Benkler’s Post-Industrial Information Production and Libraries

My summer reading plans veered off course in seconds flat—only a couple days after I posted them here, I checked out Yochai Benkler’s Wealth of Networks from the library and thereafter have been happily submerged in its rich sea of ideas. So many elements of the book are proving provocative that I’ve had trouble adhering to my hopes of a weekly blog post, overwhelmed by too much to digest and repond to. Here’s a very meager and superficial start, which may or may not become part of a larger, more thorough essay in the long run.

As one who’s been swept up by the pro-openness/commons and anti-copyright-expansion rhetoric now in vogue in many liberal circles (see here and here and here), I’ve been jonesing on the “let’s begin at the beginning,” philosophically grounded, empirically argued approach of the Wealth of Networks. Especially exciting to me is the exploration of economic and political theory—realms of thought routinely ignored in the practical and scholarly literature I have been exposed to in my library and information science grad program and in my personal readings. Continue reading

Joel Agee Essay on Memory, Memoirs, and Fiction

An army of truth tellers has conquered large numbers of the dwindling faithful who still read books. Confession, in print and on TV, is fast becoming the primary public mode in which human interiority speaks and is heard. The self-avowed lies of fiction are no longer in fashion. Everyone is writing memoirs. Subjectivity and imagination, it seems, are slipping the border into the non-fiction columns, where they live as quasi-illegal aliens, poorly housed among the facts, performing thankless but necessary labors. Continue reading

Network Effects, Read-Write Cultures–Thoughts on Lessig Lecture

On Friday, the University of Washington hosted a free lecture with Lawrence Lessig, nominally a Stanford law professor but in substance an articulate, compelling, and engaging writer and speaker on issues relating to creativity, intellectual property, and politics.

In spite of the melba-toast texture of the topic, “Is Google (2008) the New Microsoft (1998),” what an engaging and (unexpectedly) empassioned talk it was. Continue reading