Review of Glut- Alex Wright

Glut on Amazon : Glut on LibraryThing: Glut in Libraries

Glut is certainly ambitious, covering as it does all of human evolutionary history. Wright seeks to put information handling into its genetic and social context. Not being an expert in either field, I’ll need to look a little further to see if it holds up scientifically.

Wright covers the history of information management, from the earliest systems on clay to current issues around folksnonomies. As a sentimentalist I was glad to see Paul Otlet get his due- though sadly no mention of Suzanne Briet- and it was interesting to be introduced to the ideas of Ted Nelson. At times some of the coverage feels like side alleys, but on the whole there’s a coherent thread.

Wright’s conclusion seems to be that the ‘old’ hierarchies can- perhaps should- coexist with the ‘new’ networks in a mutually strengtening relationship. This is something which appeals to me.

It has been pointed out that Wright makes several errors (or assumptions if one is being generous…) and certianly there were points when I thought ‘that’s not so.’ But overall this is an interesting book making some interesting points.

Personal note: my girlfriend echoes Karen Coyle’s apparent attitude to ‘information architect’ as a job title.

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