Information 2.0, 2nd edition

Apr 2015 | 192pp

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Information 2.0, 2nd edition
New models of information production, distribution and consumption

Martin De Saulles

This textbook provides an overview of the digital information landscape and explains the implications of the technological changes for the information industry, from publishers and broadcasters to the information professionals who manage information in all its forms.

This fully-updated second edition includes examples of organizations and individuals who are seizing on the opportunities thrown up by this once-in-a-generation technological shift providing a cutting-edge guide to where we are going both as information consumers and in terms of broader societal changes.

Each chapter explores aspects of the information lifecycle, including production, distribution, storage and consumption and contains case studies chosen to illustrate particular issues and challenges facing the information industry.

One of the key themes of the book is the way that organizations, public and commercial, are blurring their traditional lines of responsibility. Amazon is moving from simply selling books to offering the hardware and software for reading them. Apple still makes computer hardware but also manages one of the world’s leading marketplaces for music and software applications. Google maintains its position as the most popular internet search engine but has also digitized millions of copies of books from leading academic libraries and backed the development of the world’s most popular computing platform, Android. At the heart of these changes are the emergence of cheap computing devices for decoding and presenting digital information and a network which allows the bits and bytes to flow freely, for the moment at least, from producer to consumer.

While the digital revolution is impacting on everyone who works with information, sometimes negatively, the second edition of Information 2.0 shows that the opportunities outweigh the risks for those who take the time to understand what is going on. Information has never been more abundant and accessible so those who know how to manage it for the benefit of others in the digital age will be in great demand.

1. Introduction 

  • What is information? 
  • The foundations of the information society 
  • The internet as a driver of change 
  • The big challenges of big data 
  • What about the information providers? 
  • New ways of creating information 
  • Where do we put all this information? 
  • Why information matters 

2. New models of information production 

  • Introduction 
  • Blogs: the state of the blogosphere
  • Blogging 2.0
  • Who can you trust?
  • Blogs and social media as agents of change
  • Blogging for money
  • The economics of print media 
  • The transition to digital news
  • Digital-only news publishers
  • The new generation of news consumers
  • Business publishing 
  • Wikis and collaborative publishing 
  • Search engines and what they know 
  • Gaming Google
  • Does Google know too much?
  • Our social graphs 
  • What are we worth?
  • The challenge of big data 
  • Data types 
  • When everything is connected
  • Data as the new currency
  • Concluding comments 

3. New models of information storage 

  • Introduction 
  • Preserving the internet 
  • How organizations store information 
  • Academia 
  • Data mining 
  • Collection digitization 
  • Keeping it all safe 
  • Storage at the personal level 
  • Putting it in the cloud 
  • Our digital footprints 
  • The future of storage 
  • Concluding comments 

4. New models of information distribution 

  • Introduction 
  • The architecture of the internet 
  • Distribution and disintermediation 
  • The new intermediaries 
  • Intermediaries in the shadows 
  • Copyright-friendly intermediaries 
  • Online video – we are all celebrities now 
  • The video classroom
  • Open government and the internet 
  • Proactive government 
  • Defensive government 
  • Offensive government
  • Helping the information flow both ways 
  • Making money from public information 
  • Threats to the open web 
  • Concluding comments 

5. New models of information consumption 

  • Introduction 
  • Information consumption devices 
  • Mobile consumption devices 
  • Looking beyond the artefact 
  • It is all about the apps 
  • Information ecosystems: gilded cages or innovation hotbeds? 
  • Returning to an open web 
  • HTML5 – an antidote to appification?
  • The experiential web
  • Rent or buy?
  • Making sense of it all 
  • Information literacy 
  • Information overload
  • Implications for information professionals 
  • Concluding comments

6. Conclusion 

  • Introduction 
  • The struggle for control in a networked world
  • Implications for information professionals 
  • The knowledge management opportunity 
  • The future of search 
  • Ninja librarians 
  • Implications for publishers 
  • The copyright challenge 
  • Hooked on tablets

"...an informative and thorough title that makes sense of how changes in technology are impacting all aspects of society; economics, education and more. It is even-handed throughout; there are arguments made about the democratizing influence of the Internet and how barriers that might have constrained our access to information have been reduced. Yet there are still cautionary tales. The likes of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, which aimed to make information via the Internet accessible to us all, are the now the new monopolies and there are significant issues about how they use our information. Although we live in an era of information overload and that information seems difficult to control or keep on top of, de Saulles reiterates the need of the information professional and that its role is equally vital in the ‘Wild West’ free-for-all new information landscape. This is a title that is very readable and clear. De Saulles uses case studies to outline his points and does not veer into jargon that might leave the casual reader to engage in head-scratching. Information 2.0 is just as valuable for the casual reader as for the information professional and it clarifies what otherwise is a very confusing picture."
- Ariadne

"Martin De Saulles provides a concise, yet relatively wide-ranging, overview of the enduring issues and current crises in information and communication technologies (ICT) in Information 2.0: New Models of Information Production, Distribution and Consumption. Keenly aware of the rapidly shifting landscape of ICT, his book examines the diverse types of information created and consumed today; the role of data in society, from personal uses to mass governmental and business initiatives; the history of information technology over the past half century; and the exponentially expanding networks of corporate and governmental actors that control the access and management of ICT."
- Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

Reviews of the previous edition

"...an impressive book: the author’s intention is admirable and he fulfils it successfully. Information 2.0 is a professional in every way – professionally written, professionally published, and well suited to a professional readership."
- Monographer's Blog

"This textbook for students undertaking library and information management courses gives a good introduction to the current situation of web 2.0 and the impact it has on our profession."
- Managing Information

"Overall, this book provides a succinct overview of the last 20 years of technological development and would be a suitable read for information science students or young professionals. It explores how the landscape has changed, what the driving factors are, and how this transformation has influenced information providers, creators and users."
- Journal of Librarianship and Information Science

Dr Martin De Saulles is a Principal Lecturer in digital marketing at the University of Brighton. He has worked in the information and technology sectors for 20 years as a researcher, analyst, entrepreneur, writer and academic.

1. Introduction

This chapter sets the scene for the issues addressed in this book and provide a broader context within which to think about the digital revolution we find ourselves in.  

2. New models of information production 

This chapter considers the impact of new models of information production on existing industries such as newspaper and book publishing as well as new industries that are being created around digital currencies, social media and the connection to the internet of household and wearable technologies such as thermostats and watches.  While the migration of established newspaper publishers to the internet may be seen as an evolutionary development, the creation of new global currencies based on computer algorithms could be argued to be a far more radical and disruptive innovation.  Similarly, the mass adoption of wearable fitness devices which are constantly tracking and reporting our health status has the potential to revolutionise researchers’ understanding of how diseases develop and help users adopt early preventative measures.  Perhaps less socially beneficial but of enormous commercial value are the information trails we leave behind whenever we use a search engine, visit a website or share our thoughts and photos over social media services.  We may not see much of the information generated by our smart devices and our online behaviour but it is important to understand what these outputs are, who has access to them and what they are doing with it.  

This chapter explores these issues and considers some of the key debates around the economics and ethics of these new forms of information production.  Economic issues are at the core of debates around the future of news publishing while there is an emerging concern about who owns the data we are generating through our interactions with the digital world and ethical and legal questions around what third parties should be allowed to do with it. The chapter begins the exploration of new models of information production by entering the blogosphere and considering the impact blogs are having on magazine and newspaper industries.

3. New models of information storage 

As Levie (2011) points out, by 2020 businesses will have to deal with 50 times the amount of data they did in 2011 and ‘Our software, infrastructure, and organizations are ill ¬prepared to manage this scale of data creation, let alone generate anything meaningful or useful with this amount of content being created and shared.’ This chapter will explore the implications of these changes for the way we manage information in the 21st century and what it means for the organizations and individuals that produce and consume the ever ¬increasing streams of digital bits.

4. New models of information distribution 

At the heart of the current information revolution are radical changes to the way information, in all its forms, is distributed. Obviously, the internet has been a key driver of these changes but so too have other advances and investments in communication networks, particularly on the mobile front. By the beginning of 2015 almost one¬ half (approximately 3 billion people) of the world’s population were connected to the internet while more than 90% of the world had mobile phones. It is across these networks that much of the information we consume is carried. Broadly, we are moving from a centralized broadcast model of information distribution to a more distributed and, some would argue, more democratic model where many of the established information gatekeepers are being bypassed. Just as the railways in the 19th century transformed the movement of goods and people across many western economies, communication systems are doing the same for information. However, a key difference between these networks is the ease of access with which individuals and organizations can access them as well as fundamental differences between the physical world and the digital. Systems for moving objects such as roads and railways are limited in their capacity to carry people and vehicles, as anyone who has to travel in rush hour knows, while digital networks, particularly those using optical fibre, are far less constrained. This chapter explains some of the key technical characteristics of our communication networks within the context of the radical changes that are taking place in the information sector. The competing interests of information producers and network operators are explored and the implications for information professionals considered. 

5. New models of information consumption 

Having looked at new ways that information is produced, distributed and stored, this chapter will consider new ways that we are consuming information. Ultimately, the way we consume information has not changed over the years as it still relies on the sensory functions of our eyes and ears to pass sights and sounds to our brains for decoding, processing and making sense of. However, the methods and devices by which information now reaches us have changed dramatically. An evolving ecosystem of hardware and software is constantly struggling for our attention as we work, play, relax and travel. Where time and location were once constraints on the types of information we could access, these barriers are being broken down as devices become portable and networks become pervasive. Giddens (1990) explained the significance of this dislocation with his concept of time and space distanciation whereby remote connections and interactions come to dominate modern life. The first telegraph and telephone systems built in the 19th century began this revolution while more recent developments in computing and mobile devices and networks have accelerated it. 

The following sections will explore a range of issues surrounding these developments and consider their implications for information professionals and the work they do. The plethora of new information consumption devices will be examined within the context of the networks and information ecosystems that support them. A central theme will be the tension between organizations that are attempting to exert control over these systems and those organizations and users looking to develop a more open environment. This tension is an extension of the battles we have seen over PC operating systems and which now extend to mobile devices and the applications that run on them. We will look at the discussions surrounding information overload and how, as some would argue, we are becoming unable to process all the information that is pushed at us from fellow workers, friends and social media contacts. Related to these discussions is the issue of information literacy and a concern that, while most of us can use the internet to find information, many people struggle to make sense of what they find. The opportunities for information professionals in helping users to develop their information literacy skills will be considered, as the role for many IPs is changing from information gatekeeper to facilitator. Finally, this chapter will look at how organizations are trying to make sense of the information that flows through their networks and consider whether the promises of knowledge management advocates from the late 20th century are finally being realized. 

6. Conclusion

We’ve seen in the preceding chapters how the digitization of information is transforming a number of industries including book, newspaper and music publishing, as well as changing the roles and responsibilities of those who manage information within organizations. While there is a danger for industry commentators and analysts to overplay the role of technology in influencing organizational and societal change, an objective of this book has been to show that real changes are under way. Examples and case studies have been used to illustrate how established organizations are responding to these challenges and how new companies are being formed to take advantage of them. Alongside the focus on organizational change has been a consideration of the impact these developments are having more broadly on the work of information professionals. This concluding chapter will bring together some of the themes and issues already discussed and examine what they might mean for information workers, publishers and, more broadly, society in the second decade of the 21st century.