Information & Culture is an academic journal printed three times a year by the University of Texas Press. It publishes original, high-quality, peer reviewed articles examining the social and cultural influences and impact of information and its associated technologies, broadly construed, on all areas of human endeavor. In keeping with the spirit of information studies, we seek papers emphasizing a human-centered focus that address the role of and reciprocal relationship of information and culture, regardless of time and place.

The journal welcomes submissions from an array of relevant theoretical and methodological approaches, including but not limited to historical, sociological, psychological, political and educational research that address the interaction of information and culture.

To learn more about our submission standards or submit an article for publication in Information & Culture, visit our submission requirements page.


 

Available book reviews in the upcoming issue (Summer 2022)

We are pleased to announce the following recently published book reviews for the upcoming issue, Volume 57 Number 2:

The Gentrification of the Internet by Jessa LingelThe Gentrification of the Internet: How to Reclaim Our Digital Freedom by Jessa Lingel 

Reviewed by Kimberly Anastácio

"In this new book, Jessa Lingel explains through the gentrification metaphor how we got the Internet that we have now, what is bad about it, and what could be different."

 

 

Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing by John B. Thompson

Reviewed by Leah Henrickson

"Thompson observes throughout Book Wars that a primary result of ever-increasing digitality is publishers’ increased attention to their ultimate audiences: readers."

 

 

Technology and the Historian: Transformations in the Digital Age by Adam Crymble

Reviewed by Katharina Hering

"By providing a history of the impact of technology on historians’ work, Crymble offers common ground for a diverse and fragmented field that has been notoriously hard to define, while encouraging an 'ever closer union' (10) between historians."

 

 

Urgent Archives : Enacting Liberatory Memory Work book coverUrgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work by Michelle Caswell

Reviewed by Bethany Radcliff

"Urgent Archives emits a call to action to archivists, and by doing the work of critical theory, builds a foundation that redefines and adds a new layer to the work of the archivist."

 

 

Image ObjectsImage Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics by Jacob Gaboury

Reviewed by Nabeel Siddiqui

"Gaboury's amalgamation of images with objects attempts to direct attention to the ways that materials constrain computer visualizations and also how the digital informs the physical."

 

 

Uncertain ArchivesUncertain Archives: Critical Keywords for Big Data edited by Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, Daniela Agostihno, Annie Ring, Catherine D’Ignazio and Kristin Veel

Reviewed by Giulia Taurino

"In the complex operation of mapping digital culture while advancing ethical questions, Uncertain Archives creates an archive of its own, made of critical terms, concepts, and definitions."


 

Screen Love: Queer Intimacies in the Grindr Era by Tom Roach

Reviewed by Fredrika Thelandersson

"Tom Roach’s Screen Love: Queer Intimacies in the Grindr Era provides a reparative reading of one of the most popular and infamous hookup apps: Grindr, the geosocial app primarily used by men seeking men."

 

 

The Promise of AccessThe Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope by Daniel Greene

Reviewed by Christine T. Wolf

"Drawing on multi-year fieldwork in and around the District of Columbia (DC) Metro area, Greene takes a fresh, hard look at how poverty-reducing policies in the US are shaped by ideas around technological access and use—and how those policies and ideas in turn shape the everyday, lived experience of techno-solutionism."

New Issue: Volume 57 Issue 1 (February 2022)

Datafication and Cultural Heritage: Critical Perspectives on Exhibition and Collection Practices

by Karin Hansson, Anna Näslund Dahlgren, Teresa Cerratto Pargman

Abstract:

The increasing digitization and the emergence of new data-sharing practices change our understanding of how cultural heritage is defined, collected, and exhibited. We must pay particular attention to the ways in which digital interfaces curate history. Crowdsourcing, social media, linked open data, and other open science practices challenge the current practices of cultural heritage institutions, owing to the established structures between and within them and the character of the networked publics involved. However, such challenges also open new opportunities for wider negotiations of cultural heritage and rethinking what cultural heritage institutions and practices are. This special issue brings together scholars from different disciplines to provide critically and empirically grounded perspectives on the datafication of cultural heritage institutions' exhibition and collection practices.


No Incentives to Interact: A Case Study of Mobile Phone Interactions with Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials in Washington, DC

by Larissa Hugentobler

Abstract:

This case study uses a triangulation of methods to analyze how visitors use their phones on-site at two lesser-known Washington, DC, memorials. While individuals frequently used phones to engage with the sites, they did not use the affordances of their internetconnected devices: they took many pictures for themselves but infrequently shared them, and they did not consume additional online information to compensate for a lack thereof on-site because they believed it should have been provided at the memorial. Overall, the lack of online interaction was caused by few incentives: the sites are not recognizable enough as sites of tourism, which is why photographs are not shared, and there are no prompts on-site to consume additional information, which is why individuals do not research online. This article shows that visitors' full interactive engagement with the sites, employing online and offline modalities, does not seem to occur without incentives.


Curating China's Cultural Revolution (1966–1976): CR/10 as a Warburgian Memory Atlas and Digital Humanities Interface

by Rongqian Ma

Abstract:

CR/10 is a digital oral history platform that aims to collect and preserve cultural memories of China's Cultural Revolution (1966–76). With a rhetorical analysis of the design features and curation processes of the CR/10 website, this article discusses the functions of CR/10 as a Warburgian memory atlas that shape the nonlinear, multifaceted narratives of a historical incident. Alongside this rhetorical analysis, I also conducted three sets of user experience studies with over thirty participants both within and outside the academy, including an ethnographic conference observation, a virtual ethnography of an online book group, and several semi-structured interviews, to examine CR/10's usability and propose new design opportunities to empower the interface. This article offers a strong case for the datafication of cultural memories and contributes to digital archives and humanities interface design with an innovative theoretical lens.


Negotiating the Past Online: Holocaust Commemoration between Iran and Israel

by Aya Yadlin

Abstract:

This study explores how marginalized groups negotiate the past and partake in building collective memory online. Using examples drawn from a large-scale ethnographic study, I show how members of the Persian community in Israel (Israelis of Iranian origin) reaffirm and oppose excluding dominant Israeli collective memory narratives of the Holocaust through rereading historic Iranian-related stories of Holocaust occurrences. The article thus aims to both discuss the ongoing struggle of Mizrahi communities to criticize exclusionary practices within Israeli sociocultural discourses and reflect on the research opportunities and limitations social media create in studying collective memory construction online as a whole and in the context of minority groups in particular.


Datafying Museum Visitors: A Research Agenda

by Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt

Abstract:

Museums are participating in the capturing of global data for the perceived benefit of improved relationships with the public. This article proposes a framework for critically analyzing the datafication of museum visitors and visitor engagement, combining a critical lens from data studies with a social view of datafication as practice—a set of practices within a sociotechnical assemblage that is continuously reproduced by the choices made within and outside the museum. Museums are situated at the intersection of Pierre Bourdieu's economic, cultural, and political fields; thus, I highlight some of the external social and technological pressures driving datafication in museums. Relying on public accounts and previous case studies, I argue that datafication of visitor engagement is made to work through data loops: circular processes between institutional practices of museums and social practices of audiences where data are collected, processed, and decided upon.


The Case for a Digital World Heritage Label

by Carl Öhman

Abstract:

Much of humanity's most important digital heritage is under corporate control, which poses several threats to its longevity and authenticity. However, public institutions have little authority to intervene and preserve it, and their doing so is not always a desirable alternative. The goal of this article is to propose a mitigation of this dilemma. I do so in three steps. First, I introduce the concept of digital world heritage, which denotes digital artifacts with a value beyond their utility to any single individual or community. Second, I specify three ways commercial management threatens digital world heritage. Third, I argue that many of these threats may be mitigated by the introduction of a digital world heritage label. This proposal, I contend, does not interfere with the integrity of private data controllers since it does not involve the donation of data archives, yet it does support the long-term preservation of digital heritage.


Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies by Cait McKinney (review)

aems emswiler

Excerpt: 

INFORMATION ACTIVISM: A QUEER HISTORY OF LESBIAN MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES ADDRESSES lesbian-feminist information activism in the United States and Canada during the period of transition from paper to digital media technologies from the 1970s to 2010s and subsequent questions on information abundance.


The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games by Bonnie Ruberg (review)

Daniella Gáti

Excerpt: 

HOW CAN QUEER GAMES HELP REINVENT WHAT GAMES CAN BE? THIS IS THE LEADING QUESTION of Bonnie Ruberg's The Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers Are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games


Women's Activism and New Media in the Arab World by Ahmed Al-Rawi (review)

Walid Ghali

Excerpt: 

WOMEN'S ACTIVISM AND NEW MEDIA IN THE ARAB WORLD BY AHMED AL-RAWI ATTEMPTS TO map and empirically investigate the role of new media in shaping and facilitating positive change within women's lives in the Arab world.


Visions of Beirut: The Urban Life of Media Infrastructure by Hatem El-Hibri (review)

Aya Jazaierly

Excerpt: 

HATEM EL-HIBRI'S VISIONS OF BEIRUT TAKES READERS ON AN INTELLECTUAL JOURNEY through the ways that media infrastructure defines both spaces and their history in cities.


A History of Data Visualization and Graphic Communication by Michael Friendly and Howard Wainer (review)

Crystal Lee

Excerpt: 

FEW SCIENTISTS HAVE DONE MORE TO WRITE HISTORIES OF THEIR OWN DISCIPLINE THAN DATA visualization researchers Michael Friendly and Howard Wainer.


The Digital Black Atlantic ed. by Roopika Risam and Kelly Baker Josephs (review)

Rachel E. Winston

Excerpt: 

IN THE DIGITAL BLACK ATLANTIC, EDITORS ROOPIKA RISAM AND KELLY BAKER JOSEPHS offer the first volume of literature centering Black digital studies.

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