First Monday

Information Ecologies : Using Technology with Heart by Bonnie A. Nardi and Vicki L. O'Day

The common rhetoric about technology falls into two extreme categories: uncritical acceptance or blanket rejection. These two positions leave us with poor choices for action. They encourage us to accept as inevitable whatever technological changes come along. Claiming a middle ground, these chapters from the book Information Ecologies (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999) call for responsible, informed engagement with technology in local settings, or information ecologies. An information ecology is a system of people, practices, technologies, and values in a local environment. Like their biological counterparts, information ecologies are diverse, continually evolving, and complex.

Full Table of Contents

Part I: Information Ecologies: Concepts and Reflections
1 Rotwang the Inventor
2 Framing Conversations about Technology
3 A Matter of Metaphor: Technology as Tool, Text, System, Ecology
4 Information Ecologies
5 Values and Technology
6 How to Evolve Information Ecologies
Part II: Case Studies
7 Librarians: A Keystone Species
8 Wolf, Batgirl, and Starlight: Finding a Real Community in a Virtual World
9 Cultivating Gardeners: The Importance of Homegrown Expertise
10 Digital Photography at Lincoln High School
11 A Dysfunctional Ecology: Privacy Issues at a Teaching Hospital
12 Diversity on the Internet
13 Conclusion


This text originally appeared in Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart published in 1999 by MIT Press. The text is copyrighted by Bonnie Nardi and Vicki O'Day and the book is copyrighted by MIT Press. The book is available from MIT Press directly, fine bookstores everywhere, and The authors manage a Web site for the book at

Contents Index

Copyright © 1999, First Monday