Critical Information Studies (CIS)

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Critical Information Studies (CIS)

Tracey P. Lauriault-2
This in an interesting field of scholarly research of relevance to Civic Access, more attuned to debates in cultural studies regarding cultural records however, the following is very interesting, and I always like it when i see these debates from unexpected communities:

Siva Vaidhyanathan
A bibliographic manifesto

Critical Information Studies investigates four dynamic fields of scholarly analysis and debate:
  • . the abilities and liberties to use, revise, criticize, and manipulate cultural texts, images, ideas, and information;
  • . the rights and abilities of users (or consumers or citizens) to alter the means and techniques through which cultural texts and information are rendered, displayed, and distributed;
  • . the relationship among information control, property rights, technologies, and social norms; and
  • . the cultural, political, social, and economic ramifications of global flows of culture and information.
This paper takes measure of an emerging scholarly field that sits at the intersection
of many important areas of study. Critical Information Studies (CIS) considers the
ways in which culture and information are regulated by their relationship to
commerce, creativity, and other human affairs. CIS captures the variety of
approaches and bodies of knowledge needed to make sense of important phenomena
such as copyright policy, electronic voting, encryption, the state of libraries, the
preservation of ancient cultural traditions, and markets for cultural production. It
necessarily stretches to a wide array of scholarly subjects, employs multiple
complementary methodologies, and influences conversations far beyond the gates of
the university. Economists, sociologists, linguists, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists,
communication scholars, lawyers, computer scientists, philosophers, and
librarians have all contributed to this field, and thus it can serve as a model for
how engaged, relevant scholarship might be carried out. CIS interrogates the
structures, functions, habits, norms, and practices that guide global flows of
information and cultural elements. Instead of being concerned merely with one’s
right to speak (or sing or publish), CIS asks questions about access, costs, and
chilling effects on, within, and among audiences, citizens, emerging cultural
creators, indigenous cultural groups, teachers, and students. Central to these issues
is the idea of ‘semiotic democracy’, or the ability of citizens to employ the signs
and symbols ubiquitous in their environments in manners that they determine.

Keywords copyright; cultural policy; intellectual property; law;
regulation; semiotic democracy

Full Reference to the paper:
Cultural Studies Vol. 20, Nos 2 /3 March/May 2006, pp. 292 /315
ISSN 0950-2386 print/ISSN 1466-4348 online – 2006 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/09502380500521091