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Information Science and Technology

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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.

Each of us has an ever-growing collection of personal digital data: documents, photographs, PowerPoint presentations, videos, music, emails and texts sent and received. To access any of this, we have to find it. The ease (or difficulty) of finding something depends on how we organize our digital stuff. In this book, personal information management (PIM) experts Ofer Bergman and Steve Whittaker explain why we organize our personal digital data the way we do and how the design of new PIM systems can help us manage our collections more efficiently.

Big data is ubiquitous but heterogeneous. Big data can be used to tally clicks and traffic on web pages, find patterns in stock trades, track consumer preferences, identify linguistic correlations in large corpuses of texts. This book examines big data not as an undifferentiated whole but contextually, investigating the varied challenges posed by big data for health, science, law, commerce, and politics. Taken together, the chapters reveal a complex set of problems, practices, and policies.

The New AI

Today, machine learning underlies a range of applications we use every day, from product recommendations to voice recognition—as well as some we don’t yet use everyday, including driverless cars. It is the basis of the new approach in computing where we do not write programs but collect data; the idea is to learn the algorithms for the tasks automatically from data.

Uses and Abuses

The research evaluation market is booming. “Ranking,” “metrics,” “h-index,” and “impact factors” are reigning buzzwords. Government and research administrators want to evaluate everything—teachers, professors, training programs, universities—using quantitative indicators. Among the tools used to measure “research excellence,” bibliometrics—aggregate data on publications and citations—has become dominant.

We may imagine the digital cloud as placeless, mute, ethereal, and unmediated. Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers, any one of which can use as much electricity as a midsized town. Even all these data centers are only one small part of the cloud. Behind that cloud-shaped icon on our screens is a whole universe of technologies and cultural norms, all working to keep us from noticing their existence. In this book, Tung-Hui Hu examines the gap between the real and the virtual in our understanding of the cloud.

A Practical Guide

Through five editions since 1981, this book has offered the most comprehensive accessible guide available to all aspects of copyright law. Now, with the sixth edition, The Copyright Book has been thoroughly updated to cover copyright for the Internet age, discussing a range of developments in the law since 2000.

Libraries have existed for millennia, but today the library field is searching for solid footing in an increasingly fragmented (and increasingly digital) information environment. What is librarianship when it is unmoored from cataloging, books, buildings, and committees? In The Atlas of New Librarianship, R. David Lankes offers a guide to this new landscape for practitioners.

People keep track. In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin kept charts of time spent and virtues lived up to. Today, people use technology to self-track: hours slept, steps taken, calories consumed, medications administered. Ninety million wearable sensors were shipped in 2014 to help us gather data about our lives. This book examines how people record, analyze, and reflect on this data, looking at the tools they use and the communities they become part of.

Most of the information available on cloud computing is either highly technical, with details that are irrelevant to non-technologists, or pure marketing hype, in which the cloud is simply a selling point. This book, however, explains the cloud from the user’s viewpoint—the business user’s in particular. Nayan Ruparelia explains what the cloud is, when to use it (and when not to), how to select a cloud service, how to integrate it with other technologies, and what the best practices are for using cloud computing.

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