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Christine L. Borgman

Christine L. Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure and Scholarship in the Digital Age (both winners of the “Best Information Science Book” award from ASIS&T), published by the MIT Press.

Titles by This Author

Scholarship in the Networked World

“Big Data” is on the covers of Science, Nature, the Economist, and Wired magazines, on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. But despite the media hyperbole, as Christine Borgman points out in this examination of data and scholarly research, having the right data is usually better than having more data; little data can be just as valuable as big data. In many cases, there are no data—because relevant data don’t exist, cannot be found, or are not available. Moreover, data sharing is difficult, incentives to do so are minimal, and data practices vary widely across disciplines.

Borgman, an often-cited authority on scholarly communication, argues that data have no value or meaning in isolation; they exist within a knowledge infrastructure—an ecology of people, practices, technologies, institutions, material objects, and relationships. After laying out the premises of her investigation—six “provocations” meant to inspire discussion about the uses of data in scholarship—Borgman offers case studies of data practices in the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, and then considers the implications of her findings for scholarly practice and research policy. To manage and exploit data over the long term, Borgman argues, requires massive investment in knowledge infrastructures; at stake is the future of scholarship.

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. In Scholarship in the Digital Age, Christine Borgman explores the technical, social, legal, and economic aspects of the kind of infrastructure that we should be building for scholarly research in the twenty-first century.
Borgman describes the roles that information technology plays at every stage in the life cycle of a research project and contrasts these new capabilities with the relatively stable system of scholarly communication, which remains based on publishing in journals, books, and conference proceedings. No framework for the impending “data deluge” exists comparable to that for publishing. Analyzing scholarly practices in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, Borgman compares each discipline’s approach to infrastructure issues. In the process, she challenges the many stakeholders in the scholarly infrastructure--scholars, publishers, libraries, funding agencies, and others--to look beyond their own domains to address the interaction of technical, legal, economic, social, political, and disciplinary concerns. Scholarship in the Digital Age will provoke a stimulating conversation among all who depend on a rich and robust scholarly environment.

Christine L. Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in the Networked World (MIT Press, 2000).

Access to Information in the Networked World

Will the emerging global information infrastructure (GII) create a revolution in communication equivalent to that wrought by Gutenberg, or will the result be simply the evolutionary adaptation of existing behavior and institutions to new media? Will the GII improve access to information for all? Will it replace libraries and publishers? How can computers and information systems be made easier to use? What are the trade-offs between tailoring information systems to user communities and standardizing them to interconnect with systems designed for other communities, cultures, and languages?This book takes a close look at these and other questions of technology, behavior, and policy surrounding the GII. Topics covered include the design and use of digital libraries; behavioral and institutional aspects of electronic publishing; the evolving role of libraries; the life cycle of creating, using, and seeking information; and the adoption and adaptation of information technologies. The book takes a human-centered perspective, focusing on how well the GII fits into the daily lives of the people it is supposed to benefit.Taking a unique holistic approach to information access, the book draws on research and practice in computer science, communications, library and information science, information policy, business, economics, law, political science, sociology, history, education, and archival and museum studies. It explores both domestic and international issues. The author's own empirical research is complemented by extensive literature reviews and analyses.