Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Research focus: Depictions of Blacks in LIFE Magazine, 1936-2000

Advertising images as social indicators: depictions of blacks in LIFE magazine, 1936-2000, by John Grady, is the lead article in Visual Studies (December 2007,Volume 22, Issue 3). The journal is available from the Library's home page (E-resources).

One of the most important prerequisites for building a more visual social science is demonstrating that visual data provide answers to research questions, which are not addressed satisfactorily by the use of more conventional, non-visual, methods. In this article the author argues that a systematic analysis of the images in print advertisements not only accounts for patterns in contemporary American race relations as reliably as findings derived from national surveys like the General Social Survey (GSS) and the US Census, but also illuminates questions that are often raised by, but seldom resolved with, quantitative data. These questions include, for example, consideration of what factors might encourage respondents to espouse some attitudes - or to make certain choices - but not others. More specifically, a close examination of trends in advertisements published in Life magazine between 1936 and 2000 reveals that, while the white commitment to racial integration appears to have taken longer to develop than survey data suggests, this commitment seems to be much firmer than findings based on census data imply. Nevertheless, the trend in advertising images also shows that, even with a steadily growing white commitment to racial integration, there are still areas of social life where whites are wary of blacks and find it hard to imagine scenarios that exemplify relations of moral equality.

Keeping Up With Social Networking

If you want to keep track of the latest happenings in the world of social networking add Gary Price's social networking category of the Resource Shelf to your feeder. The Archive for Social Networking represents a growing collection of related resources.

But hey, since we're in this area of the world, he also has a media and entertainment category, Archive for Media and Entertainment.

The entire Resource Shelf is always useful reading for information professionals. If you're already on the receiving end of too many blogs and listservs know that I try shuttle its more communication-related pearls your way here in CommPilings.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

New Reference Book Arrivals

New in ASC Reference:

Encyclopedia of Political Communication, edited by Lynda Le Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha (Sage Publications, 2008). Key themes are: Biographies, Books/Film/Journals/Television, Democracy, Democratization, Education and Nonprofit Organizations, Elections, Government Operations and Institutions, Legal and Regulatory, Media Events, Media Outlets and Programs, Role of Media in Political Systems, News Media Coverage of Politics, Political Affairs, Theoretical Approaches,Types of Political Media, Political Attitudes, Political Campaigns, Political Events, Political Groups and Organizations, Political Issues, Political Journalism, Theoretical Concepts,
Women in Politics

Information Ethics and Security, edited by Marian Quigley (Information Science Reference, 2008). Includes over 150 contributors from 19 countries on topics such as computer crime, information warfare, privacy, surveillance, intellectual property, information ethics, and education; over 2000 article references.

Sage Handbook of Public Opinion Research, edited by Wolfgang Donsbach and Michael W. Traugott (Sage, 2008). Includes "The Public and Public Opinion in Political Theories" by Vincent Price, the opening article in Part I (History, Philosophy of Public Opinion and Public Opinion Research). Other sections: The Development of Public Opinion Research, Theories of Public Opinion and Change, Dynamics of Public Opinion, The Design of Surveys, Measurement of Public Opinion, The Status of Public Opinion Research, Uses and Effects of Public Opinion Research, Special Fields of Application . "The most comprehenisve book on public opinion research to date." --Robert Ting-Yiu Chung (WAPOR)

Historical Methods in the Social Sciences, edited by John A. Hall and Joseph M. Bryant (Sage, 2006). Four volume compendium of reprints of foundational articles and chapters on methods in historical sociology.

The Language of Advertising, edited by Guy Cook (Routledge: Major Themes in English Studies, 2008). A four-volume ‘mini library’ of some of the most seminal and controversial works on the language of advertising. Sections include advertising and society, cross cultural advertising, gender and sexuality, case studies of products and campaigns, multimodal forms of advertising, and brands and branding.

The Sage Handbook on Grounded Theory, edited byAntony Bryant and Kathy Charmaz (Sage, 2007). "Grounded Theory is by far the most widely used research method across a wide range of disciplines and subject areas, including social sciences, nursing and health care, medical sociology, information systems, psychology, and anthropology...gives a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice of Grounded Theory, taking into account the many attempts to revise and refine Glaser and Strauss original formulation and the debates that have followed." --publisher's website

Journalism, edited by Howard Tumber (Routledge, 2008). Another four-volume mini-library in the Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies Series, this one devoted to the social, political, cultural, and practical understanding of journalism. The volumes are designed to be a library reference of key theoretical, empirical, and historical writings on journalism derived from previously published journals and books. "Has Communication Explained Journalism" by Barbie Zelizer (first published in the Journal of Communication, 1993) appears in Volume II.

And two books by Howard Becker:

Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis (University of Chicago, 2007). Second edition of this classic, of sorts.

Telling About Society (University of Chicago, 2007). "...should carry a warning label: 'Do not start reading unless you're prepared to spend the next few hours having your horizons broadened and your understanding of social sciences deepened. Further, prepare to abandon any belief that insight and originality are incompatible with clarity, accessibility, and plain good writing." --Larry Gross, University of Southern California

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Demographic Data Books

I've just updated our New Strategist publications. We now have the latest editions of:

The Millenials: Americans Born 1977 to 1974
Generation X: Americans Born 1965 to 1976
The Baby Boom: American Born 1946 to 1964
Older Americans: A Changing Market
Household Spending: Who Spends How Much on What
Who's Buying: Entertainment
Who's Buying: Information Products and Services

These books include demographic data on media consumption as well as larger context profiles (eduction, health, housing, income, etc.) of groups broken down by age, race, and gender. The data is rounded up from various sources (always cited) such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of the Census, Pew Research Center, National Endowment for the Arts, Federal Reserve Board, National Center for Health Statistics, and others.

In addition to these old standards, three additional volumes devoted to Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans provide even deeper data. They are:

Who We Are: Asians
Who We Are: Blacks
Who We Are: Hispanics

These titles are all available in ASC Library Reference.

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Visual Communication Research websites

Studies in Communication Sciences, the Journal of the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research, has a special section of its latest issue (Volume 7, Number 2, 2007) devoted to visual communication research, including a leadoff piece by Marion G. Muller titled: What is Visual Communication? Past and Future of an Emerging Field of Communication Research. In the back of the issue is a small but useful list of visual comm websites. Here's the list:

Web Directory on Visual Communication Research

Websites in German and English:

Visual communication section of the International Communication

A research initiative on image critique and analysis in the social sciences.

An academic collection of projects, people, and online recorded lectures on the image in the media and in history.

Resources on the role of images in science and society hosted by the Herbert Burda foundation.

Website of the visual communication section of the DGPUK (German Association for media and communication research).

A site containing resources and e-learning modules to increase the active and passive visual literacy for communication, business, and engineering.

A virtual research institute of German-speaking researchers dedicating to exploring image sciences.

An international research network site dedicated to the world language of key visuals or graphic stereotypes that shape public communication globally.

Websites in French:

Le college iconique: 40 rechercheurs francophones se rencontrent mensuellement pour des discussions thematiques.

L'institut national de l'audiovisuel (INA) a mis en place un systeme tres performant et unique au monde de consultations d'archives audiovisuelles.

Encore une adress INA, celle des ateliers metholdologiques, une reunion mensuelle oeverte a tous les universitaires

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Factiva now includes multimedia

You now have another option in addition to the Vanderbilt News Archive and AP Photo Archive for your audiovisual research needs: Factiva, goldmine of newspapers and business/media industry publications, has gone multimedia. Click on the Search 2.0 interface and perform any search and you'll see that the results screen now includes a multimedia link (in addition to pictures, web news and the regular newspapers, magazines, and newswire links). The extent of Factiva's video holdings is not entirely clear but the emphasis is, of course, on business and finance. From the "What's new" section of the the site:

"The new fully searchable audio and video content collection is oriented to news and business information, rather than user-generated content, and allows you to view relevant results via the Multimedia results tab. It includes: continuously updating content collection that will grow quickly to include more than 4,000 multimedia news and business sources and more than 300,000+ individual episodes, charts and graphs and a 90-day archive from leading publishers such as Dow Jones, NPR and the BBC."
The "90-day archive" signals a rather significant historical limitation. Something to keep in mind. Tooling around I found audio and video from Sunday news shows, the major US networks, Slate, YouTube, and sports talk radio. This is great but a little frustrating because there's no multimedia source list in sight which is what I'd really like to see.

The search engine uses speech-to-text technology to make it possible to search the text of programs. It neatly highlights your search terms and allows you to jump to that place in the program.

As for pictures, if you don't want to be limited to the Associated Press (
AP Photo Archive) you can turn to Factiva which includes newswire photos from Reuters, McClatchy (formerly Knight-Ridder) and other international newswires.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

February Commquote

Tabloid TV turned into "celestial" opera? The January 31 New York Times review of "Jerry Springer: The Opera," makes me wish I'd caught the brief Carniegie Hall run of this London-born opera.

"Now ''celestial'' might seem an ill-chosen adjective for a work devoted to the raw and nasty public doings of a throng of aspiring celebrities with dirty little secrets expressed in dirty little words. But this remarkable work...uncovers something grand within the small, squalid lives it portrays... from the moment the chorus files on, caroling in sweet harmony and sour language about the television host who fills their lives with wonder and excitement, you intuit that there's much more than easy satire afoot. If there weren't, the basic joke of combining sacred music and profane content would endure for only the length of a cabaret comedy sketch...That Jerry Springer, directed here by Jason Moore, only occasionally loses traction during its two-and-a-half-hour length is because it hears genuine beauty in the hunger for glory of the attention-starved souls it portrays. If the real ''Jerry Springer Show'' turns its rowdy, angry guests into objects of sneering sport, ''Jerry Springer: The Opera'' sees them as figures of passion, whose impulses, however base, translate into song that reaches for the stars. Laugh, if you will, with smug urbane knowingness. But the soulfulness in the music -- performed by a cast that mixes Broadway sheen with classical heft -- rises again and again to rebuke you...what is truly shocking about ''Jerry Springer: The Opera [is]an all-embracing empathy that finds the sublime in the squalid and vice versa...When Laura Shoop, dressed as an infant who wants to be spanked, and Katrina Rose Dideriksen, the aspiring pole dancer, step into the spotlight to sing about their dreams of being noticed, a lustrous, heartbreaking purity enfolds them. When Mr. Grooms, in his first-act role as a triple-timing fiance, announces in a heldentenor, ''I'm seeing someone else,'' it's with the exhilaration of someone who suddenly sees high drama in his confusing, tangled life because it's framed and magnified by television. ... The only leading character who doesn't sing, Mr. Keitel's Jerry Springer undergoes a transformation not unlike our own. He learns to hear the music in people he has treated with exploitative contempt." --Ben Brantley

New York Times, January 31, 2008 Thursday Late Edition
And Blessed Are the Singing, Pole-Dancing Fetishists
Section E; Column 0; The Arts/Cultural Desk; Pg. 1

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