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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Winter 2002

Book Reviews

Social Dimensions of Information Technology: Issues for the New Millennium

Daryl C. Youngman
Kansas State University

Social Dimensions of Information Technology: Issues for the New Millennium. G. David Garson, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2000. 362p. (ISBN 1-878289-86-1)

Information technology issues and social issues intersect in an increasing number of contexts, especially in modern libraries. This work is an anthology representing many differing perspectives on the various impacts of information technology. Twenty essays, each a revised version of a paper originally published in Social Science Computer Review explore social, political and educational aspects of the use of information technology. G. David Garson, editor of this volume and also editor of Social Science Computer Review, brings to this book his extensive background in public administration and computer systems. He is a full professor at North Carolina State University, and the author of several books and many articles relating to technology and social issues. Garson states that this anthology strives to achieve a balance between breadth and depth. For most readers this goal has been met quite well. The science and technology librarian, however, will have to expend some effort in identifying that material which is of the greatest interest. The book is divided into five parts, designated as focusing on the social, political, educational, personal and international dimensions of information technology. For those librarians endeavoring to better understand how libraries and library users may be impacted by the increasing use of information technology Part III, addressing the educational dimensions of information technology and comprising four papers, is of particular interest. Providing information via remote access and distance learning is an increasing concern in many libraries. Science and technology librarians grappling with these issues will find this section an excellent source of the non-librarian perspective. Beyond Part III readers will need to determine which papers are germane to their specific needs and interests. Librarians may find that some of the papers have little direct impact on their local circumstances, but those who wish to read all of the papers should develop a broad context in which to analyze the subject.

As this work addresses many facets of a broad issue, the index is especially helpful in identifying and locating pertinent readings. In this volume, the endnotes and references are retained with each individual paper. Readers will appreciate the "About the Authors" section that precedes the index. This section provides useful biographical and contact in formation about authors that librarians might not otherwise be familiar with.

Garson has produced a work that will be appreciated by busy information professionals who wish to develop a broader based understanding of these concerns. This compilation provides an efficient means of developing such a perspective.

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