Monday, February 21, 2011

Sociology of Information in the News

A flurry of sociology of information items in today's New York Times:

  1. "Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins"
  2. In a digital world, scholars see an uncertain fate for an old and valued practice.
  3. "Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter"
  4. Long-form blogs were once the outlet of choice, but now sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are favored.
  5. "TV Industry Taps Social Media to Keep Viewers’ Attention"
  6. As more and more people chat on Facebook and Twitter while watching TV, networks are trying to figure out how to capitalize.
  7. "100 Years Later, the Roll of the Dead in a Factory Fire Is Complete"
  8. For the first time, the names of all the victims in the 1911 Triangle Waist Company fire will be read after a researcher’s identification of six unknown victims.

Information and the Humanities

New York Times reporter Patricia Cohen has been on the "ideas and intellectual life" beat for sometime and has recently produced some excellent pieces of potential interest to the sociologist of information:

  1. A Digital Future for the Founding Fathers." January 30, 2011. The University of Virginia Press is in the process of putting the published papers of Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin on a free Web site.
  2. "Scholars Recruit Public for Project." December 27, 2010. A project in London is using crowd-sourcing to transcribe 40,000 unpublished manuscripts of the Enlightenment philosopher Jeremy Bentham.
  3. "In 500 Billion Words, New Window on Culture." December 16, 2010. A Google-backed project allows the frequency of specific words and phrases to be tracked in centuries of books.
  4. "Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches." November 16, 2010. Digitally savvy scholars are exploring how technology can enhance understanding of the liberal arts.
  5. "Analyzing Literature by Words and Numbers." December 3, 2010.  A computer-generated process gives scholars a view into Victorian thought.