The flood of information brought to us by advancing techlogy is often accompanied by a distressing sense of information overload, yet this experience is t unique to modern times. In fact, says Ann M. Blair in this intriguing book, the invention of the printing press and the ensuing abundance of books provoked sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European scholars to register complaints very similar to our own. Blair examines methods of information management in ancient and medieval Europe as well as the Islamic world and China, then focuses particular attention on the organization, composition, and reception of Latin reference books in print in early modern Europe. She explores in detail the sophisticated and sometimes idiosyncratic techniques that scholars and readers developed in an era of new techlogy and exploding information.
Ann M. Blair is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, MA.