- May 2016
p. 6 On knowledge fetishisation. Note he is writing in the period 1995-2000, before it became absolutely clear that this was vanishing and that it would become a fetish:
One purpose [for acquiring information[ is simply possession and the satisfaction it gives; witness the pride some people take in their phenomenal memory for trivia, their extensive libraries, their collections of compact disks, maps, or computer programs. Possessing information also confers prestige. Erudition and especially initiation into the esoteric knowledge of a small sect or secret society--Freemasons, cosmologists, and the like--have conferred prestige and awed the ignorant throughout history.
p. 5 argues that museums and botanical gardens are information systems.
Headrick, Daniel R. 2000. When Information Came of Age: Technologies of Knowledge in the Age of Reason and Revolution, 1700-1850. Oxford University Press.
Notes (American spelling).
p. v. Has an interesting idea that the real contribution of the long eighteenth century to information was the ordering and typology systems.
p. 4 makes a distinction between knowledge and information and seems to understand information as being organisation of knowledge (actually is maybe confused a little about the distinction)
Information is not the same thing as knowledge, though the two concepts overlap. Knowledge refers to ideas and facts that a human mind has internalizedand understood: how to fix a flat tire, the names of a really good dentist, speaking French. Acquiring knowledge means absorbing a lot of information--for example, how to use French irregular verbs correctly. Often the mind acquires and organizes such information in a spontaneous and even subconscious fashion, the way a child learns to speak or a taxi driver knows her way around town. At other times, the acquisition of knowledge requires studying, a slow and difficult process. The amount of knowledge that a human mind can possess is truly extraordinary, but it is not infinite, nor is the mind reliable. Hence the need for information. As society becomes more complex and its interactions speed up, access to information becomes increasingly important. Education was once focused on learning, that is, on acquiring knowledge; it now stresses research skills. What matters is not knowing the answer, but knowing where to look it up. And that means the information is (one hopes) out there, readily accessible.
- history of ideas
- history of science
- information systems
- book collection