The History of Information and Knowledge

  • Oct 25, 1440

    The Printing Press

    The Printing Press
    Source In 1440 the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg created a machine that would allow documents to be copied quickly and easily: the movable type printing press. Using a set of individually cast metal letters that could be rearranged into different combinations, the printing press is arguably the genesis of mass communication.
  • Defining Knowledge

    Defining Knowledge
    Source John Locke (1632-1704) was a revolutionary thinker who believed that humans have sensory organs that give us 'ideas of sensation'. According to him our minds then processed these ideas and in turn gave us 'ideas of reflection'.
  • Knowledge Industry

    Source Fritz Machlup was a theorist who promoted the idea that knowledge was a commodity, rather than an abstract concept, attempting to measure this commodity using modern economics. He broke knowledge down into three categories: instrumental, intellectual and pastime knowledge. He also devised five types of knowledge: practical, intellectual, pastime, spiritual and unwanted.
  • Tacit Knowledge

    Source Michael Polanyi formed the concept of 'tacit knowledge', an amalgamation of embedded knowledge that cannot be spoken, but rather demonstrated.
  • Technologically Determinist

    Source Marshal McLuhan believed in the radical notion that technology shaped humanity, rather than the other way around. His other beliefs, such as that we were merely passively experiencing the media, changed over the course of his life, so that he came to the conclusion that it was not the message itself that was important, but how we recieved it. He is furthermore famous for the concept of 'The Tetrad'
  • The Knowledge Worker

    Source Peter Drucker argued that knowledge had become the world's key resource, regardless of borders or geography. He believed that in the future the largest working group would be what he called the 'Knowledge Workers'
  • An Information Age

    Source Daniel Bell coined the term 'Information Society', whereby we have moved from a producer of goods to a producer of knowledge, technology and information. Because of this, he has become arguably one of the best known sociologists of our time.
  • The Third Wave

    Source Alvin Toffler believed that we, as humans, have experienced three 'waves' of societies: An agricultural society beginning in 2000 B.C, an Industrial society beginning in 1750, and an Information society, beginning in 1950
  • Information Society

    Source Naisbitt and Aburdene, like others before them, proposed that we are shifting from an Industrial society to an Information society, using ten 'megatrends' to shape the Information Age.
  • Dynamic Programming

    Source In 1987, Apple created the HyperCard, a powerful tool that used dynamic processing and inspired the creation of both HTTTP and JavaScript
  • The Internet

    Source Created in 1991 by TIm Berners-Lee and other researchers, the internet grew from the use of hypertext networked over many computers to the powerful tool it is today in a matter of 20 years.
  • Community of Practice

    Source Jeane Lave and Etienne Wenger believed that knowledge can be formed spontaneously through communities that have common interests and goals, while innovation lies in the interaction of two or more such communities.
  • The Knowledge Spiral

    Source Nonaka and Takeuk believed that knowledge is created through a continuous cycle of four processes: externalization, internalization, combination and socialization.
  • Intellectual Capital

    Source Karl-Erik-Sveiby, in relation to companies, argued that the balance sheet was not effective in valueing the company, and that there was a big difference between the book evaluation and the actual market value
  • Twelve Themes of the New Economy

    Source Don Tapscott differentiated the 'new economy' from the old one with a set of twelve themes that can be found in the link above.
  • Velocity and Viscosity

    Source In the words of Davenport and Prusak: Velocity is the speed with which knowledge moves through an organisation, while Viscosity is the richness of the knowledge transferred