David Weinberger: Too Big to Know

David Weinberger: Too Big to Know

Here’s a book I’m keen to read, that has recently been reviewed in Times Higher Education:

The worry that we are being overwhelmed by information is not new. Five hundred years ago, the spread of printing presses led some thinkers to bemoan the mass reproduction of books and the negative impact it was having on learning. The rapid adoption of personal computers and the embedding of the internet in our work and personal lives have given a new generation of naysayers even more to complain about. The technology consulting firm IDC claims that in 2011 1.8 zettabytes (1.8 trillion gigabytes) of information were created and replicated globally – the equivalent of a pile of DVDs stretching to the Moon and back, and growing at such a rate that by 2020 it will be halfway to Mars.

Of course, a lot of these data are the digital exhaust we leave behind as we snap photos and post updates to Facebook and Twitter, and the 200 billion spam emails sent every day. However, there is also gold to be found among the detritus, and, as David Weinberger shows, the digitisation of information is transforming how we work and learn, with profound effects on global economic and social development. The central hypothesis of his wide-ranging but highly readable book is that knowledge is created differently in the emerging digital age than has been the case in the rapidly receding age of paper.

Read the full review.

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