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Information Science and Technology

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Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet

Scholars in all fields now have access to an unprecedented wealth of online information, tools, and services. The Internet lies at the core of an information infrastructure for distributed, data-intensive, and collaborative research. Although much attention has been paid to the new technologies making this possible, from digitized books to sensor networks, it is the underlying social and policy changes that will have the most lasting effect on the scholarly enterprise.

A Component-Based Perspective

Distributed business component computing--the assembling of business components into electronic business processes, which interact via the Internet--caters to a new breed of enterprise systems that are flexible, relatively easy to maintain and upgrade to accommodate new business processes, and relatively simple to integrate with other enterprise systems. Companies with unwieldy, large, and heterogeneous inherited information systems--known as legacy systems--find it extremely difficult to align their old systems with novel business processes.

A Critical Discourse

In Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage, experts offer a critical and theoretical appraisal of the uses of digital media by cultural heritage institutions. Previous discussions of cultural heritage and digital technology have left the subject largely unmapped in terms of critical theory; the essays in this volume offer this long-missing perspective on the challenges of using digital media in the research, preservation, management, interpretation, and representation of cultural heritage.

From Theory to Practice

Knowledge in digital form offers unprecedented access to information through the Internet but at the same time is subject to ever-greater restrictions through intellectual property legislation, overpatenting, licensing, overpricing, and lack of preservation. Looking at knowledge as a commons--as a shared resource--allows us to understand both its limitless possibilities and what threatens it.

How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries

Software platforms are the invisible engines that have created, touched, or transformed nearly every major industry for the past quarter century. They power everything from mobile phones and automobile navigation systems to search engines and web portals. They have been the source of enormous value to consumers and helped some entrepreneurs build great fortunes. And they are likely to drive change that will dwarf the business and technology revolution we have seen to this point.

All organizations today confront data quality problems, both systemic and structural. Neither ad hoc approaches nor fixes at the systems level--installing the latest software or developing an expensive data warehouse--solve the basic problem of bad data quality practices. Journey to Data Quality offers a roadmap that can be used by practitioners, executives, and students for planning and implementing a viable data and information quality management program.

Why the Information Economy Collapsed and How It Will Rise Again

While we were waiting for the Internet to make us rich—back when we thought all we had to do was to buy lottery tickets called dotcom shares—we missed the real story of the information economy. That story, says Bruce Abramson in Digital Phoenix, took place at the intersection of technology, law, and economics. It unfolded through Microsoft's manipulation of software markets, through open source projects like Linux, and through the file-sharing adventures that Napster enabled.

The Geographic Associations of Information

Georeferencing--relating information to geographic location--has been incorporated into today's information systems in various ways. We use online services to map our route from one place to another; science, business, and government increasingly use geographic information systems (GIS) to hold and analyze data. Most georeferenced information searches using today's information systems are done by text query. But text searches for placenames fall short--when, for example, a place is known by several names (or by none).

Research on Underrepresentation

Computing remains a heavily male-dominated field even after twenty-five years of extensive efforts to promote female participation. The contributors to Women and Information Technology look at reasons for the persistent gender imbalance in computing and explore some strategies intended to reverse the downward trend.

The way we record knowledge, and the web of technical, formal, and social practices that surrounds it, inevitably affects the knowledge that we record. The ways we hold knowledge about the past—in handwritten manuscripts, in printed books, in file folders, in databases—shape the kind of stories we tell about that past. In this lively and erudite look at the relation of our information infrastructures to our information, Geoffrey Bowker examines how, over the past two hundred years, information technology has converged with the nature and production of scientific knowledge.

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