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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Society Online: The Internet in Context edited by Steve Jones & Philip N. Howard (Sage Publications) Within the developed world, much of society experiences political, economic, and cultural life through a set of communication technologies barely older than many citizens. Society Online examines how new media technologies have not simply diffused across society, but how they have rapidly and deeply become embedded in our organizations and institutions.

Society Online is not exclusively devoted to a particular technology, or specifically the Internet, but to a range of technologies and technological possibilities labeled "new media." Rather than trying to cover every possible topic relating to new communication technologies, this unique text is organized by how these new technologies mediate the community, political, economic, personal, and global spheres of our social lives. Editors Philip N. Howard, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Washington , and Steve Jones, Professor and Head of the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago , explore the multiple research methods that are required to understand the embeddedness of new media.

Society Online discusses the findings of the Pew Internet and American Life Project and is the first book to bring together leading social scientists to provide the most comprehensive and far-reaching Internet research data sets and to contextualize Internet use in modern life. The book features contributions by leading scholars from across the social sciences using a range of research techniques including systematic content analysis; comparative methods; quasi-experimental methods; probit; ordinary least squares and logistic regression analysis; small focus groups; historical, archival, and survey methods; ethnographic and auto-ethnographic work; and comparative analyses of policy traditions to probe, analyze, and understand the Internet in the context of everyday life.

Society Online will have high appeal for undergraduate and graduate students taking media studies courses in the areas of Communication, Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Information Sciences, and American Studies.

Online! The Book by John C. Dvorak, Chris Pirillo, & Wendy Taylor (Prentice Hall PTR) The Web is packed with great sites readers haven't discovered – great tools readers haven't tried, great things they haven't done, but that's about to change.

Online! The Book is an amazing collection of today's coolest Web stuff. Hundreds of ideas, tips, techniques, and sites, all compiled by three legendary Web and PC insiders. It provides instructions on how to

  •  Trash spam: no more junk email

  •   Download faster and smarter

  •  Protect against today's toughest viruses and hackers

  •  Build next-generation Web sites, fast

  •  Blog the world...even distribute personal content to hundreds of sites

  •  Deliver streaming media broadcasts

  •  Cut the wires and go mobile

  • Connect to an office PC over the Web

  •  Find Web communities

  •  Make the most of peer-to-peer networks

  • Use an online connection to make cheap, high-quality phone calls

Online! The Book is about everything readers ever wanted to know about going online and were afraid to ask. Unlike other books of this type, the authors go overboard and cover everything they can think of: from getting that first modem or DSL con­nection to selling something using online and email marketing tricks. The book is, simply put, about everything that has anything to do with going online.The problem with past books about the Internet and the Web is that they tend to be focused on one or two topics. The market lacked a book that covers everything and offers people an introduction to a topic and the ability to decide whether they want to learn more by specializing. This doesn't mean that this book is shallow because it isn't. It means that it is an in‑depth primer for every topic that has to do with online, Internet, and Web activity.

John Dvorak, world-renowned computer author and columnist for PC Magazine, Chris Pirillo, creator of Lockergnome technology newsletters, and Wendy Taylor, Editor of Ziff Davis Smart Business and PC Computing, have worked closely with computer users and the public at large for decades, and they have learned that there are gaps in knowledge that do not seem to be addressed by either books or magazines. There are fewer and fewer books for beginners that take a broader sweep than today's spe­cialty book. They've further discovered that most users are neither beginners nor experts but perpetually intermediate users and there is virtually nothing out there for them, either. And finally, the expert users tend to be like the books themselves – expert in limited arenas. Out of this thinking, Online! The Book was born. It addresses common gaps in information and introduces people to new and exciting aspects of the online world they may otherwise never discover. To make Online! The Book more valuable, they've added a Web site that you can access for more in‑depth information and trends that will affect the online world. The site is http://www.onlinethebook.com, and you can use it to discover additional new links and to find more features and articles on new topics of interest.

Online! The Book also includes a complete, up-to-the-minute primer for beginners. The book is designed to be used as a reference, a guide, and an overview of all topics related to the world of online communications.

Understanding the Web: The Social, Political, and Economic Dimensions of the Internet by Alan B. Albarran & David H. Goff (Iowa State Press) describes the growth and development of the World Wide Web as a communications medium since its inception and examines the Web's powerful influences or its effects on society. Now available in paperback, this groundbreaking book for students, teachers, and all those interested in the World Wide Web examines the impact that the Web has on the way the world works, lives, plays, and spends.

Understanding the Web, considers the Internet from a different perspective than most other texts on the subject. While most books approach the subject of the Internet from a "how to" standpoint, this book is unique in its examination of the Web's effect at four distinct levels. Co‑editors Alan Albarran, Professor and Chair of the Radio, Television and Film Department at the University of North Texas, Denton and editor of the Journal of Media Economics, and David  Goff, Professor and Director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, along with a field of experts, closely examine the impact of the Internet on (1) the individual, (2) the group, (3) the state/nation, and finally (4) the world. The result of the broad‑based methodology of this book is well‑documented, systematic coverage of the Web and its far‑reaching influence.

The first three chapters provide an orientation to the Internet. The next set of chapters covers significant commercial applications of the Internet. The next five chapters provide coverage of broad-based social, political, and economic dimensions of the Internet phenomenon. The final chapter provides an assessment of the state of our understanding of the significance of those dimensions.

Students and teachers will find groundbreaking information in Understanding the Web and general readers who are interested in the changes being engendered in society and in daily life by the Internet will find the book both readable and enlightening. 

This Business of Internet Law: Tools for Navigating the Evolving Business and Legal Landscape of Today's Internet Environment by X. M. Frascogna, H. Lee Hetherington, Shawnassey B. Howell (Billboard Books) The most up to date book of its kind in a market driven by currency. Despite the wide availability of the Internet there is little understanding of exactly what it is, how it works, or its true capabilities.

Despite the wide availability of the Internet, there is little understanding of precisely what it is, bow it works, or its true capabilities. Todays Internet is evolving into a complex business and legal land­scape without traditional borders. Established rules are being rewritten without the benefit of prece­dent and case examples‑in fact, many customary principles of copyright, trademark, privacy, and defamation law do not yield predictable results when applied to the new digital reality of the hiternet. As a result, millions of users are in desperate need for practical guidance in an Internet world that is largely uncharted and continually evolving.

This Business of Internet Law is written specifically for anyone using the World Wide Web, whether you are a web site proprietor, an intellectual property owner, a content provider, or an e‑consumer. It is the most up‑to‑date and accessible resource available to help you avoid the legal and technical traps that can stand in the way of an exciting new world of endless possibilities,

This comprehensive guide first discusses the basic workings of the Internet, then defines, describes, and explains in depth the new legal, business, and e‑commerce environment of cyberspace. Chapters include focuses on such important topics as: * Copyright law * The public domain * The ongoing MP3 controversy * Copyright licensing * Trademark & unfair competition law * Domain names & cyberpiracy * Privacy and security issues * Criminal liability * Jurisdiction * Contract law

Also included are chapters offering practical, straight­forward business advice for building a web site, creating a successful e‑business, managing your site, and e‑marketing your product. Appendices offer a useful glossary, a summary of key statutes, and a selection of statutory provisions.

Whether you use the World Wide Web for business purposes, legal purposes, or for your own personal purposes, This Business of Internet Law is a book you should not be without.

288 pages, 6 x 9 inches Includes: appendices and index

The Triumph of Ethernet: Technological Communities and the Battle for the LAN Standard by Urs Von Burg (Innovation and Technology in the World Economy: Stanford University Press) This is the story of the rise of Ethernet, of its remarkable transfor­mation from one of several competing technological standards for connecting computers in local area networks (LANs) into the undisputed industry and market standard. That story is fascinating in itself, but it is especially interesting for what it tells us about how technologies‑and the products that embody them‑become dominant in today's economy.

In fact, Ethernet's victory was far from being predetermined. Between the late 1970s and early 1980s dozens of established computer com­panies and specialized start‑ups backed by venture capital introduced almost as many different technologies to network computers locally. Confronted with so many alternatives, the market flirted with different technologies at various times, since each had its own merits in the dif­ferent environments in which they were put to use. After several years of intense competition, in the mid‑ to late 1980s the market chose Ethernet for an ever‑increasing variety of uses, with the result that it began to drive the other alternatives from the market. As this book explains in great detail, Ethernet's victory originated from a number of intersecting factors, including an inherent potential for technological improvements, random and largely minor events, major shifts in the computer market, and the misguided business strategies of the sponsors of competing technologies. But ultimately Ethernet's victory resulted from the clever strategy of its sponsors of opening the technology, in order to create profitable business opportunities for other firms as well, and thereby to assemble an entire cottage industry around their preferred technology. It is this explanation that allows us to gain a better understanding of the relative success of a number of recent technologies, such as the Linux operating system.

The story of Ethernet's rise and the parallel growth of the data net­working industry are also of interest because they tell how a handful of visionary entrepreneurs, supported by a few venture capitalists, created an entirely new industry and in the process changed the world. In fact, the LAN and network technology in general, despite their modest begin­nings, have become a central part of the way people all over the world work and communicate. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, most entre­preneurs and venture capitalists held only modest expectations for the market growth of their companies, hoping eventually to reach $50 million in sales. But the market picked up momentum with remarkable rapidity. The data networking industry, virtually nonexistent in the late 1970s, reached annual sales of many billions of dollars by the mid‑1990s. Even more important, by providing new means of communication between users, data networks (of which LANs are an important component) pro­vided the infrastructure for today's Internet economy. It is already evident that computer networks and the electronic marketplaces that they make possible have provoked changes as fundamental as those brought about by the telephone and railroad networks. In fewer than two decades, LANs and their vendors have become critical parts of what has come to be known as the New Economy.


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