Among the latest book reviews in the interdisciplinary journal Information & Culture is a nice piece by Thomas J. Misa, Director of the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, on the two latest volumes from the UW-Madison Center for the History of Print & Digital Culture:
- Science in Print: Essays on the History of Science and the Culture of Print edited by Rima D. Apple, Gregory J. Downey, and Stephen L. Vaughn. Madison, Wl: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. 235 pp. $34.95 (paperback)
- Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America edited by Adam R. Nelson and John L. Rudolph. Madison, Wl: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010. 225 pp. $29.95 (paperback)
There are many reasons why I am excited about this:
- I am one of the co-editors of the Science in Print volume;
- I was one of the chapter authors in the Education and the Culture of Print volume;
- I am the current Director of the Center for the History of Print & Digital Culture, which brought each of these volumes together out of its biennial conference series;
- I am an Advisory Editor for the journal Information & Culture, and I know it to be a quality journal of interdisciplinary scholarship on the history of information in all its forms and contexts; and,
- I was one of the authors in a recent volume edited by Misa on the history of women and gender in computing and information professions, titled Gender Codes: Why Women are Leaving Computing, and I know him to be a careful and thoughtful scholar for whom I have the greatest respect.
So you can consider all that either “multiple, tangled conflicts of interest” or “the small world of academics who work at the intersection of print and digital culture” — but please be assured that (a) I only became Director the CHP&DC after my own author and editor work on the two volumes under review, and that (b) I had no idea that Misa and I&C were producing a review on those volumes until I stumbled across them on the web.
Anyway, what was the verdict of the review? Let me excerpt the first paragraph:
Readers of Information & Culture will be interested in these attractive and thought-provoking volumes from the Wisconsin series in Print Culture History in Modern America for two related reasons. Most immediately, a midstream change in the sponsoring center—its title, director, and identity shifted from ‘modern’ culture to ‘digital’ culture—neatly parallels the shift that this journal itself underwent from a library-based endeavor to an information-centered one. More profoundly, both volumes spotlight the significant insights that the well-developed study of print culture might offer to the still-developing field of information culture. The concepts, approaches, and historiographic debates in print culture are, thus far, a mostly untapped resource for understanding digital culture. Even this conference-and-book series’ exploration of major American institutions—religion, education, science—might inspire scholars of digital culture.
Read the full review on the Information & Culture web site.