Cyberliteracy Navigating the Internet with Awareness Laura J. Gurak

Publication date:
14 Nov 2003
206 pages: 203 x 127 x 11mm
black & white illustrations

The Internet has changed our social spaces, our political and social realities, our use of language, and the way we communicate, all with breathtaking speed. Almost everyone who deals with the Internet and the new world of cyberspace communication at times feels bewildered, dismayed, or even infuriated. In this clear and helpful book, computer communications scholar Laura J. Gurak takes a close look at the critical issues of online communication and discusses how to become literate in the new mass medium of our era. In cyberspace, Gurak shows us, literacy means much more than knowing how to read. Cyberliteracy means being able to sort fact from fiction, to detect extremism from reasonable debate, and to identify gender bias, commercialism, imitation, parody, and other aspects of written language that are problematic in online communication. Active reading skills are essential in cyberspace, where hoaxes abound, advertising masquerades as product information, privacy is often compromised, and web pages and e-mail messages distort the truth. Gurak analyzes the new language of the Internet, explaining how to prepare for its discourse and protect oneself from its hazards. This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the impact of the Internet on the practices of reading and writing and on our culture in general.

Laura J. Gurak is professor of rhetoric and technical communication at the University of Minnesota, where she also directs the Internet Studies Center. She is the author of several books including Persuasion and Privacy in Cyberspace, published by Yale University Press.

[A] valuable alert. . . a solid resource for contemporary-issues reports or. . .debate material. . . ample biography. . . plus links to Web sites. . .

?Gurak offers a broad synthesis of the major social and political issues that many have faced with the advent of widespread digital communication technologies. . . . The result is a reflective analysis and social critique of historical, contemporary, and future issues associated with online communication practices of which consumers of Internet culture and products need to be aware.??Peter N. Goggin, Rhetoric Review

?Laura Gurak here captures the critical issues of cyberliteracy. Her argument for a critical, self-reflective, and activist cyberliteracy adequate to our new technologies deserves the wide audience she addresses.??Rolf Norgaard, University of Colorado at Boulder

?An engaging guide to literacy in cyberspace for a broad audience. Gurak offers useful information and her own original take on important issues.??Jack Selzer, Pennsylvania State University

?Shooting her laserbeam intelligence at historical aspects of this relatively new rhetorical space, Laura J. Gurak sizzles here with deep insight and a vision of the cyberfuture. A must read. Soon to become a classic.??Kathleen Ethel Welch, Noble Family Foundation Presidential Professor of English, University of Oklahoma

?Once more Laura J. Gurak writes a book that sizzles with multiple reading revelations about the non-neutrality of cyberspace, with the histories that live and replicate in its codes of many kinds, and with her understanding of the pressing need for rhetorical analyses of cyberspace. Brilliant, elegant, a must-read for all citizens interested in the humanities, the social sciences, and other sciences who want to help shape the cyber future.??Kathleen Ethel Welch, Noble Family Foundation Presidential Professor of English, University of Oklahoma or author of Electric Rhetoric

?In this engaging book, social critic Laura Gurak looks past the boxes and wires of the Internet to explore the human side of the digital revolution.??Kathleen Tyner, author of Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information  

?Gurak uses telling examples to flesh out her reasoning that it is vital to take control of our e-spaces, and in so doing provides a valuable alert to students willing to consider both the potential and the pitfalls of this medium. . . . This book is a solid resource for contemporary-issues reports or for debate material; it offers an ample bibliography, plus links to Web sites of professional organizations interested in preserving privacy, shaping public policy, and focusing on the challenges of cyberspace.??Library Journal

Received Honorable Mention for the 2002 Educator?s Award given by the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International