Scholarship in the Digital Age

Scholarship in the Digital Age

Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet

By Christine L. Borgman

An exploration of the technical, social, legal, and economic aspects of the scholarly infrastructure needed to support research activities in all fields in the twenty-first century.





An exploration of the technical, social, legal, and economic aspects of the scholarly infrastructure needed to support research activities in all fields in the twenty-first century.

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.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262026192 360 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 b&w illus.


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262514903 360 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 b&w illus.


  • Comprehensive, comprehensible and authoritative...This book may be recommended to anyone--scholar or practitioner--involved in digital information infrastructures and provision.

    David Bawden

  • In a world where scientific networks and communication are now increasingly visible and open, Borgman has illuminated the discussion of the scholarly communication system itself.

    Richard Akerman



  • Advances in communication and information technologies are connecting library, information, and computer sciences with subject matter disciplines to e-enable a growing range of research practices from data collection to publication and archiving. Professor Borgman is one of the few authorities in this emerging space who can speak clearly to all the relevant disciplines about the inter-related technical, social and institutional developments reconfiguring how scholars do what they do. This book will be of great value to students, researchers, and policy-makers interested in the implications of the digital age on scholarly work.

    Professor William H. Dutton

    Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

  • As Borgman asserts and illustrates, work is well underway to build an advanced information infrastructure to support scholarship and learning under many alternate rubrics. Lacking in much of this work, however, is an adequate appreciation of the intrinsic technical and social nature of infrastructure--cyber or otherwise. In Scholarship in the Digital Age, Borgman has made a significant contribution to such understanding in ways that will have practical payoff for both the creators and users of emerging information infrastructure. She has also linked many important threads of research and development for building and understanding contemporary platforms for knowledge communities. This is an excellent book.

    Daniel E. Atkins

    Professor of Information, Computer Science and Engineering, and Founding Dean, School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  • There is no one better qualified than Christine Borgman to reflect on how scholarship is being affected by the emergence of digital technologies. She brings deep understanding about the practices of scholars, the historical and social forces that shape them, and the characteristics of the emerging technologies. This book is required reading for all those interested in twenty-first century scholarship.

    Gary M. Olson

    Paul M. Fitts Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, School of Information, University of Michigan


  • Awarded 2008 "Best Information Science Book" by the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS& T)