From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up-From "Cookies" to "Copyleft," "Blogs" to "Wireless Networks," "Brian Eno" to "Steven P. Jobs," this comprehensive map of modern media's technological and sociological terrain makes an essential guide for library users bewildered by the seismic changes that the past few decades have brought. Sandwiched between opening alphabetical and topical tables of contents, and a reasonably thick index, approximately 250 signed articles are arranged in a single alphabet; each one is a serious, specific topical or biographical study, enhanced by closing lists of scholarly sources and a generous number of cross-references. Along with articles about ARPANET, Vannevar Bush's prescient 1945 essay "As We May Think," and other nods to the antediluvian past, hot-button subjects of current interest such as the Communications Decency Act or the MP3 controversy receive detailed treatment, and entries on "Gender and New Media," "Telecommuting," and "Race and Ethnicity and New Media," among others, broaden the focus. Despite its stingy selection of murky black-and-white photographs, this volume merits serious consideration, even for midsize collections, as a major and well-organized source of new or hard-to-find information on a mind-bending array of topics.John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The introduction to this work starts with "What is new media? There is no single answer to be given." One is left with the feeling that new media is whatever the editor (a professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago, president and founder of the Association of Internet Researchers, and coeditor of the journal New Media & Society
) deemed appropriate, which is hardly surprising given that this is still an emerging field.
It is safe to say there is something for everyone within the just over 250 entries, which typically run from 500 words to about 2,500 (for Internet and Multimedia). There are the Internet-related terms one would expect to find (ARPANET, World Wide Web), but there are also entries for artists (Nam June Paik) and musicians (Brian Eno) as well as for specific works (The Soul of a New Machine). Many of the entries are biographical, including those, such as Steve Case and Bill Gates, who will be familiar to general readers, and those, such as feminist historian Donna J. Haraway and software engineer Pattie Maes, who may not. A work of this nature will inevitably cause some to question what should or should not have been covered. For example, the latest file-stealing service du jour (KaZaA) has but one page reference in the index (referring to the article Napster) and is not mentioned at all where it would more appropriately appear, in the entry Peer- to-peer. In addition to a name index, a general index concludes the volume, helping, for example, to steer a user with initials in mind (ISPs) to the right spot (Internet service providers). A topical list divided into 12 categories is at the beginning of the work.
All entries conclude with useful bibliographies, which, not surprisingly, feature a large number of Web citations. One expects some dead links for such entries, and this was indeed the case for a few randomly checked, though there were not very many, and only one typo was spotted within these links. Somewhat puzzling is the lack of Web addresses in spots where they would be expected. Most notable in this regard is the entry The New Hacker's Dictionary, which opens by stating it is "available online as well as in book form" but fails to cite a single Web entry in its bibliography. Both it and the entry for The New Hacker's Dictionary 's current author, Eric Raymond, completely overlook a page of links to Raymond's writings at [http://catb.org/~esr/writings].
Can this information be found on the Web? Of course--but only after wading through hundreds of hits and likely not in as clear and concise form as what appears here. Although some explanations may get a bit too technical for a computer novice, most will be understandable for the interested layperson. Recommended for all academic and public libraries that don't mind the fact that many entries will be dated very quickly. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved