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The Web, Publishing, and Ourselves is a new open textbook that critically explores the relationship between technology and publishing, as well as the many ways in which technologies are shaping our personal lives.

Notice something that’s missing? Want to recommend additional reading materials? Please let us know by participating in our open review process. We appreciate your feedback, ideas, and suggestions for how to improve this continually evolving resource.

What happens to content in an era where the vast majority of publishing and reading happens on the Internet? What happens to us, as producers and consumers of the content? This book is a guide to thinking about the relationship between technology and the publishing industry, but in doing so, it offers a critical examination of the ways in which technologies are shaping our personal lives and the way we structure our society. For how can we understand the intersection of technologies and publishing without first exploring the role of technology and technology companies, in shaping our values, our psychology, our way of interacting and relating to one another?

After a discussion of the way Web has changed us, and the way it has evolved itself, this book explores some of the business models and platforms that have emerged as a results, as well as some of the personal and social implications of these. Entangled in these models are issues of privacy, copyright, and technologies that govern how content circulates. The hope is that by the end of this text, readers will have a sense of how digital technologies have redefined the value and even the very meaning of publishing.

To do this, neither this book, nor its suggested reading list, focus on explaining specific technologies. Instead, the book is oriented towards showcasing how past and present technological developments have been thought about and discussed. Guided by the ideas and models set forth in these examples, readers are invited to participate in the very content industry they are reading about by contributing to the book by participating in our open review process, or by writing their own reflections based on the suggested prompt in each chapter.

Through chapters below, readers will reflect on topics such as:

  1. The ways in which “new” perspective of publishing have themselves evolved, or become obsolete.
  2. The interconnections of publishing, technology, Capitalism, and modernity.
  3. The far-reaching ways publishing extends into our day to day lives, and how this shapes our habits.
  4. How ‘surveillance capitalism’ and the monetization of personal data impacts the publishing industry.
  5. The original intent of copyright and its current role in supporting various content industries.
  6. The ways in which machines and people, through machines, access and consume content.


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The Web, Publishing, and Ourselves Copyright © 2020 by Juan Pablo Alperin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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