Continuities and Discontinuities: Using Historical Information Culture for Insight into the Sustainability of Innovations

  • Fiorella Foscarini
  • Charles Jeurgens
  • Zhiying Lian
  • Gillian OliverEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


The analysis of information cultures of the past can provide insight into the likelihood of sustainability of innovative information practices, and can help design sustainable information strategies for the future. This article focuses on three instances of innovation in three different parts of the world – namely, Italy, China, and the Netherlands – in the 1930s, a time period that was characterized by political unrest and significant societal changes in all three locations. Genres, workarounds, and infrastructure are used as diagnostic indicators to demonstrate the utility of an information culture model which distinguishes cultural factors according to their susceptibility to change. The three case studies discussed in this article not only shed light on continuities and discontinuities in information practices over time; they also show the complexities of successfully changing specific existing information attitudes. The ultimate goal of this article is to illustrate the benefits of conducting comparative and longitudinal research on historical information cultures.


Information cultures Genres Workarounds Infrastructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Shanghai UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Monash UniversityCaulfield EastAustralia

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