Special Double Issue: Volume 53, Number 3 & 4 (October/November 2018)

Bourgeois Specialists and Red Professionals in 1920s Soviet Archival Development

Kelly A. Kolar
p. 243 - 270

Immediately after the 1917 October Revolution the Bolsheviks began developing the most centralized archival system in the world, along with a new profession of “red archivists.” However, the development of archives and the archival profession in 1920s Soviet Union was not simply the top-down implementation of Bolshevik political ambitions portrayed in offi cial Soviet accounts and Cold War–era Western literature but an unexpectedly open negotiation of ideas and customs among actors with diverse professional and ideological backgrounds, including non-Marxist archival professionals, workers from other cultural professions, and young communists.

Kelly A. Kolar is an assistant professor in the History Department at Middle Tennessee State University, where she teaches history and archival management in the public history program. She received an MLIS with a specialization in archives in 2004 and a PhD in Russian history in 2012, both from UCLA.

The Weather Privateers: Meteorology and Commercial Satellite Data

Gemma Cirac-Claveras
p. 271 - 302 

This article examines the changing framework for producing satellite weather data in the United States since the 2000s, from a government function to one increasingly carried out by the private sector. It explores the controversial attempts to commercialize the production of a particular data source (atmospheric profiles obtained with radio occultation)from the perspective of executives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), members of Congress, atmospheric and climate scientists, and the private sector. It addresses their opposing arguments by focusing, in particular, on the stresses and pressures within NOAA and its resistance to acquiring such data from commercial providers. In so doing, the article discusses the connections between commercial activities and meteorology and, more generally, the relations between science and commerce.

Gemma Cirac-Claveras is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Laboratoire Techniques Territoires et Sociétés, France. Her publications include “Factories of Satellite Data: Remote Sensing and Physical Earth Sciences in France” (ICON, 2015); and “Satellites for What? Creating User Communities for Space-Based Data in France: The Case from LERTS to CESBIO” (Technology and Culture, 2018). 

Parallel Expansions: The Role of Information during the Formative Years of the English East India Company (1600–1623)

Gabor Szommer
p. 303-336

This article examines the role of information in the early years of the English East India Company (EIC). It examines diff erent aspects of the organizational behavior of the EIC between the years 1600 and 1623 and shows the interplay between physical expansion and the transformation of information-handling practices from several perspectives. Although the focus is on a single organization, this case study provides insights into the informational challenges faced by early modern tradingcompanies and similar organizations coordinating operations on a global scale.-public.

Gabor Szommer received his PhD in early modern history. He works as a freelance editor and translator. His primary research interest is the early history of the Dutch and English East India Companies, and he focuses mostly on information-related details. 

Codebooks for the Mind: Dictionary Index Reforms in Republican China, 1912–1937

Ulug Kuzuoglu
p. 337-366

Faster access to information was an overwhelming concern for Chinese reformists during the Republican era (1912–1949). They claimed that the nonalphabetical nature of Chinese characters presented obstacles to indexing, a fundamental technology for effi cient information access and retrieval. In a matter of three decades, nearly one hundred new indices were invented for Chinese characters. Competition over which indices would prevail was fierce, especially among dictionary publishers, which stood to benefi t greatly in the nascent Chinese dictionary market. This article follows the two main publishing houses in China, Commercial Press and Zhonghua Press, that invented indices in order to dominate the market from the founding of the repub -lic in 1912 to the start of the war against Japan in 1937. As dozens of inventors of indices made clear, however, indexing technologies were situated within a larger social context, and the invention and destruction of indices were sites of political and fi nancial contestation.

Ulug Kuzuoglu is a lecturer in discipline in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University.

Book Reviews:

A Note from the Senior Book Review Editor

Amelia Acker
p. 367-368

Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing by Marie Hicks (review)

Megan Finn
p. 369 - 372

Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America by Michael Z. Newman (review)

Roderic Crooks
p. 372-374

The Economization of Life by Michelle Murphy (review)

Marika Cifor
p. 374-376

A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni, Rob Goodman (review)

Edward A. Goedeken
p. 377-378


 This issue of Information & Culture is now available on Project Muse.