978-0-8018-6412-4 / 9780801864124

Information Ages: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Computer Revolution


Publisher:The Johns Hopkins University Press



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About the book:

Hobart and Schiffman see what we call the "information age" as actually the third such "age." The first began with the invention of writing and the second with the development of the printing press. Further, they claim that the present information revolution, while creating much faster change than the other two, will actually have less impact on human thought and culture than its predecessors.

It is the first they find most dramatic, since "information" as we know it today is intimately tied to the invention of writing. By their definition, information is a human concept rather than something that exists in and of itself; information came into existence when knowledge could be stored outside an individual human's memory. Hobart and Schiffman trace the history of their conception of information through three eras: the classical, which began when oral traditions gave way to written records; the modern, in which printing brought information into the hands of the masses and allowed numeracy to shape human conceptions of reality; and the contemporary age of computers and cyberspace. This fascinating book challenges readers to reexamine foundational assumptions about information and the nature of knowledge. --Elizabeth Lewis

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