Paul Duguid (School of Information, University of California, Berkeley), “Getting Information from Books: A View of the 18th Century”
Tomorrow at 6:00 pm, Paul Duguid of UC Berkeley will address the role of printed books in the information age. No, this talk isn’t about google or Amazon. Duguid rather explores another time in history when open access to knowledge seemed to transform the ways people processed and disseminated information.
In 1778, Vicesimus Knox, a mostly forgotten editor and Anglican schoolteacher, declared his time an “Age of Information,” suggesting, in a fashion recognizable today, that the period had severed connections with prior ages and promised rich if daunting futures to those who understood the change. This talk will attempt to set Knox’s claim in context by exploring changes the way information was used across the eighteenth century. Central to this account is how it became unexceptional to talk about information as something put into, extracted from, and passed among books, which could then be assessed as having “more” or “less” information than their rivals.