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I'm reading and gathering references for my thesis - in this stage, I have to demonstrate that I ahve sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge to write a satisfactory thesis wherein I analyze all the quantitative data on the internet's history that I can find and then find out what affects the stability and growth of the net and what doesn't. This means that I need to read hardcore networking papers, graph theory papers, social network analysis papers, internet analysis papers, and internet-and-politics-and-society papers.

It's this last category that's giving me trouble. I think I might be too quick to write off a book as written by a kook - essentially, if it's not from Oxford University Press or MIT Press or similar OR written by an acknowleged skilled science writer or internet founder, then it's probably not even wrong. Or so my title-based classification seems to be saying. But maybe I'm too quick to judge. After all, despite its strident tone, Doc Searl's article is right on the money in a lot of ways, so perhaps I'm throwing out too much wheat with all the chaff that I'm culling. I feel like I'm becoming some kind of anti-humanities bigot and turning my back on my HMC education, but when I encounter books that use "cyber" as a verb[1], I just shut off all further input and endeavor to scrub all vestiges of that book out of my memory.

Does anyone have any non-sucky "history of the internet" references, particularly ones with interesting analyses of the social/economic/political implications of omnipresent networking flowing relatively freely? Right now I'm looking at some pretty slim pickings, and I'd like some meatier stuff...


[1] - "cyber" as in "cybering democracy" not slang for "cybersex" which is probably now outre and not the hip slang anymore.

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October 2009

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