Information: A Historical Companion

AHP readers may be interested in a new edited book: Information: A Historical Companion.
Edited by Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, Anja-Silvia Goeing, and Anthony Grafton the book is described as “a landmark history that traces the creation, management, and sharing of information through six centuries.”

Thanks to modern technological advances, we now enjoy seemingly unlimited access to information. Yet how did information become so central to our everyday lives, and how did its processing and storage make our data-driven era possible? This volume is the first to consider these questions in comprehensive detail, tracing the global emergence of information practices, technologies, and more, from the premodern era to the present. With entries spanning archivists to algorithms and scribes to surveilling, this is the ultimate reference on how information has shaped and been shaped by societies.

Written by an international team of experts, the book’s inspired and original long- and short-form contributions reconstruct the rise of human approaches to creating, managing, and sharing facts and knowledge. Thirteen full-length chapters discuss the role of information in pivotal epochs and regions, with chief emphasis on Europe and North America, but also substantive treatment of other parts of the world as well as current global interconnections. More than 100 alphabetical entries follow, focusing on specific tools, methods, and concepts—from ancient coins to the office memo, and censorship to plagiarism. The result is a wide-ranging, deeply immersive collection that will appeal to anyone drawn to the story behind our modern mania for an informed existence.

Tells the story of information’s rise from 1450 through to today
Covers a range of eras and regions, including the medieval Islamic world, late imperial East Asia, early modern and modern Europe, and modern North America
Includes 100 concise articles on wide-ranging topics:
Concepts: data, intellectual property, privacy
Formats and genres: books, databases, maps, newspapers, scrolls and rolls, social media
People: archivists, diplomats and spies, readers, secretaries, teachers
Practices: censorship, forecasting, learning, political reporting, translating
Processes: digitization, quantification, storage and search
Systems: bureaucracy, platforms, telecommunications
Technologies: cameras, computers, lithography
Provides an informative glossary, suggested further reading (a short bibliography accompanies each entry), and a detailed index
Written by an international team of notable contributors, including Jeremy Adelman, Lorraine Daston, Devin Fitzgerald, John-Paul Ghobrial, Lisa Gitelman, Earle Havens, Randolph C. Head, Niv Horesh, Sarah Igo, Richard R. John, Lauren Kassell, Pamela Long, Erin McGuirl, David McKitterick, Elias Muhanna, Thomas S. Mullaney, Carla Nappi, Craig Robertson, Daniel Rosenberg, Neil Safier, Haun Saussy, Will Slauter, Jacob Soll, Heidi Tworek, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Alexandra Walsham, and many more.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.

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