Too Much to Know Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age Ann M. Blair

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
13 Sep 2011
ISBN:
9780300165395
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
416 pages: 578 x 156mm
Illustrations:
31 b-w illus.

The flood of information brought to us by advancing technology is often accompanied by a distressing sense of “information overload,” yet this experience is not unique to modern times. In fact, says Ann M. Blair in this intriguing book, the invention of the printing press and the ensuing abundance of books provoked sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European scholars to register complaints very similar to our own. Blair examines methods of information management in ancient and medieval Europe as well as the Islamic world and China, then focuses particular attention on the organization, composition, and reception of Latin reference books in print in early modern Europe. She explores in detail the sophisticated and sometimes idiosyncratic techniques that scholars and readers developed in an era of new technology and exploding information.

Ann M. Blair is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, MA.

"A timely book…Too Much to Know is our pre-history: a saga of human search engines before the digital age….With extensive learning, Blair explains how current concerns over information overload are far from new."—James Delbourgo, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Fascinating... If you like to know things, even in a world in which there is already too much to know, Blair's book is a mini-library in itself."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post 

"Too Much To Know is a book that, by the solidity of its prose and the accurate richness of its scholarship, quietly reveals the industry and ambition that has gone into making it."—Richard Serjeantson, Times Literary Supplement