Too Big to Know

Book Too Big to Know

Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room

Basic Books,
Also available in: Portuguese , Spanish

Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

In this skillfully reasoned work, Harvard researcher David Weinberger examines the effect of the Internet on traditional concepts of knowledge and on what it means to be a knowledgeable person. In the online world, messy yet dynamic communities of experts and amateurs discuss and analyze so relentlessly that it is almost impossible to establish a fact or draw a conclusion. Yet science and other fields make unprecedented strides. Will the Internet’s connectivity raise the world’s collective intelligence? Or will wisdom, understanding and true knowing sink to the lowest common denominator? getAbstract highly recommends this scholarly analysis of the evolving shape of knowledge to anyone whose work involves thinking about the flow of information – from librarians to scientists, IT specialists and business strategists.

Summary

“The Network of Knowledge”

Until the arrival of the digital age, most people accepted a standard system of knowledge. Students studied subjects, earned credentials to prove their proficiency and became experts. Then they put their knowledge to work conducting research and writing books and articles to share their findings and conclusions. Other specialists vetted their work and deemed it accurate or mistaken. As new discoveries gained acceptance, they joined a body of established knowledge that provided a foundation for further exploration and learning. Throughout history, this system relied on paper to communicate, until the introduction of digital media changed everything. The mere abundance of online information makes it difficult to discern what is true and what is false.

As digital media test beliefs about knowledge, institutions such as universities, libraries and science labs must rethink knowledge’s infrastructure. Questioning long-held assumptions raises fears. These fears manifest as warnings about the Internet, such as “Google is making us stupid,” or “the web gives every nut a platform.” Even as people voice these fears, science moves forward at an unprecedented...

About the Author

Blogger David Weinberger, co-author of the bestseller, The Cluetrain Manifesto, is a fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for the Internet and Society.


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