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Digitize This Book!

Digitize This Book!: The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now

Volume: 24
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Digitize This Book!
    Book Description:

    Gary Hall presents a timely and ambitious polemic on the potential that open access publishing has to transform both “papercentric” humanities scholarship and the institution of the university itself. Rigorously interrogating the intellectual, political, and ethical implications of open access, Digitize This Book! is a radical call for democratizing access to knowledge and transforming the structures of academic and institutional authority and legitimacy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6631-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION Another University Is Possible
    (pp. 1-18)

    What kind of university is desirable, or even possible, in the age of digital reproduction: CDs, DVDs, cell phones, computers, laptops, printers, the World Wide Web, the Internet, e-mails, text and picture messages, e-books, open-source and free software, blogs, Google, MP3 files, BitTorrent, podcasts, Bluetooth, Wikipedia, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Second Life, Kindle, and so on?¹ It is an understatement to say that many of the changes introduced in the university in recent years have met with a fairly unfavorable response from both academics and nonacademics alike.² These changes include:

    The establishment of an internal market within higher education, as...

  5. METADATA I Notes on Creating Critical Computer Media
    (pp. 19-36)

    Another way of thinking about this book is that it concerns some of the stories and narratives we tell ourselves about new or emerging media.¹ Obviously, digitization—the conversion of media that previously existed in analogue forms (books, newspapers, films, and so forth) into digital data that can be dealt with by computers as a series of numbers in a binary system—is central to a lot of new media technology. But I am also arguing for the importance, within this, of paying attention not just to the specificity, but also the singularity of new media.² Which is why I...


    • 1 Why All Academic Research and Scholarship Should Be Made Available in Online Open-Access Archives—Now!
      (pp. 39-54)

      In 2000, for the first time in over a decade—some say for the first time ever—worldwide sales of music compact discs (CDs) fell. The decline continued the following year. The sale of CD singles in the United States, for example, dropped by almost 40 percent in 2000, and fell a further 10 percent in 2001 (Harmon 2002).¹ For a while, only France and Great Britain bucked this global downward trend, in the latter’s case partly thanks to the huge success of artists such as Robbie Williams and Dido (remember her?). Yet with the value of United Kingdom music...

    • 2 Judgment and Responsibility in the Wikipedia Era
      (pp. 55-79)

      As the reader may have gathered, it is not my intention here to provide a broad account or detailed history of the development of open access, its philosophy, the associated legal disputes and debates, and the case for its economic, social, and intellectual benefits. A number of texts available both online and off already cover these topics.¹ Besides, for all that I have writtenDigitize This Book!, at least in part, to advocate for open access to be adopted more extensively, in the humanities especially, I am not interested in open access so much for its own sake; my concern...

    • METADATA II Print This!
      (pp. 80-87)

      Digitize This Book! develops an argument I laid out in an earlier book,Culture in Bits(2002). There I showed, first, how for many cultural studies had become too concerned with producing abstract Foucauldian, Derridean, or Lacanian readings of cultural images and texts that are far removed from the practical, political, material realities of power and oppression. What cultural studies needed from that standpoint—and needs even more so today post–September 11, July 7, and the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq—is far more social, economic, and political analysis emphasizing the importance of the empirical, the material, and the...

    • 3 IT, Again; or, How to Build an Ethical Institution
      (pp. 88-102)

      By now I hope to have persuaded you, dear reader, of the importance of digitizing academic research and scholarship and publishing it open access, even of creating open-access journals and open-access archives.¹ None of this is especially difficult to do. Nowadays a significant number of universities provide the means for their staff to both publish their research electronically via local repositories and access other stores held by institutions participating in the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) international initiatives. SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) has also set up...


    • 4 Antipolitics and the Internet
      (pp. 105-150)

      One of the main arguments in this book—as developed in the last two chapters—is that the potential challenge to the established modes of academic legitimation offered by the digital reproduction of scholarly research literature, and open-access publishing and archiving in particular, raises questions one might place under the heading of “ethics.” (Again, I stress that I am using ethics here not according to its conceptualization by traditional moral philosophy, where ethics consists of a set of predefined codes and norms, but rather in the sense Jacques Derrida gives to the term. Following the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, whose work...

    • METADATA III The Specificity of New Media
      (pp. 151-166)

      The emphasis placed in the last chapter on acting tactically goes some way toward explaining why it is so important for me not to generalize about new media in this book. What I am primarily focusing on is one actual, specific form and use of new media: that associated with open-access electronic publishing and archiving, and my own ʺpracticalʺ work in this area in particular. I am doing so, as I made clear in my first set of metadata, partly as a way of responding to concerns around research on new media raised by Jeffrey Sconce and Mark Poster, among...

    • 5 HyperCyberDemocracy
      (pp. 167-186)

      In his essay “Cyberdemocracy,” Mark Poster identifies a number of ways the Internet may “resist” and reconfigure “modern” conceptions of politics. These include one of the basic assumptions underpinning many of the “older positions” regarding politics on the Internet: namely, that we are sovereign, autonomous, and unified individuals communicating rationally with each other, sometimes face-to-face, as in public meetings (the Greek agora, eighteenth-century coffee shops, New England town halls), but more often nowadays via external technological media of communication (television, radio, the press, and so on). For Poster, the Internet represents a challenge to this idea that “the relation between...

  8. CONCLUSION Next-Generation Cultural Studies?
    (pp. 187-207)

    Having considered some of the multiple discourses and narratives around the politics of new technologies and new media in the last few chapters, let us now return to the specific (or perhaps even singular) question of the politics of open access, weaving together some of the connections that can be made between a number of the nodal points I have touched upon in this book on the way.

    By following the logic of Poster’s argument in “Cyberdemocracy,” and especially his openness to reconfiguring politics beyond, and in excess of, its traditional, subjective, foundational, democratic, and transcendental determinations, we can see...

  9. METADATA IV The Singularity of New Media
    (pp. 208-216)

    Can open-access journals and archives such asCulture Machineand CSeARCH be seen as singular instances of the kind of inventive, creative, experimental militantism Hardt and Negri talk about? Due to the (by now understandable, I hope) reluctance on my part to subscribe to a ʺready-madeʺ version of politics, I want to leave this question in abeyance for the time being. I only want to stress that, while a cultural studies open-access archive would not be simply or even most interestingly political to the extent that it adheres to preconceived ideas of politics, itmay have the potential to be...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 217-270)
    (pp. 271-291)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 292-302)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 303-303)