Propaganda Poster Digital Collection at Washington State U

Washington State University Libraries has recently launched a new digital collection of propaganda posters distributed  between 1914 and 1945. 520 posters from private donations comprise The Propaganda Poster Digital Collection illustrating how various governments tried to influence public and private behavior around the two World Wars.  Besides the United States, posters from Europe, South America and Canada are represented.

This digital images can be browsed by key words in the description such as are easy to browse by keywords from the description of the images–such as food, women, bonds, god (only one entry).

“Prior to the advent of broadcast radio and television, governments looked to other media to communicate information to their citizens. One of the most eye-catching formats is the propaganda poster, the use of which peaked during World War I and remained pervasive through World War II. The U.S. government alone produced an estimated 20,000,000 copies of more than 2,500 distinct posters during the first World War. Through these “weapons on the wall,” governments persuaded their citizens to participate in a variety of patriotic functions, from pur­chasing war bonds to conserving scarce resources. These posters also strengthened public support for the wars by providing “message control” about the government’s allies and enemies.” –description of The Collection

INFLA Report on Internet Censorship Around the World

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutes (INFLA) has just released a 103-page report that looks at internet censorship in selected countries from around the world. You can access the freely available pdf here.

Trends in transition from classical censorship to Internet censorship: selected country overviews

Censorship is no longer limited to printed media and videos. Its impact is felt much more strongly with regard to Internet related resources of information and communication such as access to websites, email and social networking tools which is further enhanced by ubiquitous access through mobile phones and tablets. Some countries are marked by severe restrictions and enforcement, a variety of initiatives in enforcing censorship (pervasive as well as implied), as well as initiatives to counter censorship. The article reflects on trends in Internet censorship in selected countries, namely Australia, Chile, China, Finland, Lybia, Myanmar, Singapore, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (UK). These trends are discussed under two broad categories of negative and positive trends. Negative trends include: trends in issues of Internet related privacy; ubiquitous society and control; trends in Internet related media being censored; trends in filtering and blocking Internet content and blocking software; trends in technologies to monitor and identify citizens using the Internet to express their opinion and applying “freedom of speech”; criminalization of legitimate expression on the Internet; trends in acts, regulations and legislation regarding the use of the Internet and trends in government models regarding Internet censorship; trends in new forms of Internet censorship; trends in support of Internet censorship; trends in enforcing regulations and Internet censorship; trends in Internet related communication surveillance. Positive trends include: trends in reactions to Internet censorship; attempts and means to side-step Internet censorship; trends in cyber actions against Internet censorship; trends in innovative ways of showing opposition to Internet censorship. Detailed reports for each country are included as appendixes. A summary of how the trends manifest in the countries in which data were mined, as well as the trends per se is included in the article.

Article Feature: Content Analysis of Africa-affiliated Authors in Comm Journals

Work by African-affiliated authors continues to be underrepresented in Communication journals, so find the authors Ann Neville Miller, Christine Deeter, Anne Trelstad, Matthew Hawk, Grece Ingram   and Annie Ramirez in Still the Dark Continent: A Content Analysis of Research About Africa and by African Scholars in 18 Major Communication-Related Journals in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication  (Volume 6, Number 4, November 2013).

Research about African communication and studies by African-affiliated authors remain scarce in the field of communication. To establish a comprehensive picture of the state of scholarship, 5,228 articles published in 18 top communication journals between 2004 and 2010 were reviewed. Articles were coded for topic nation, author affiliation, article type, category of communication studied, and research method. Thirty-nine Africa-focused articles including 25 authored by researchers from African institutions were found. Over half addressed health communication; most focused on Kenya and South Africa. Means are suggested by which the international scholarly community can partner to encourage African scholarship.

Pew’s Social Media Update 2013

The Pew Internet and American Life Project closed out the year with an 18 page report updating past social media trackings, Social Media Update 2013.


Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying onto other platforms. Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites. In addition, Instagram users are nearly as likely as Facebook users to check in to the site on a daily basis. These are among the key findings on social networking site usage and adoption from a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.
We’ll be hearing more from this project later in the month from of an upcoming conference in Washington DC on social media and health communication

Undercover Reporting Database

Undercover Reporting: Deception for Journalism’s Sake: A Database 
is “a collaboration with NYU Libraries [that] collects many decades of high-impact, sometimes controversial, mostly U.S.-generated journalism that used undercover techniques. It grows out of the research for [Brooke Kroeger’s] Undercover Reporting: The Truth about Deception which argues that much of the valuable journalism since before the U.S. Civil War has emerged from investigations that employed subterfuge to expose wrong. It asserts that undercover work, though sometimes criticized as deceptive or unethical, embodies a central tenet of good reporting–to extract significant information or expose hard-to-penetrate institutions or social situations that deserve the public’s attention. The site, designed as a resource for scholars, student researchers and journalists, collects some of the best investigative work going back almost two centuries.” –website

This unique resource collects a substantial amount of coverage–articles from major and not-so-major news publications, along with books, film, and television. In addition to author/reporter, date, and publication, the database is organized around thematic clusters–issues such as prisons, migrant workers, the Welfare system, gender, class,and many more. One can also filter searches by journalistic method (posed as, undercover, disguised, lived as, worked as). The database strives where it can for a deeper history than the last few decades. For example, there is a cluster called “Antebellum Undercover,” which provides full-text articles of undercover reportage (1854-75) from the New York Tribune based on the work of journalists who headed South prior to the Civil War.  

This is a really interesting resource. Kudos to the NYU Libraries for getting the database to this point and for its future development. They welcome suggestions for new material as they plan to “deepen and internationalize” the collection. 

The Sarnoff Collection and The Sarnoff Collection Online

The Sarnoff Collection is named in honor of David Sarnoff, chairman of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), founder of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and internationally renowned pioneer in radio and television. It comprises over 6,000 artifacts (among other items–papers, photographs, etc.) that document major developments in communication and electronics in the 20th century. First housed at RCA’s central research lab in Princeton, NJ, it has since moved to The College of New Jersey (artifacts) and to the Hagley Library in Wilmington, Delaware (other archival holdings). 

The College of New Jersey has recently opened a long-term exhibit called “Innovations That Changed the World,” which traces the history of telecommunications from the invention of radio to the information age. The exhibition, which includes over 80 objects of telecommunication and electronics, is divided into nine media sections–radio, phonograph, black and white TV, color TV, electron microscopy, computing, integrated circuits, home video, and flat panel displays. Visitors are provided with social and historical context relating to these artifacts in addition to scientific and engineering principles.

If you can’t get to visit in person you can do a lot virtually with The Sarnoff Collection Online. While it doesn’t contain the complete holdings, over 1000 artifacts have been cataloged, photographed and reside in the site’s fully searchable database.

Pictured above is a 256-Bit Early Computer Memory Grid (1950) which reminds me from this distance of a grade school potholder project. Objects deceive, digital objects deceive even more I guess!

New Televsion News Archive on the horizon

CommPilings posts are usually about resources; this one is about the promise of a resource. According to a recent story in, the collecting obsession of a devoted Philadelphia-area librarian, Marion Stokes, may result in the largest television news archive to date–some 140,000 VHS tapes of network, cable, and local news programming between 1977 and 2012.  Librarian Roger Macdonald of the Internet Archive has taken on the collection which will be digitized and indexed for all. Not sure when it’s slated for completion but the project has begun and, well, it’s the Internet Archive (!) which already delivers a serachable database of the last four years of television news (2010-2013).

Of course the most famous television news archive is the Vanderbilt Television News Archive, a searchable abstracting service for national television network news broadcasts, 1968-present, with CNN and NBC broadcasts available as RealMedia video streams from 1998-present.  Unlike the Internet Archive initiative, it cannot post all of its footage online for free; researchers have to borrow clips on DVD for a small fee.

Communication scholars and historians certainly appreciate all of these archival efforts–it will be interesting to see the vision of Marion Stokes come to fruition, hopefully not too far from now. 

Diana Mutz’s HEARING THE OTHER SIDE: An Assessment

Critical Review (Volume 25, Issue 2) features a Symposium on Diana Mutz‘s 2006 Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative Versus Participatory Democracy. 

Five scholars consider the theoretical claims of this work: The Accidental Theorist: Diana Mutz’s Normative and Empirical Insights (Ben Berger); The Many Faces of Good Citizenship (Simone Chambers); On Minimal Deliberation, Partisan Activism, and Teaching People How to Disagree (Helene Landemore); Hearing the Opposition (Robert Shapiro); Digital Deliberation (Chris Wisniewski). Dr. Mutz rounds out the proceedings with a response: Reflections on Hearing the Other Side, in Theory and in Practice. 

Hearing the Other Side is available in the Library at Van Pelt and Annenberg, and the journal is available through Penn Libraries e-resources. 

Open Data Barometer: 2013 Global Report

The Open Data Barometer: 2013 Global Report marks the first large-scale research collaboration between the Open Data Institute and the World Wide Web Foundation “to uncover the true prevalence and impact of open data initiatives around the world. It analyses global trends, and also ranks countries and regions via an in-depth methodology that considers: readiness to secure the benefits of open data; actual levels of implementation; and the impact of such initiatives.”

This collaboration promises to represent the first of what is to become “a regular study, checking against the baseline captured in the 2013 study” of Open Government Data (OGD) policy and practice around the world.  78 countries were surveyed in the 2013 report.

The 44-page Report in includes country and regional rankings and analysis in the following data arenas: land ownership, census data, government budgets, government spending, company registers, legislation, health, education, crime, environment, and election results.  It also includes a 2-page Executive Summary, detailed methodology, and bibliography.

Open Data Barometer data is published under an open license. All are welcome to “build upon, remix and reinterpret” this data.

If you want to play around with this data visually check out the interactive tool that displays the data by country.