Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

Dewdney, Anthony and Ride, Peter. the Digital Media Handbook

Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

Dewdney, Anthony and Ride, Peter. the Digital Media Handbook

Article excerpt

Dewdney, Anthony and Ride, Peter. The Digital Media Handbook (2nd edition). New York: Routledge, 2014. Pp. 418. ISBN 978-0-415-69989 (cloth) $130.00; 978-0-415-69991-4 (paper) $42.95.

The Digital Media Handbook, one in a series of handbooks produced by Routledge, is designed specifically for anyone who wishes to work professionally in media. The series of handbooks began in the 1990s. This book first appeared in 2006 as The New Media Handbook. The authors clearly state: "this book is designed to help you find your way around an emergent subject and a set of complex, convergent digital media practices. It will, we hope, show the main contours of the subject, locate the main centers of interest and even chart many of the routes and connections between them" (p. 3). The authors believe three things mark this book out from the growing literature on the subject of digital media--(1) looking at digital media from the point of view of the practitioner; (2) looking at the practitioner as primarily a creative, rather than technical person; and (3) looking at digital media in context, meaning "the artefacts of digital media are not simply the outcomes of the creative use of new machines, but are also shaped by the cultural, institutional, and financial conditions in which people who make digital media artefacts work" (p. 7). Since it is a handbook, this book review is written with a number of direct quotations to clearly outline topics and rich dialogue and interview content from diverse digital media practitioners.

Chapter 1, the Introduction, begins with a clear answer to the question "What kind of book is this?" The chapter is effective in outlining the thought process behind the conceptualization and organization of the book. The authors give insight on their approach, education and training of digital media practitioners, and the blending of theory and practice. At the same time, the authors are clear in their discussion of generic skills. Specifically, they state: "there is a common set of 'generic skills' that we have identified across the practitioner accounts. The skill set we are identifying encompasses technical skills, conceptual skills, and social skills and can be defined around the following terms, visioning, development, research, networking, collaboration, and production" (p. 17). Finally, the chapter outlines the five parts that the book has been divided into. "The material in each section is structured by a set of underlying questions that students, producers, and users of digital media might reasonably want to ask, like, what is digital media and how is it being used; what are the key concepts and issues in digital media; and what are the emergent forms and skills of digital media?" (p. 17).

Chapter 2, "Digital media as a subject," does just as the title suggests--examines the subject of digital media. Specifically, "this chapter discusses the subject of digital media as it is shaped by and met in education. Understanding digital media involves thinking about how it has been framed for study, which is not at all the same thing as how digital media practice takes place in the rest of the world" (p. 20). The chapter discusses several of the books and other literature in the field of new media and digital media that frame the subject in a number of distinct ways.

The remainder of the book has five parts. Parts I, II, and III each have four chapters. Thus, each begins with a chapter focused on overviewing the subject area. Then, the remaining three chapters in each part focus on a case study dialogue or interview with a practitioner. Parts IV and V have seven and four chapters, respectively.

Part I, "Networks," includes four chapters focused on networked computing. Specifically, Chapter 3, also titled "Networks," focuses on the networked culture. "Appreciating the significance of the new emphasis upon networks for digital media practice requires an understanding of what a network is" (p. …

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