, which is when corporations or lobbyists employ public relations tactics to simulate authentic, grassroots movements and deceive the public and politicians into believing that the support for an initiative is coming from regular citizens, and not the corporations who intend to benefit from proposed legislation. Walker then offers examples of astroturfing in action, including activities by Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon to end net neutrality.
Wedel, Janine R. (2009). Shadow elite: How the world’s new power brokers undermine democracy, government, and the free market. New York: Basic Books.
Wedel examines the shift of power from governments to shadow governments in Poland, Russia, and the United States. Shadow governments are defined as unelected agents, such as CEOs, consultants, lobbyists, contractors, and think tanks who exert power over government decision-making. This source is useful to understanding the reach and scope of public relations, as well as for calling into question official state narratives. Wedel also calls into question the authority and credibility of news media who are often complacent and shallow in coverage of important events and who often present theatrics instead of journalism.
Wertsch, J. V.. (2008). “Blank spots in collective memory: A case study of Russia.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 617, 58–71. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ccc.idm.oclc.org/stable/25098013
Wertsch examines the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact discusses how the Pact was portrayed in Soviet textbooks in three different eras. This comparison shows the deleterious effect of censorship on the quality of information. The progression of the narrative over time indicates how societies adjust to new information and a lessening of authoritarian control over information and information systems.
Westen, D. (2007). The political brain. New York: Public Affairs.
This book examines brain morphology and how the structure of the brain lends itself to people’s politicization. Westen notes that millions of years of evolution have built layers upon layers of brain matter on top of primitive structures in order to deal with more complex thinking. Especially insightful is Westen’s neat analysis if the infamous 1988 Willie Horton commercial. Westen shows how its use of facial expressions, racialized fear, and ominous music activated viewers’ amygdalas to instill a visceral and primitive negative reaction.
Wright, E. O., & Rogers, J. (2011). American society: How it really works. New York: W.W. Norton.
Wright and Rogers question the integrity of the idealized vision of America. They interrogate several American values–Freedom, Prosperity, Efficiency, Fairness, and Democracy—and compare those ideals to the actual institutions, policies, and conditions of the nation. Using the tools of sociological analysis they draw upon many case studies to show that the United States has fallen short of its ideals. This text is useful here as it provides depth of understanding to information in the political process.
Young, A. F. (1999). The shoemaker and the tea party: Memory and the American Revolution. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Young’s interesting historiography looks at the construction of history, ritual, and public memory by examining the story of George Robert Twelves Hewes, who was present at the Boston Tea . Young pieces together archival materials and interviews with Hewes’s descendants to understand this intriguing but ultimately minor character in the Revolutionary movement. This book is useful here because it helps readers understand enculturation, the struggle of conveying history in a meaningful way, and the process by which elites and everyday people battle for control of public memory.
Zhang, S. Majid, and S. Foo (2012).”The role of information literacy skills in environmental scanning as a strategic information system.” Retrieved from http://www.informationr.net/ir/17-2/paper515.html
Zhang and Foo inform the reader about the application of information literacy skills to a business setting. They portray how information may be discovered, analyzed, and stored in a business setting as part of a strategic information system aimed ultimately at informing decision-making practices.
Zinn, H., & Barsamian, D. (2002). The future of history: Interviews with David Barsamian. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.
This wide-ranging series of interviews provides an incisive look into American politics and thinking over the second half of the 20th century. Zinn’s humanism and compassion stand in start contrast again and again with an authoritarian state-apparatus. Of his leftward bias, he recounts telling his students that he was not neutral, and that he felt it impossible to be neutral on a train that was already moving in what he perceived to be a terrible direction.