Social Information Technology: Connecting Society and Cultural Issues

Judit Bar‐Ilan (Bar‐Ilan University)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 21 November 2008




Bar‐Ilan, J. (2008), "Social Information Technology: Connecting Society and Cultural Issues", Online Information Review, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 872-873.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This edited volume is concerned with “social information technology”, a sub‐field of social informatics. Social informatics is defined by Kling (2000) as “the body of research that examines the design, uses, and consequences of information and communication technologies in ways that take into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts” in “Learning about information technologies and social change: The contribution of social informatics”, The Information Society, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 217‐32. The editors of the book define “social information technology” as the study of the influence of technology development on culture and society, focusing on economic, technological, social, cultural, educational and organisational aspects.

The book contains 24 chapters divided into several sections: The Implications of Social Information Technology, Geo‐Political Practices, International Social Information Technology Practices, Online Social Information Technology Applications. The chapters in these sections are of varied structure and quality. Some are highly theoretical; some are review chapters, while others present empirical results about the social influences of technology. Some of the chapters were not reviewed carefully enough; otherwise it is difficult to understand why descriptive statistics of empirical data are presented as absolute numbers only without percentages, or why some of the web references are so outdated, or why the Journal Impact Factor ( is defined in terms of newspaper articles. The preface fails to put the chapters into a more general context; it does little more than repeat the abstracts of the chapters. Despite these shortcomings I quite enjoyed reading some of the chapters.

To sum up, the book provides insights to topics of interest in social informatics, including the digital divide, gender differences in the use of technology, privacy, security and copyright issues, the influence of technology on society, cultural aspects, the use of technology in education, Open Source and Web 2.0.


Kling, R. (2000), “Learning about information technologies and social change: the contribution of social informatics”, Information Society, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 21732.

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