- Hardcover: 296 pages
- Publisher: Joseph Henry Press; annotated edition edition (June 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0309102383
- ISBN-13: 978-0309102384
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,240,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages annotated edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
To counter the billions of pixels that have been spent on the rise of the seemingly unique World Wide Web, journalist and information architect Wright delivers a fascinating tour of the many ways that humans have collected, organized and shared information for more than 100,000 years to show how the information age started long before microchips or movable type. A self-described generalist who displays an easy familiarity with evolutionary biology and cultural anthropology as well as computer science and technology, Wright explores the many and varied roots of the Web, including how the structure of family relationships from Greek times, among others, has exerted a profound influence on the shape and structure of human information systems. He discusses how the violent history of libraries is the best lesson in how hierarchical systems collapse and give rise to new systems, and how the new technology of the book introduced the notion of random access to information. And he focuses on the work of many now obscure information-gathering pioneers such as John Wilkins and his Universal Categories and Paul Otlet, the Internet's forgotten forefather, who anticipated many of the problems bedeviling the Web today. (June)
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"Alex Wright delivers a fascinating tour of the many ways that humans have collected, organized, and shared information to show how the information age started long before microchips or movable type."―Publishers Weekly
"This stimulating book offers much opportunity to reflect on the nature and long history of information management as a damper to the panic or the elation we may variously feel as we face ever greater scales of information overload."―Nature
"Glut is a penetrating and highly entertaining meditation on our information age and its historical roots. Alex Wright argues that now is the time to take a hard look at how we have communicated with one another since coming down from the trees, because the way we organize knowledge determines much about how we live."―Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Glut is a readable romp through the history of information processing. Wright argues that advances in information technology have always sparked conflict between written and oral traditions."―New Scientist
"Glut defies classification. From Incan woven threads to Wikipedia, Alex Wright shows us that humans have been attempting to fix categories upon the world throughout history, and that organizing information is a fundamental part of what makes us human. Many books tell you how to organizing things―this one tells you why we do it."―Paul Ford, Associate Editor, Harper's Magazine
"Information technology is part of what makes us human, and its story is our own. In this masterfully written book, Alex Wright traces the roots of the IT Revolution deep into human prehistory, showing how our lives are intimately bound up with the 'escalating fugue' of information technology."―Louis Rosenfeld, coauthor of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
"We have no idea how to handle the upcoming explosion of information. I found Alex Wright's quick, clear history of past methods for managing oceans of information to be a handy clue to where we are going. He introduces you to an ecosystem of information organizations far more complex and interesting than the mere 'search' tool."―Kevin Kelly, author of Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World
"This is a must-read for anybody who wants to understand where we've been and where we're going. A lucid, exciting book full of flashes of surprise about how we've done it all before: prehistoric beads as networking aids, third-century random access systems, seventh-century Irish monastic bloggers, eleventh-century multimedia, sixteenth-century hypertext. I wish I'd written it!"―James Burke, author of American Connections: The Founding Fathers Networked--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
o Creation and subsequent development of language and information
o Corresponding increase of information sources and documentation (e.g. papyrus, codex, printing press)
o Corresponding increase of difficulty with managing information (i.e. accessing, processing, organizing, updating, and distributing it)
o Emergence of communities that accelerate communication, cooperation, and collaboration
o Process by which the human race has reached a "precipice" between "the near limitless capacity of computer networks and the real physical limits of human comprehension"
Wright challenges his reader to ask: Have the nature and extent of information (i.e. its scope, depth, and volume) exceeded our ability to process it, much less manage it? Here's a related question: If so, will the need for hierarchical control systems preclude man's "deepest rooted social instincts"? Wright asserts -- and I agree -- that those instincts are returning to the fore, "as people adapt new technologies to invoke the ancient emotional circuitry that carried us through the age before symbols. The future of memory may lie not in our heads but in our hearts." I prefer to think that what we have is not a glut of information but, rather, a glut of as-yet unrealized potentialities. By reading Alex Wright's book, we gain a much deeper understanding of where we have been and thus are better prepared for what has yet to be achieved.
Hard to think of a page-turner in the field of information management, but one exists, and Alex Wright wrote it.
I'm not a big one for building a personal library. i usually read a book, then gift to a friend with the condition that they then pass it on. In this case, you may borrow my copy of Glut, but it needs to be returned to me. It's earned a spot on my bookshelf!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author does a good job making his point.Read more