18 July 2007

Information Ecologies

Thoughts after reading Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart (Nardi and O'Day, 1999):

1. Maybe it's just more of what I'm looking for, but I found this considerably more meaty than I found Small Pieces. Not as glowing, but equally hopeful.

2. The second half of the book is case studies. I don't much like case studies, I've discovered, though Nardi and O'Day do a nice job of tying the case studies into the conclusion.

3. The metaphor of information ecology seems helpful. Nardi and O'Day suggest it as an alternative both to the oversimplified metaphor of technology as a tool, and as a corrective on the sometimes completely overwhelming metaphor of technology as a system, advocated by Ellul, Winner, and others. And they suggest the ecological metaphor while taking both the notion of technology as a tool and as a system seriously.

A fine read ... though I'd probably skip the case studies, except possibly the discussion of the Internet. Not sure what I'll read next. I had thought Dark Fiber, but it seems awfully thick.

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