Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Openness: An Annotated Bibliography

Note: Unfortunately, this blog is for the moment a necessary vehicle for me to present class assignments. As a result, I have to post this despite the fact that I would not actually post this on a blog were it my decision. Soon enough I'll get back to blogging about things that I care about.

In preparation for the very large end-of-semester ebook project in my class, I have obviously been finding various materials and sources for information. This post will be an attempt to compile some of these. My research has been primarily oriented towards the ideas of open government, as I wrote recently on glasnost. I focused my research primarily on two means of searching and browsing: the BYU library catalog and Google+. It was surprising how easily both methods actually quickly turned up some sort of result.

Of course, based on that area of research, my sources will above all relate to discussions of open government. However, they also mostly address the limitations of openness, one of the most important parts of what we are discussing. Thus these sources are not simply limited to government discussion (especially since one or two do not address it at all). I hope that these can be a significant contribution to the chapter on which my group is focusing, but I wouldn't simply assume that these are sufficient.

Without further ado:

Further Reading:
Usitalo, S. A., & Whisenhunt, W. B. (2008). (Russian and soviet history: from the time of troubles to the collapse of the soviet union. Lanham, Md.: Rowan & Littlefield.). Gives a background in the last chapter of the fall of the Soviet Union and its connection to glasnost. This is an example of open government that in part brought about the effective end of the government practicing it. This acts as an example of a situation in which openness had an unanticipated and unintended result. [I found this through the BYU library, and chose this as the best of the print sources I found on the subject]

Yu, Harlan and Robinson, David G. (The New Ambiguity of 'Open Government' (February 28, 2012). Princeton CITP / Yale ISP Working Paper. Available at SSRN: or This is a paper discussing some of the ambiguities of the discussion of open government. Specifically, it points out that in discussing openness in government, one may refer to the ease of access of any arbitrary information (a technological concern) or one may refer to the release of what may be considered sensitive information for purposes of accountability (a political concern). This article illustrates among other things the need to understand what is being discussed when one discusses openness. [I found this after a Google+ search led me to an online article reviewing this article]

National Academy of Sciences Staff, National Academy of Engineering Staff, & Institute of Medicine Staff, (1999). (Balancing scientific openness and national security controls at the nuclear weapons laboratories. National Academies Press). This is a government-sponsored study of openness in scientific ventures in order to maintain confidentiality of confidential weapons-related research. The work discusses how closing government laboratories to collaboration with foreign nationals is likely more harmful than beneficial, and that a certain level of openness must be maintained. The key is balance. [I found this through a search on the term openness in the BYU library catalog]

Thought Leaders:
Tim O'Reilly (O'Reilly Media) Tim O'Reilly is an internet activist. He is the CEO of O'Reilly Media and an active proponent of open data, open source, and open things in general. O'Reilly is focused on shaping the way people approach new technology. He actively shares on Google+, often regarding openness. His Google+ feed alone provides an abundant resource in support of openness, and his website does a lot to document the current progress of openness movements. [I've heard of him before so in searching "open government" on Google+ I saw his name and decided to take a look.]

Alex Howard (Bio on O'Reilly Media) Also connected with O'Reilly, Alex Howard is listed as the Washington Correspondent for Government 2.0, a major area of focus on O'Reilly's site. He mainly focuses, naturally, on government but his writings also connect to journalism and other areas. His Google+ feed is similarly active and may be a major resource for openness trends. [His name came up on the Google+ open government search and I was impressed with the content of his feed.]

Dan Colman ( Dan Colman is the lead editor for Open Culture, a website that compiles cultural and educational media for free public access. He is the Director and Associate Dean for the Continuing Studies Program at Stanford. The goal of his website is to bring "relevant, perspective-changing information to large audiences". It offers free online courses, audio books, movies, language lessons, science videos, and more. His website is a great example of how openness can offer a wonderful and useful resource. [I wanted to find something not about government so I typed in open on Google+ and Open Culture came up]

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