The Case for Books; Past Present and Future

I am back in Melbourne now and normal viewing will resume once when I find my feet.

In the mean time, here is a new book from the cultural historian, Robert Darnton who has recently taken up the post as Librarian at Harvard University.

“In The Case for Books, Robert Darnton offers an in-depth examination of the book from its earliest beginnings to its shifting role today in popular culture, commerce, and the academy. In a lasting collection drawn from previously published and new work alike, Robert Darnton lends unique authority to the life and role of the book in society. The resulting book is a wise work of scholarship – one that requires readers to carefully consider how the digital revolution will broadly affect the marketplace of ideas.”–BOOK JACKET.
Full contents Google and the future of books — The information landscape — The future of libraries — Lost and found in cyberspace — E-books and old books — Gutenberg-e — Open access — A paean to paper — The importance of being bibliographical — The mysteries of reading — The history of book (link to library catalogue)

The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery

‘Presenting the first broad look at the rapidly emerging field of data-intensive science’

The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery

Increasingly, scientific breakthroughs will be powered by advanced computing capabilities that help researchers manipulate and explore massive datasets.

The speed at which any given scientific discipline advances will depend on how well its researchers collaborate with one another, and with technologists, in areas of eScience such as databases, workflow management, visualization, and cloud computing technologies.

In The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery, the collection of essays expands on the vision of pioneering computer scientist Jim Gray for a new, fourth paradigm of discovery based on data-intensive science and offers insights into how it can be fully realized.

Scientific Collaborations on the Internet


(A fantastic book for e-Science buffs!)

Modern science is increasingly collaborative, as signaled by rising numbers of coauthored papers, papers with international coauthors, and multi-investigator grants. Historically, scientific collaborations were carried out by scientists in the same physical location—the Manhattan Project of the 1940s, for example, involved thousands of scientists gathered on a remote plateau in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Today, information and communication technologies allow cooperation among scientists from far-flung institutions and different disciplines. Scientific Collaboration on the Internet provides both broad and in-depth views of how new technology is enabling novel kinds of science and engineering collaboration. The book offers commentary from notable experts in the field along with case studies of large-scale collaborative projects, past and ongoing (link)

New Book: World Wide Web of Research

A new book will be released soon titled: World Wide Web of Reseach: Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities (Cambridge; the MIT Press). It is edited by Bill Dutton and Paul Jeffreys, both of Oxford. Dutton is Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) whilst Paul Jeffreys is Director of IT at Oxford. I believe the book will be focussed upon the issues of eResearch in the Sciences and Humanities; very important issues for the Digital Humanities. The eResearch aganda primarily encapsulates data-reuse and research collaboration through such systems as VREs (Virtual Research Environments). We have a progamme in this field here at King’s called AHESSC (Arts and Humanities eScience Suport Centre). I look forward to the book; I tried to pre-order it on Amazon but with no luck. You can find Bill Dutton’s blog here..


(as researchers, perhaps we are spiders stuck in a web)

New Book: Digital Scholarship


A interesting new book on Digital Scholarship was released in December called ‘Digital Scholarship’; edited by Marta Mestrovic Deyrup. I haven’t ordered, read, and reviewed  this book as yet (it doesn’t come cheap at 57 pounds).

What I see as one of the grand challenges of digital resources and scholarship is developing an explicit understanding of how they are actually incorporated into humanities research practices (and please, not through counting things!).  This requires an empathy towards humanities researchers so as to understand how they establish meaning from these resources.   Also, the concept of interdisciplinarity really needs to be interrogated socially and politically in the digital scholarship field, as at times, it is applied as a utopian buzz word lacking context and thus meaning and reeks of new-right anti-intellectualism. Here is a blurb from the dust-cover.

Collecting important original essays by librarians and archivists – all of whom are actively engaged in building digital collections – Digital Scholarship details both challenges and proven solutions in establishing, maintaining, and servicing digital scholarship in the humanities. This volume further explores the ways in which the humanities have benefited from the ability to digitize text and page images of historic documents, mine large corpuses of texts and other forms of records, and assemble widely dispersed cultural objects into common repositories for comparison and analysis–making new research questions and methods possible for the first time.

The ten notable scholars included in Digital Scholarship offer a balanced view of the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to digitization, reporting both progress and problems, examining new business models, new forms of partnerships, and the new technologies and resources that make many more library and archival services available. Librarians and library staff everywhere will find Digital Scholarship an essential text for the modern library and an illuminating resource for anyone looking to understand the changing face of research in the electronic age.

McKenzie Wark discusses new projects

Her is a (re-posted) article from Realtime abous McKenzie Wark and written by Darren Toffs. Wark is involved in a very interesting online book project (link). Search for ‘New Wark Vectors’.

He was the young turk of Australian cultural studies in the 1980s and an architect of the emerging cyberscene of the 90s. He gave us a lexicon of key terms that shaped our understanding of the last 20 years. Like other notable Australian expats before him (Robert Hughes, Peter Carey), McKenzie Wark has settled in New York City, where he lives with his wife, the actor and writer Christen Clifford, and their son, Felix. Wark refers to himself as a New Yorker, but is quick to add that his roots (or should that be aerials) are still very much in Australia. His moniker has been notably absent from Australian literary pages in recent years and I caught up with him where he can always be found, on the net, to see what he has been up to.
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