Colloquium: January 8, 2013

Too Big to Know

David Weinberger

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium.


We used to know how to know things. You did some research, you wrote a paper or a book, you got it published. With luck, you’d become an acknowledged expert. That process has served us well when paper was the medium of knowledge. In the Age of the Net, knowledge is changing its shape and its nature. It is moving from settled to unsettled, from filtered before publication to filtered afterwards, from the content of individuals to the links that make networks, from orderly to impossibly messy. We pay a price for this new type of knowledge — linked and unbound — but at last we are able to scale knowledge up to the task we’ve always set for it: to understand a universe that is far bigger and more complex than our little brains can manage.


David Weinberger photoDavid Weinberger, Ph.D., writes about the effect of the Internet on ideas. He is a co-author of the bestseller, The Cluetrain Manifesto (2000) and is the author of two other highly regarded books, Small Pieces Loosely Joined and Everything Is Miscellaneous His new book, Too Big to Know” (2012), looks at how the networking of knowledge and expertise is changing how we understand our world and make decisions in it; it has won two international “book of the year” awards. Dr. Weinberger is a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and is co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. He has been a marketing adviser to many high tech companies, and adviser to several presidential candidates, and was for two years a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. State Department. He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto, and lives in Boston.