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Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Choice's Outstanding Academic Title list for 2013
Academic institutions are facing a crisis in scholarly publishing at multiple levels: presses are stressed as never before, library budgets are squeezed, faculty are having difficulty publishing their work, and promotion and tenure committees are facing a range of new ways of working without a clear sense of how to understand and evaluate them.  

Planned Obsolescence is both a provocation to think more broadly about the academys future and an argument for reconceiving that future in more communally-oriented ways. Facing these issues head-on, Kathleen Fitzpatrick focuses on the technological changes—especially greater utilization of internet publication technologies, including digital archives, social networking tools, and multimedia—necessary to allow academic publishing to thrive into the future. But she goes further, insisting that the key issues that must be addressed are social and institutional in origin. 

Springing from original research as well as Fitzpatricks own hands-on experiments in new modes of scholarly communication through MediaCommons, the digital scholarly network she co-founded, Planned Obsolescence explores these aspects of scholarly work, as well as issues surrounding the preservation of digital scholarship and the place of publishing within the structure of the contemporary university.  Written in an approachable style designed to bring administrators and scholars into a conversation, Planned Obsolescence explores both symptom and cure to ensure that scholarly communication will remain relevant in the digital future. 

Book News Annotation:

Noting the methods for getting and keeping tenure and promotion that have pertained up to now, Fitzpatrick (Pomona College) makes the case for new ways of thinking about, creating, and judging scholarship, ones that fully participate in the interactive possibilities of the digital world. She tilts at the basic elements in turn--peer review, authorship, texts, preservation, and the university--with an overview of past models set against the new practices that might be developed, raising questions and presenting ideas, including how to maintain publishing standards, the advantages of co-authorship, the usefulness of group review of online content, and re-imagining the university press as no longer connected to a specific medium or single institution. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Choice's Outstanding Academic Title list for 2013


About the Author

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College and founding editor of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons. She is the author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television and has blogged at Planned Obsolescence since 2002.

Product Details

Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen
Saul, John S.
NYU Press
Media & the Law
anthropology;cultural anthropology
South Africa
Popular Culture
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Media
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies

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