Too Big to Know: Rethi...
David Weinberger
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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

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  637 ratings  ·  103 reviews
We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We'd nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There's more knowledge than ever, of course, but it's different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything. Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker . . . if you know...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published January 1st 2012)
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I was 18% of the way through this book before I realized it was a book about philosophy. Well, perhaps it isn't, perhaps it's filed under popular computing or whatever the "books that tell you how everything is different with the Internet" section is called these days. But what I took from this book was the philosophy.

Now I've read a little of philosophy: I can recognize a bunch of the Greeks and maybe make a lame ham-fisted explanation of one or two, but the real thing I learned from my reading...more
The premise of this book is that somehow networked organizations and networked thinking will lead to better, smarter decisions. As long as we include a sufficient diversity of opinions and experience in the networks helping us make our decisions we will arrive at better, more informed answers. In fact, as the amount of information explodes, these networks will be the only way to manage all the information we are creating.

Here's the problem. I don't think anyone will dispute that reaching out the...more
Armanda Moncton
This is a good book, yet I found it very hard to persist to the end. Perhaps for someone who is deeply knowledgeable about the evolution of networks, and who swims effortlessly in the hyperlinked knowledge environment of blogs and tweets, this work of philosophy will deepen their understanding of powerful changes that come with a paradigm shift. For myself, I am desperately trying to flit from one observation post to another as I borrow the perspective of those who are knowledgeable about what t...more
Dan Russell
If the number of underlines in a book is any measure of quality (or at least interest), this is possibly the wisest book I’ve read on the changes in how we think about knowledge. Every chapter has at least 10 underlined passages. Weinberger gets a lot of it right: the changes in our expectations about what constitutes validity; how internetworking at the speed and scale we have now radically changes the WAYS we think; and the ways in which large amounts of networked knowledge allows us to think...more
Though there really is "too much" to even discuss (much less know!) regarding new media's effect on how we establish, glean, and use knowledge, Weinberger does a fantastic job in exploring many of these issues. Better yet, he does so in an engaging manner, presenting plenty of historical and modern-day examples in a sophisticated, yet easy-to-read narrative voice.

What most impresses me about Weinberger's approach is his clear confidence in the importance of these issues coupled with a conscious...more
Rob Kitchin
In Too Big to Know, David Weinberger (2011) develops a materialist argument with regards to the relationship between the medium and nature of communication, arguing: ‘[t]ransform the medium by which we develop, preserve, and communicate knowledge, and we transform knowledge.’ Such arguments have been made by others, such as Kittler in his book Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, where he sets out how each of these technologies transformed knowledge production and changed how people relate to and inter...more
Mike Nyerges
Feb 08, 2014 Mike Nyerges rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Librarians and archivists
Shelves: recently-read
In Too Big to Know, David Weinberger examines how the unprecedented growth of information on the Internet has challenged how we determine fact and share our understanding of the world, and he suggests possible strategies in coping with this growth. Weinberger reviews how the Internet has facilitated a dynamic exchange of ideas that was once the province of established institutions and professions. What were once closed networks are now more open, visible and public. Studies and investigations ar...more
Ken McDouall
Weinberger dazzles us with examples of how the structure of knowledge and means of knowing are changing with the rapid growth of digital networks in all our institutions. He details how tools such as crowdsourcing, open access repositories, and aggregators are exponentially increasing the amount of information we have access to. There has always been an abundance of information, but our traditional paper-based system of disseminating it has put time-tested filters in place. Weinberger describes...more
This was less a new book and more a book-length response to Nicholas Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", and, as with New and Quiet, this book could easily have been half the length. The author talks at length about how research used to be done, how research used to be reported, how newspapers used to be the "record", etc. and how now, in the Internet age, thanks to the ease of crowdsourcing and self-publishing, those traditional "experts with official imprimatur" are now losing ground to the...more
Roy Kenagy
Jan 04, 2012 Roy Kenagy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Evgeny Morozov eviscerates Weinberger, Too Big to Know ~I guess I need to read it anyway...

Report on "Too Big to Know" lecture by Weinberger at UC Berkeley School of Information:

“Newspapers, encyclopedias, they are just gone, at the touch of a hyperlink,” Mr. Weinberger said. The institutions of “education and politics – they’ll just shatter. How did they get to be so fragile?” With the pained glee of a scientist discovering very bad news, he added,...more
Weinberger relies a little too much on a stark contrast between paper versus not-paper, and he attends primarily to the social rather than the perceptual/psychological/cognitive effects of screen media. (To be fair, he's focusing upon adults and teens rather than upon young children, for whom the developmental stakes are much higher.) There's not a whole lot here that's new -- his _Everything Is Miscellaneous_ is a much more interesting and informative read -- but it's well-written and a smooth...more
A study of knowledge in a networked world: Weinberger looks at how paper and digital technologies shape what we know and how we know it. A more cohesively written volume than his Everyting is Miscellaneous, Too big to Know proposes that knowledge now belongs to the network and the Internet is not making us stupid, it is merely making us structure knowledge in different ways.

Emma Sea
Not sure if full of filler, or if I just didn't need to be persuaded to Weinberger's way of thinking. Link to show your evidence/reasoning, teach people how to tell complete bullshit apart from rhetoric, don't abandon traditional knowledge/institutions when it/they can still offers us stuff, label stuff well, open access to knowledge. Sounds fine to me.
Darren Anderson
If you are looking for an insight into the idea of knowledge and how it has changed with the advent of the Internet, then you will find what you are looking for here. Weinberger’s focus is how knowledge is changing from a “papered” form to one that is networked and without boundary, and what implications that holds for us as “knowers.”

Knowledge, according to Weinberger, is and always has been a boundless, malleable thing subject to the shaping power of human intellect across individuals and grou...more
I finished this on the plane heading into LA. I really, really enjoyed reading the book, but it is going to take me quite a bit of time to unpack it. I was surprised that its reviews were so mixed. It did not suffer from the flaws attributed to it, I thought. Instead, I think the reviewers were expecting it to put forward a particular kind of argument that Weinberger declined (wisely, IMHO) to engage in.

Epistemologically speaking, Weinberger just assumes that the critiques raised by continental...more
I would highly recommend this book for anyone in the information business, particularly librarians. The author shows the changing face of how we access and even think about information. When information was held within the covers of a book, it was, by necessity, static and carefully chosen by an expert who made the decisions about what would appear and what would be cut. Once the information was published, adding to that particular information stopped evolving in that format. Contrast that to th...more
This was an absorbing an eye-opening book on the nature of knowledge as it moves onto networks. Weinberger's general thesis is that as our system of distributing knowledge moves away from paper an onto the internet, knowledge is both gaining attributes of the network, and losing the attributes of paper. This has both positive and negative consequences of knowledge. On one hand, knowledge is infinitely scalable, and we can find just about anything we want. On the other, we do no have a system of...more
Laurie Niestrath
If all of Weinberger's books are as insightful as this one, that I am now a fan! His in depth look at the world of knowledge asks the reader to meet him more than half way as he discusses the concepts of what constitutes knowledge and is there really an overload of information. What is a cloud, who can be found there and how can the expertise of cloud prove to be invaluable to me as an educator, researcher and writer. The power of hyperlinks means that authority no longer rests in the hands of t...more
Greg Linster
How do you know what you think you know? What counts as knowledge and what doesn’t? These questions speak to a great semantics-based problem, i.e., trying to define what ‘knowledge’ is. Studying the nature of knowledge falls within the domain of a branch of philosophy called epistemology, which happens largely to be the subject matter of David Weinberger’s book Too Big Too Know .

According to Weinberger, most of us tend to think that there are certain individuals — called experts — who are knowled...more
"Our skulls and our institutions are simply not big enough to contain knowledge. Knowledge is now a property of the network, and the network embraces businesses, governments, media, museums, curated collections and minds in communication." (xiii)

"The analysis is purely statistical, in a way that the nineteenth-century scientists and statisticians would not have foreseen. The analysis is not in support of a theory and it produces no theory. ... It doesn't have a hypothesis and it doesn't have a g...more
Paul Signorelli
David Weinberger’s "Too Big To Know" is everything we’ve come to expect from him: engaging, thought-provoking, introspective, and even gently self-effacing. We gain a lot through Weinberger's ruminations on the nature of knowledge at a time when knowledge is far from defined solely by what is between the covers of books or peer-reviewed journals. It "is becoming a property of the network, rather than of individuals who know things, of objects that contain knowledge, and of the traditional instit...more
David Rickert
It used to be that a small group of people controlled the distribution of knowledge. A group of people decided what made it's way into encyclopedias. A group of academics decided what was published, and it was darned difficult to do. You may have had dissenting opinions, but it was hard to find an audience if the people in charge of the distribution of knowledge did not agree with you.

Now we live in an age where knowledge is quite public - anyone can get there ideas out there and there's a guara...more
David Weinberger's book begins with the thesis that "The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it." He reviews the vast amount of data moving to the web, and strategies for using and consolidating web data. As he puts it, "... in a networked world, knowledge lives not in books or in heads but in the network itself. It’s not that the network is a super-brain or is going to become conscious. It’s no...more
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Jeff Scott
The focus of Weinberger's new book, Too Big to Know, is the changing world of knowledge. We have gone from having singular experts, think tanks, and books, to a vast assortment of information available online. It's an impossible task to it all down and turn it into knowledge. We have to find ways to build a room and get the right people in it to process the information. These people can come from any field and any expertise, amateur or not. Experts and amateurs provide equally important contribu...more
This is a book about information science in the Internet age. Still reading this paragraph? The author summarizes how our ideas about knowledge have changed, from experts doing research and publishing books to seal their knowledge within, to all knowledge being collaborative, continually in process, and endlessly debated. The ideas I liked most in the book were about dealing with information overload. Weinberger says we will never find a filter that manages information for us – we have to develo...more
Quite a convincing argument that technology has altered forever the ways in which we deal with information. Hyperlinks allow us to include our entire data sets and gives us the opportunity as readers to vet resources ourselves. Technology allows for amateur archivists and other non-professionally trained assistants with a greater depth of subject knowledge than a librarian could ever have in a specific field to help identify and label metadata.

I read this book in preparation on a debate where I...more
Rhodes Hileman
The net has a substantial, maybe overwhelming, impact on the way we know the world. Mr. Weinberger surveys the consequences comprehensively, and in doing so presents some insights that might be new. There is nothing here that we were not already thinking in the back of our mind, but it's definitely brought forward and into better focus. Of particular value are the references to all the people who are at the various leading edges of this epistemological wavefront, and the descriptions of their wo...more
Book 28 2012 Reading Challenge An interesting book that made me think about what the Internet means for collaboration and knowledge building. One point Weinberger brings up is how we will trace great minds in the future. His examples are Darwin who we trace through thousands of personal letters, drawings, and journal entries. Now, though, people seldom write letters -- their biography comprises a hard drive- emails and digital files. So to do research on them we must access their hard drives - a...more
Earl Veale
This was an informative book about understanding ways to get the most out of the vastness of knowledge around us.

"Knowledge and expertise existed in a limited volume because the medium of documentation was paper, and paper creates finite boundaries."

note: date read is an estimate. I know I purchased this book in October 2012, and I know I had it read before starting the next book on my reading list.

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HyperLibMOOC: Too Big To Know - Discussion Space 3 15 Sep 21, 2013 07:45AM  
  • Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science
  • The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption
  • Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom
  • Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends are the Key to Influence on the Social Web (Voices That Matter)
  • The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry)
  • Glut: Mastering Information Through The Ages
  • Net Smart: How to Thrive Online
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
  • The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You
  • The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
  • Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn
  • Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge
  • The Atlas of New Librarianship
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • What Technology Wants
  • The Social Life of Information
  • The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
  • Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age is Revolutionizing Life, Business, and Society
Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory Of The Web La stanza intelligente Elogio del disordine My Hundred Million Dollar Secret

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