A Critical Theory of Library Technology:  Libraries & Electronic Publishing  Ajit K. Pyati, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Facu...
Today’s Presentation <ul><li>Background: Electronic Publishing in the “Information Society” </li></ul><ul><li>What is “cri...
Research Background <ul><li>Information society linked to connectivity, access to ICTs; World Summit on the Information So...
Scholarly Publication “Crisis”  <ul><li>Needs to be viewed in the context of the dominant information society vision </li>...
Libraries’ Responses to the “Crisis” <ul><li>Cutting subscriptions </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy - ALA, CLA, ACRL, IFLA </li>...
Open Access Initiatives (OA) <ul><li>Response to scholarly publication crisis - Harnad, Suber, Willinsky, etc. </li></ul><...
Libraries in the Face of a Crisis: Need for Critical Theories for Action/Reflection <ul><li>What are different social theo...
Library Ethics and Values  <ul><li>Libraries and values of democratic access to information </li></ul><ul><li>How can we e...
What is “critical theory?” <ul><li>Social theory with origins in Germany - Institute for Social Research (founded 1923) - ...
Critical Theory of Technology <ul><li>Andrew Feenberg’s critical theory of technology  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawing from ...
Critical Theory of Technology (2) <ul><li>Democratization of technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Opening technical developm...
Questions for Consideration <ul><li>What are the dimensions of a   critical theory of technology that can enhance library ...
Critical Theory and Library Technology? <ul><li>How can critical theory of technology be applied to the library context? <...
A Critical Theory of Library Technology  <ul><li>Conceptual tool for understanding and reflection about what democratizati...
A Critical Theory of Library Technology - Part I: Foundations <ul><li>Technology as fundamental basis of library developme...
A Critical Theory of Library Technology - Part II: Analysis <ul><li>Levels of impact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy & Advoc...
Critical Theory, OA and Libraries <ul><li>Libraries as “battlegrounds” for contesting increasing commodification of inform...
Critical Theory and Library Promotion of OA <ul><li>In-depth, “test” cases needed of library-based OA advocacy  </li></ul>...
Future Research  <ul><li>How can we use the critical theory of library technology framework to study other library technol...
Thank You! Ajit Pyati [email_address]
Research Agenda  <ul><li>International library development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Libraries and information access in the d...
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A Critical Theory of Library Technology: Libraries & Electronic Publishing

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This is Ajit Pyati's presentation at the PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference 2007, Vancouver, Canada. Posted here under permission of the author. This presentation is blogged at http://scholarlypublishing.blogspot.com

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A Critical Theory of Library Technology: Libraries & Electronic Publishing

  1. 1. A Critical Theory of Library Technology: Libraries & Electronic Publishing Ajit K. Pyati, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Faculty of Information and Media Studies University of Western Ontario July 13, 2007 PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference 2007 Vancouver, BC
  2. 2. Today’s Presentation <ul><li>Background: Electronic Publishing in the “Information Society” </li></ul><ul><li>What is “critical theory?” </li></ul><ul><li>A Critical Theory of Library Technology </li></ul><ul><li>A Case Study: Libraries & Electronic Publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research Background <ul><li>Information society linked to connectivity, access to ICTs; World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) </li></ul><ul><li>Technological determinism; information commodification </li></ul><ul><li>Packaging of certain political/economic structures with ICTs </li></ul>
  4. 4. Scholarly Publication “Crisis” <ul><li>Needs to be viewed in the context of the dominant information society vision </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic licensing of journals prohibitively expensive for many libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Concentration of academic publishers - monopoly over scholarly knowledge production </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing commodification of knowledge/information </li></ul>
  5. 5. Libraries’ Responses to the “Crisis” <ul><li>Cutting subscriptions </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy - ALA, CLA, ACRL, IFLA </li></ul><ul><li>Open access movements </li></ul>
  6. 6. Open Access Initiatives (OA) <ul><li>Response to scholarly publication crisis - Harnad, Suber, Willinsky, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Varying forms of open access - repositories, OA journals, self-archiving, delayed OA, etc. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Libraries in the Face of a Crisis: Need for Critical Theories for Action/Reflection <ul><li>What are different social theories we can draw upon to derive theoretical frameworks to understand library-based OA advocacy? </li></ul><ul><li>Need for critical theory in the field </li></ul>
  8. 8. Library Ethics and Values <ul><li>Libraries and values of democratic access to information </li></ul><ul><li>How can we extend these values to the realm of technology in libraries? </li></ul><ul><li>What does democratization mean in the context of library technology? </li></ul>
  9. 9. What is “critical theory?” <ul><li>Social theory with origins in Germany - Institute for Social Research (founded 1923) - “Frankfurt School” of critical theory </li></ul><ul><li>Multidisciplinary perspective - combining macro and micro perspectives, making connections </li></ul><ul><li>Transformative social theory for action/reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Deals with emancipatory concerns within the context of oppressive socio-economic, political, and ideological conditions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Critical Theory of Technology <ul><li>Andrew Feenberg’s critical theory of technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawing from Frankfurt School tradition - Marcuse & Heidegger </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critique of technological rationality, technological determinism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Ambivalence” of technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social character of technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Dialectic” of technology </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Critical Theory of Technology (2) <ul><li>Democratization of technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Opening technical development to the influence of a wider range of values is a technical project requiring broad democratic participation” (Feenberg, 2002, p.35) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feenberg, A. (2002). Transforming Technology: A Critical Theory Revisited. Oxford University Press: New York . </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Questions for Consideration <ul><li>What are the dimensions of a critical theory of technology that can enhance library public service goals? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the open access movement a route for libraries to reclaim and shape ICTs for enhancing public service missions and to democratize library technology development? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Critical Theory and Library Technology? <ul><li>How can critical theory of technology be applied to the library context? </li></ul><ul><li>Building upon critical theory of technology and library technology studies, a “critical theory of library technology” framework is formulated </li></ul>
  14. 14. A Critical Theory of Library Technology <ul><li>Conceptual tool for understanding and reflection about what democratization means in the context of library technology </li></ul><ul><li>Tool for re-envisioning roles of libraries in societal discourses about technology </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical tool for exploring library technology development </li></ul>
  15. 15. A Critical Theory of Library Technology - Part I: Foundations <ul><li>Technology as fundamental basis of library development </li></ul><ul><li>Critical theory of technology </li></ul><ul><li>Social and community informatics </li></ul>
  16. 16. A Critical Theory of Library Technology - Part II: Analysis <ul><li>Levels of impact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy & Advocacy - Are library technology actions progressive and democratic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual & Community - Are library technology actions participatory and community-oriented? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systems & Institution - Are library technology actions open and collaborative? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Critical Theory, OA and Libraries <ul><li>Libraries as “battlegrounds” for contesting increasing commodification of information </li></ul><ul><li>Contesting “stranglehold” of commercial publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Creating openings for more democratic production and access of scholarly knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Exposing tensions and contradictions of techno-capitalism </li></ul>
  18. 18. Critical Theory and Library Promotion of OA <ul><li>In-depth, “test” cases needed of library-based OA advocacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for exemplars of library open access advocacy to begin applying the framework as a mode of analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does OA embody the principles and ethics of critical theory? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Future Research <ul><li>How can we use the critical theory of library technology framework to study other library technology practices? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open access publishing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community archiving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital reference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Etc, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How can this framework adapt and incorporate other relevant social theories and approaches? </li></ul>
  20. 20. Thank You! Ajit Pyati [email_address]
  21. 21. Research Agenda <ul><li>International library development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Libraries and information access in the developing world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information society & policy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culturally relevant and social justice-oriented ICT4D projects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Globalization, migration, & ICTs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immigrant and diasporic communities and information behavior; new media technologies; politics and power of cultural representation </li></ul></ul>

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