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The Social Life of Information Paperback – Mar 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Press; 1 edition (March 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578517087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578517084
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #471,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
LIVING IN THE INFORMATION AGE can occasionally feel like being driven by someone with tunnel vision. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading The Social Life of Information, by John Seeley Brown and Paul Duguid. This was not the quickest read; it's a business book with the obtuseness of vocabulary that implies. However, if you're a computer person with any desire to see your work in a larger context, this is a book you should read. In it, they examine eight separate areas in which computers, and the internet in particular, have supposedly changed our lives (this is typically called 'hype', though the authors don't use the word) in the latter years of the 20th century. (This book is copyright 2000.) You probably remember some of these claims: the death of the corporation, of the university, of paper documents, of the corporate office. In each chapter, they review one claim, show how the claim's proponents over-simplify the issue, and look at the (new and old) responses of people and institutions to the problem that the claim was trying to solve. They also examine, in detail, the ways in which humans process information, and how the software that is often touted as a replacement simply isn't.
I really enjoy 'ah-ha' moments; these are times where I look back at my experiences in a new light, thanks to a theory that justifies or explains something that I didn't understand. For example, I remember when I started my first professional job, right out of college, I thought the whole point of work was to, well, work. So I sat in my cube and worked 8 solid hours a day. After a few months, when I still didn't know anyone at the office, but had to ask someone how to modify a script I was working on, I learned the value of social interaction at the office. (Actually, I was so clueless, I had to ask someone to find the appropriate someone to ask.
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Format: Hardcover
Living in this new century, Information Technology plays a very important part in our daily life. However, as the world is flooded with information, meaningless of the mass information become a questionable matter in return.
This book is just about some ideas concerning the new technology and the new world information. People nowadays know the importance of information but they always missed the limitation of it. As mentioned by the author, increased in information is not necessary equivalents to increased in the value and meaning of it. Controlling the flow of mass information became a critical issue and solutions like better processing and improved data are suggested for improvement.
The book raised an essential element in the IT world, that is the social network, which in fact is playing the core role in this new technology world. Without the help of socialization, technology cannot grow so fast into our daily life. Think about facing problems about how to operate a new version of Microsoft windows, majority of new users would seek advice from those they knew rather than seek helps from the ¡§help¡¨ menu or instruction guidelines on the internet. Therefore, social context plays an important role in helping information and technology become more valuable to human.
It is the truth that even the professional technicians cannot solve problems by themselves sometimes and what they would do is to discuss with colleagues and share experience and knowledge with each other.
I agree that information itself has little meaning; it becomes valuable only after we digested and changed them into knowledge. Without doubt, technologies can ease our learning of knowledge and save much time. Therefore, they all have close relationship with each other.
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Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book, not simply in terms of its insights on how technologies can be misguided if they do no recognize the underlying social structure that they are there to support, but also with regard to the release of this book in March of 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom.
In this book you will not find technological evangelicalism or ideas about how the Internet can change the world, but you will find thoughtful discussion about why online universities need the value of the offline university, why a knowledge economy cannot be understood in terms of a manufacturing paradigm of inter-changeable parts, why Chiat-Day's unstructured office design was an interesting concept but a failure in supporting the social structure of an office, and why groups of like-minded businesses will cluster in the same geographical area even though new technologies would elminate the need for proximity.
This book is positive about technology, but asks to look first at the real impact and real opportunity. While this is an amazing book that I would highly recommend to everyone interested in this subject, I did think the delineation of new technology and existing social context did not explore emergining social patterns as a result of technological change. We can only hope for a book in the future on this topic by these authors
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Format: Hardcover
This book offers a counterargument to the claim that more information (and more Information Technology) will magically make life easier. It is not an argument against technology, but it is a call for more realistic expectations when it comes to things like telecommuting, the "paperless office", and the virtual university.
The authors' engaging tone helps to overcome the dryness of some of the material. As someone who has spent a good deal of time in online communities, however, I felt that the book (and its authors) might have benefitted from a closer look at some of the more social online communities.
Like any book on technology, of course, this book faces the problem of quickly becoming dated, particularly when the authors look into the (possible) future, but it serves as an excellent introduction to the topic. It also includes a bibliography, for readers wishing to delve more deeply into the history and studies behind the book.
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