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What's Happening to Knowledge?
|Free Knowledge & Access to Information
|GNU Free Documentation License (details)
|About the author
|David Weinberger, Ph.D. is co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and the author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined; he writes www.JohoTheBlog. He is a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society. His work has appeared in many places, from Wired to Harvard Business Review to TV Guide. He is a commentator on NPR and is a columnist for KMWorld and Il Sole 24 ore (Italy's leading financial daily newspaper). As a marketing consultant he has has worked with many companies, large and small. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. His book Everything Is Miscellaneous about the ways in which the new principles of digital organization are transforming knowledge will be published by Times Books in winter 2007.
|The old principles for the organization of knowledge turn out to be based on principles for organizing physical objects; in the digital age we're creating new principles free of the old limitations. This is changing the basic shape of knowledge, from (typically) trees to miscellanized piles. This has consequences for the nature of topics, the role of metadata, and, crucially, the authority of knowledge. In short, the change in the shape of knowledge is also changing its place. Despite the hysteria too often heard, knowledge is not being threatened. We are way too good at generating knowledge, and it is way too important to us as a species. But, much of what we're doing together on the Web is about increasing meaning, not knowledge. That re-frames knowledge -- traditional and Wikipedian -- in ways that are hard to predict but important.
Note: These are my notes-in-progress. Sorry they're a little cryptic. And highly likely to change, especially in response to what happens at Wikimedia. [Revised on Aug 2] - D. Weinberger
Seven properties of traditional knowledge
1. In our heads: Romantic myth of knower
3. Simpler and orderly: Unbound topics
4. Bigger than we are: Exactly our size
5. One truth: Commoditization