Too Big to Know and the Research Works Act

Too Big to KnowI’m about half way into David Weinberger’s new book, Too Big to Know. So far, fabulous. Lots to think about.

Weinberger’s premise is that “web form knowledge” (as opposed to “book form knowledge”) is transforming how knowledge is understood, maintained, used, and extended. Knowledge is more than network based, it IS the network.

While I’m still wrestling with the implications of all this, there is one thing that stands out. It is exactly this transformative approach to knowledge and human understanding (enabled by technologies like the net and philosophies like open access) that the US Research Works Act wants to suppress or prohibit (all in the name of shareholder value no doubt). John Dupuis has a good post on the Act if you are looking for background. And don’t think this is just a US issue.

As @copystar rightly observes, this is the beginning (renewal?) of the “war on open access.” Agreed.

It is also a war on innovation, curiosity, and creativity. Trying to legislate the Internet and its impacts back into the “book form knowledge” world is pointless at best. At its worst, it is an attempt to undermine the flow of informed discourse that we need to change the world.

…Mike

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