• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Humanities
  • Areas of interest Digital Humanities
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

The digital age is changing our interaction with information profoundly. The printed book and newspaper is under threat, the publishing industry is undergoing significant change, and issues surrounding information, such as freedom of information, copyright, and intellectual property, and the very ways in which we read, write, understand, and communicate are being debated and reconsidered. This course seeks to place these debates in historical perspective by exploring the history of information in the modern age. A history of information and an examination of issues surrounding information transmission and use will equip students to think critically and creatively about information and knowledge in contemporary life. The course will draw on a variety of disciplines and methodologies, thereby introducing students to issues in print history, communication and media studies, and information studies.  Specific topics that will be studied include: the impact of the ‘print revolution’; information and empire; the development of the publishing industry and how it shapes knowledge; information wars and propaganda; and the development of the Internet and its impact on information, knowledge, and communication.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate understanding of critical issues in the history of information and its contemporary dimensions;
  2. analyse and discuss the ways in which information has shaped aspects of modern culture and society;
  3. examine and evaluate research data, theory, and methodology relating to the history of print, information, and communication;
  4. identify and critically analyse key theoretical and methodological approaches to the history of information.

Indicative Assessment

Critical reflections (4 x 500 words; 10% each) through semester; 2,000 words, 40% (LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
Final essay; 2, 000 words, 50% (1, 2, 3, 4)
Tutorial Participation; 10% (1, 2, 4)

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HUMN6002.

Prescribed Texts

Weekly readings will be provided through Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

James Gleick, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood

Martyn Lyons, A History of Reading and Writing in the Western World, Palgrave, 2010.

Jeremy Black, The Power of Knowledge: How Information and Technology Made the Modern World (2014)

Toni Weller (ed.) Information History in the Modern World: Histories of the Information Age (2011)




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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