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Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with Awareness

Gurak,, L.J. (2001). Cyberliteracy: Navigating the Internet with awareness. New Haven: Yale UP.

Gurak’s intention with this book is to create a plain-language guide to central issues that ordinary citizens should be aware of as they click around the Net. She covers techno-rage, censorship, gender and identity (large debt to Turkle and Herring here), crime, hoaxes, privacy, copyright, and commerce. (Much reference to Doheny-Farina’s ideas of the local in the commerce chapter, which is titled “Think Globally, Eat Locally?.) This is an excellent book to teach in an undergrad course on aspects of the Internet, and I’m using it this semester. Some of it works better than others — my students had many issues with her treatment of gender — but it’s all pertinent and it all stirs thought.

All of this is meant for a general audience. The take-away for scholars is the second chapter, which delineates the familiar-to-us “Action Terms” of Speed, Reach, Anonymity, and Interactivity. (These also pop up in her 2004 piece, “Internet Studies in the 21st Century. Be sure to cite both.)