The Information Society


Letter from the Editor-in-Chief Rob Kling
11(3) 1995

This issue of The Information Society (TIS) 11(3), is the first that I organized as the new Editor-in-Chief. The journal, published since 1981, is a key forum for thoughtful analysis of the impacts, policies, system concepts, methodologies and cultural change stimulated by ways of organizing information and access to it. TIS is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal whose audiences include scholars with an interest in the relationship between information technologies, social/organizational life, cultural change, and social change; policy- and decision-makers in government, industry and education; and managers concerned with the effects of information technologies on individuals, organizations and society. 

I am making some key changes in the organization of TIS. I have appointed many new editorial board members and plan to further expand the board with additional international appointments. I have asked the editorial board members to act as active ambassadors for the journal by encouraging their colleagues to submit significant papers for possible publication. The editorial board members are also playing active roles by organizing special issues or special sections of larger issues. 

Tora Bikson (and J.D. Eveland who is not a member of the editorial board), helped organize a special section of this issue that includes three important articles about the complexities of supporting group work with computer systems. Rolf Wigand is organizing a new special issue on Electronic Commerce. Mark Poster is organizing a debate about the recent Magna Carta for Cyberspace that was written by Alvin Toffler, George Keyworth, George Gilder, and Ester Dyson. One doesn't have to belong to the editorial board to edit special issues, and I am interested in proposals for special issues from TIS' readers. 

In addition to publishing scholarly articles, I am also encouraging the publication of debates in TIS. I have organized issue 11(4) to focus on the roles of electronic journals as reliable media for scholarly communication. The issue features a major debate (with standard length articles) between Steven Harnad (Editor-in-Chief of an electronic journal, Psycoloquy) and Steve Fuller (Editor-in-Chief of Social Epistemology). TIS articles are typically 4,000-7,500 words long. TIS will also publish shorter "position statements" of up to 2,000 words and debates in a new section, called "The Forum." The Forum will premiere with shorter articles that debate the character of social life and development of advanced National Information Infrastructures in issue 12(1). 

I am also increasing the number of books that are reviewed in TIS. There is a growing stream of books that examine key aspects of the shifting social order in a way that highlights the role of information technologies. The popularization of metaphors such as National Information Infrastructures, information superhighways, and Cyberspace, as well as increased access to the Internet has stimulated a new wave of analysis. In the 1980s, much of the analysis of information society topics focussed on issues of the economy, organizational change, work and power relations. Today, the popularization of network technologies have stimulated broader analyses that also examine cultural changes and the nature of community life when people work and affiliate via electronic forums. I would like you to be able to learn about important books and to read thoughtful reflections about them in TIS. 

I have appointed two book review editors, Lisa Covi ( and Wayne Lutters (, to help identify key books, identify reviewers and manage the reviews. The next TIS issue 12(1), includes reviews of three books (Linda Harasim's "Global Networks," Richard Lanham's "The Electronic Word: Democracy, Technology, and the Arts" and Sven Birkerts' "The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age"). The Forums and book reviews will help to significantly multiply the number of studies, arguments and viewpoints that you will find in each issue of TIS. 

I have created a home page for TIS (currently that can serve as a source where authors and readers can obtain up-to-date information about the journal, including announcements of forthcoming issues, article abstracts, and paper calls for special issues. I am discussing other materials that can appear on this web page, such as the whole texts of selected articles and abstracts of all articles, with TIS' publisher, Taylor & Francis

I hope that this collection of innovations will help make TIS a journal that many more scholars and professionals feel that they must read routinely to keep up with the best studies and fresh commentaries about the changing information environments and social change. These innovations are experimental in many of their details. I welcome your comments about these innovations and alternative possibilities.

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