The Internet as a Smart Network of Information

‘The result of the new filtering in the front is an increasingly smart network, with more hooks and ties by which we can find our way through it and make sense of what we find.’ –David Weinberger

The innovation of digital information storage and access has changed the way we understand the body of knowledge we have access to. It has always been the case that the world of data and information out there is too big to know. Viewing information on the internet has made it so that the information is at our fingertips or a click away.

On the internet there is a democratic or mobocratic manner in which information is made accessible. All information is linked and available any online user. Search engines like Google will not filter out the information to make it digestible for the online user as there are no limitations on storage space as the case maybe in a physical library. Information is rather filter forward based on the number of hits the page may get or the number of pages that link a webpage to other pages.

Within physical library systems, the volumes that are available are selected by a small group of people so that they can be made available to the public. In this system you will find that expert knowledge is given preference, works that are published in a publishing house are given preference, and works that have the most peer review are preferred. Other information is essentially filtered out because it is not immediately accessible through the library.

On the internet the links between information creates a smarter network than before. The user can access information at the click of a button. As a user goes further into researching they will find a many contradictions in knowledge as well as have access to an array of opinions on a subject. When information is filtered forward it is also not always expert information that is given preference in the hierarchy of what is viewed first.