Glut:: Mastering Information Through The Ages / Edition 1

Glut:: Mastering Information Through The Ages / Edition 1

by Alex Wright
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0309102383

ISBN-13: 9780309102384

Pub. Date: 06/01/2007

Publisher: National Academies Press

What do primordial bacteria, medieval alchemists, and the World Wide Web have to do with each other? This fascinating exploration of how information systems emerge takes readers on a provocative journey through the history of the information age.

Today's "information explosion" may seem like an acutely modern phenomenon, but we are not the first generationâ

Overview

What do primordial bacteria, medieval alchemists, and the World Wide Web have to do with each other? This fascinating exploration of how information systems emerge takes readers on a provocative journey through the history of the information age.

Today's "information explosion" may seem like an acutely modern phenomenon, but we are not the first generationâ€"nor even the first speciesâ€"to wrestle with the problem of information overload. Long before the advent of computers, human beings were collecting, storing, and organizing information: from Ice Age taxonomies to Sumerian archives, Greek libraries to Dark Age monasteries.

Today, we stand at a precipice, as our old systems struggle to cope with what designer Richard Saul Wurman called a "tsunami of data." With some historical perspective, however, we can begin to understand our predicament not just as the result of technological change, but as the latest chapter in an ancient story that we are only beginning to understand.

Spanning disciplines from evolutionary theory and cultural anthropology to the history of books, libraries, and computer science, writer and information architect Alex Wright weaves an intriguing narrative that connects such seemingly far-flung topics as insect colonies, Stone Age jewelry, medieval monasteries, Renaissance encyclopedias, early computer networks, and the World Wide Web. Finally, he pulls these threads together to reach a surprising conclusion, suggesting that the future of the information age may lie deep in our cultural past.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780309102384
Publisher:
National Academies Press
Publication date:
06/01/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
294
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.15(d)

Table of Contents


Introduction     1
Networks and Hierarchies     5
Family Trees and the Tree of Life     22
The Ice Age Information Explosion     39
The Age of Alphabets     48
Illuminating the Dark Age     78
A Steam Engine of the Mind     99
The Astral Power Station     122
The Encyclopedic Revolution     143
The Moose That Roared     152
The Industrial Library     165
The Web That Wasn't     183
Memories of the Future     230
Appendixes
John Wilkins's Universal Categories     239
Thomas Jefferson's 1783 Catalog of Books     242
The Dewey Decimal System     245
S. R. Ranganathan's Colon Classification     247
Acknowledgments     251
Notes     253
Index     271

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