The internet as a body of knowledge.

In David Weinberger’s, Too Big to Know, beginning on page 44 he states:
We are losing knowledge’s body: a comprehensible, masterable collection of ideas and works that together reflect the truth about the world. In field after field we’ve witnessed the idea of a “canon” falling. The idea that there is such a thing as “the news” that could possibly fit into a daily newspaper or newscast, that there are agreed-upon Great Works of Literature that make one literate, that there’s a reasonable way to pare an encyclopedia down to a mere 65,000 entries, that we even know what constitutes a civilization– all of these notions have been under attack for a couple of generations now. The Internet is sealing the deal.

On page 46, he expounds on this point:
The Internet simply doesn’t have what it takes to create a body of knowledge: No editors and curators who get to decide what is in or out. No agreed-upon walls to let us know that knowledge begins here, while outside uncertainty reigns– at least none that everyone accepts. There is little to none of the permanence, stability, and community fealty that a body of knowledge requires and implies.

Aside from these quotes, Weinberger makes the point over and over again that the corpus of knowledge contained in the internet is redefining our vision of how human knowledge should be organized. Our image of knowledge as an encompassing structure that, if complete, has the ability to answer all the questions in the universe is eroding simply because it is being shown to us that it was never there in the first place. We first thought that knowledge was like a puzzle, it had edges corners, and if we had all the pieces, with the right ability, we could put it together and see the whole picture.
The immense amount of facts now contained on the internet can be used to both prove and disprove a point. This shows that humans will never be able to create such a perfect system. Some of the facts we once thought were edges and corners of this puzzle were really just the front and back covers of books. Now that knowledge is on the internet, there are no such covers. Not only is it growing astronomically, but it is becoming more and more interconnected. There is so much information that even though the picture seems like there isn’t much more to add, in fact, the connections growing from within are filling the insides up so fast that it is pushing the body of knowledge ever outward from the inside.

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