Digital Culture

I teach digital culture because I read and write about the history of information sciences. Some people think of information science as something that only concerns professional librarians. Studying the history of communication technologies, however, makes clear that how we organize and circulate information everyday has much to do with information sciences pioneered long before digital computers. To take just one example, the map below diagrams undersea cables that the British Empire used to connect the world by telegraph. If it weren’t for that nineteenth-century technology, the networks now in place for transmitting digital files—including the Internet—would not exist as we know them. A recent book by Nicole Starosielski titled The Undersea Network tells the cultural history of submarine communication cables and their fraught relationship to global politics.

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