Ann Blair et al., "Information: A Historical Companion" (Princeton UP, 2021)

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Information is everywhere. We live in an “Information” Society. We can get more of it faster, quicker, and in more different shapes and sizes than at probably any other time in history. Meanwhile, misinformation (a very old word) and disinformation (a neologism of the 20th century) have worked their way into our collective cultural lexicon.

Like everything, information has a history and Information: A Historical Companion (Princeton UP, 2021)—just shy of 900 pages, comprising 13 narrative essays, followed by 100 shorter pieces on particular technologies, practices, etc. relevant to information history—is an invaluable and highly readable reference work to help us orient in that history. This collaboration of 107 contributing experts has been brought to fruition by a team of four editors: Ann Blair, Paul Duguid, Anja-Silvia Goeing, and Anthony Grafton. In the interview, we talk with Ann Blair and Anthony Grafton, experts who know, among a great many other things, as much anybody about the history of one of the earliest and stable means of storing and transmitting information, the book. They have also been paying close attention to how the information ecosystem of our own day is evolving. Listen in for this wide-ranging conversation.

Erika Monahan is an associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico.

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