Moss, Michael, Endicott-Popovsky, Barbara and Dupuis, Marc J. (Eds.). Is digital different? How information creation, capture and discovery are being transformed.. London: Facet Publishing, 2015. xvi, 217 p. ISBN 978-1-85604-854-5. £49.95.

After looking at the sub-title of the book and browsing through its contents, one wonders why a question forms the title. Despite quite different areas being addressed in the chapters the question of difference becomes rather rhetorical, as most of the authors imply that digital is different and it shapes our professional practice, research and lives. I would say that the whole book and most of the authors adhere to a position, which is nicely captured in one of the introductory statements of the editors: 'the book emphasizes that information systems have always been shaped by available technologies that have transformed the creation, capture, preservation and discovery of the content' (p. xv). I would like to emphasise that I do not see why technological determinism should be seen as something negative. It just happens to be one of many posssible perspectives on social life. One can argue with the basic assumption, but it does not affect the quality of the texts collected in the book, especially, as the technology does influence many phenomena and processes addressed. However, the authors and editors claim that they try to avoid the techno-determinism and in most cases this is true, though the power of technology seems to be taken for granted by most.

Even the chapters related to the legal aspects are not an exception, though legal requirements obviously restrict the possibilities and potential of the technologies. One of them is Chapter 6 on the development of trusted information management systems (Scott and Endicott-Popovsky). It explores technological, economic, legal and cultural aspects of creating such systems and demonstrates the tensions created by these factors in information system development context. The other is Chapter 8 (McCarthy and Morgan) on the tensions between copyright and public use. In both cases, the existing norms and practices are questioned in the light of changes introduced by information technology.

Technology has definitely affected the access to information, its search and discovery, not to speak of making a qualitative difference to information retrieval. These issues are discussed in several chapters. Chapter 2 (Nicholas and ClarK) reflect on many possibilities of finding and searching information (but also other stuff) and how people use all these possibilities. Chapter 6 (Gollins and Bayne) introduces the complexities of searching and retrieving archival information. They explore the tension between the physical and established practices vs. digital and innovative possibilities. Chapter 3 (Gray) on the essence of semantic Web and linked data is not even trying to compare the emerging possibilties to anything in the analogue world.

Even the ways of doing research are directly affected by digital technologies (Chapter 9, Thomas and Johnson). On the other hand, this has always been the case with science, just look at the impact of developing optics on astronomy. The authors persuasively demonstrate the impact of human relationships and even beliefs on the use of technology and its outcomes.

I think that, otherwise very interesting, Chapters 4 (Berglund Prytz) on crowdsourcing, and 7 (Endicott-Popovsky) on the management of online risks could have projected the newly emerging ways of interaction and problems on the earlier non-digital age. After all, neither solidarity actions, nor criminal or unsafe behaviour have originated with digital technologies.

The editors claim that this book is for the students of information science. The topics will be of interest to them and to others studying information-related topics, but the volume lacks features of a study text: there are no lists of recommended literature (just reference lists after each chapter), no suggestions for exercises, possible research topics, or control questions. This will limit the use of the book as a classroom text.

Professor Elena Maceviciute
Swedish School of Library and Information Science University of Borås November, 2015