Information might want to be free; but, why should we free it? We've got enough trouble keeping track of all the petabits that already run around untethered, and risk a computer counterrevolution if we let the situation get much crazier. Information architect Richard Saul Wurman swept the field clear in 1989 with his groundbreaking book that foresaw the problems of data clutter and proposed a radical new means of organizing and presenting knowledge humanistically; for the new century, he has revised it substantially as Information Anxiety 2. This book is sparklingly clear and readable--it'd better be, after all--and offers insight not only to designers, educators, and content developers, but also to anyone who needs to communicate effectively through dense clouds of facts. If Wurman occasionally indulges in New Age-y pop psychology, his analysis is never muddy, and the more hardheaded reader will forgive him soon enough. The discussion alternates between describing the deeply stressful task of absorbing poorly organized data and exploring solutions that require a bit of rethinking, but that reward such an investment with improved understanding and, maybe, a state change from information to wisdom. We could do worse--if we don't pay attention to Wurman and his colleagues, we almost certainly will. --Rob Lightner
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Wurman identifies a special ailment of this age of communicationsso-called "information anxiety," caused, in his view, by an overwhelming flood of data, much of it from computers and much of it unintelligible. The author, a graphic artist and architect, argues that "learning is remembering what you are interested in," and proposes to help the anxious individual to select personally relevant information from the body of raw data or "non-information." He also demonstrates how to "access" resources and take advantage of experiences, suggesting specific information-processing skills and media habits. His breezy, colloquial style using short, headlined paragraphs is sprinkled with graphics and notes, imaginative quotes and anecdotes. This stimulating book is worth reading in or out of sequence if only for Wurman's views on education and the need to "transform information into structured knowledge." Author tour.
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