Teaching Examples

Looking for a good book
May 10, 2007, 1:02 pm
Filed under: books

I’m on the lookout for a good book that covers the whole spectrum of peer-production and read/write culture (not only journalism).

I want something in addition to, and not redundant of, We the Media (Dan Gillmor) and The Anarchist in the Library (Siva Vaidhyanathan). I will assign both of those again; they are essential reading, in my opinion.

I just got a copy of Convergence Culture (Henry Jenkins) and will be considering that.

Last year we also read The Wealth of Networks (too dense and too long). The year before, we read The Power of Many (too disorganized and too repetitive).

Any suggestions?

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7 Comments so far
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Thanks for assigning my book!

I am teaching a similar course and have chosen the following:


Bartow, Ann. “Some Peer-to-Peer, Democratically and Voluntarily Produced Thoughts About ‘the Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom,’ by Yochai Benkler.” Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, (2007), http://ssrn.com/paper=964735

Benkler, Yochai. 2006. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge. In, http://www.congo-education.net/wealth-of-networks/ch-01.htm

Benkler, Yochai. 2006. Chapter 3: Peer Production and Sharing. In, http://www.congo-education.net/wealth-of-networks/ch-03.htm

Benkler, Yochai, and Christian Ahlert. “Mining the Wealth of Networks with Yochai Benkler ” OpenDemocracy.net, no. (2006), http://www.opendemocracy.net/media-copyrightlaw/benkler_3487.jsp

boyd, danah. “Friends, Friendsters, and Top 8: Writing Community into Being on Social Network Sites ” First Monday, no. 12 (2006), http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_12/boyd/index.html

boyd, danah. “Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?” The Knowledge Tree, no. 13 (2007), http://kt.flexiblelearning.net.au/tkt2007/?page_id=28

Farrell, Henry, ed.. “The Wealth of Networks Seminar.” Crooked Timber, no. (2006), http://crookedtimber.org/2006/05/30/introduction-the-wealth-of-networks-seminar/

O’Reilly, Tim. “What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.” O’Reilly, no. May 8 (2005), http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

Wu, Tim. “The Wrong Tail: How to Turn a Powerful Idea into a Dubious Theory of Everything.” Slate.com, no. July 21 (2006), http://www.slate.com/id/2146225/


Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail : The Revolution Changing Small Markets into Big Business. 1st ed. New York: Hyperion, 2006.

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture : Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

Sunstein, Cass R. Infotopia : How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. The Anarchist in the Library : How the Clash between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Comment by Siva


I haven’t read this book, but J.D. Lasica has one called “Darknet,” which deals with some of these issues: mini-book link

Also, although it’s not a book, Cory Doctorow (bio) and his fellow writers at boing-boing have a wealth of information and links about this topic. He taught at USC (the california one) this year and has lots of interesting takes on intellectual property and the network world, especially.

hope this is helpful.

Comment by Murley

“The Long Tail” is amazing and completely relevant to journalism’s present and future. (and tech and any sort of business)

Comment by Nick

I would recommend Henry Jenkins’ Convergence Culture for its broad approach, though it does focus on entertainment culture. Darknet by JD Lasica is another great read, providing a valuable insight into the world of peer production and sharing. One more book you could look at is Democratizing Innovation by Eric Von Hippel. Despite a rather academic tone, it offers a good analysis of the value of “open market innovation.

Comment by Alfred

Thanks for the resources, everyone! Keep ’em coming!

Comment by Mindy McAdams


Agree with all these recommendations (and your list is great). Two suggestions:

Get them to read as much of Benkler’s “Wealth of Networks” as possible.

You might also assign Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” — at least the chapter where he talks about the Gargoyles, wear computers on their bodies and act like human surveillance systems. Profound early insight into what’s developing.

Comment by dangillmor

Dan, I have thought so often about requiring my students to read all or part of “Snow Crash” — but I always wimp out! Now I’m going to reconsider it. Thanks for commenting.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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