David Weinberger

The idea of metadata used to be easy. It was a type of shadow object that trailed the "real" object of which it was the metadata. Getting right which information to put into that shadow object wasn't easy, but the concept itself was clean, clear and usually rectangular. Posted July 03, 2015

The term "technodeterminism," like "utopian" or "wild-eyed socialist," is rarely used by the people to refer to themselves. But I'm willing to accept the characterization … so long as I then get to claim a moderate form of it. Posted May 28, 2015

If you want to know what a particular pattern will be after a hundred iterations, you'll have to do the hundred iterations. You can use a computer to do this and it will spit out the answer, but it too has to step through the algorithm a hundred times. Posted April 28, 2015

Sometimes these days when we talk about "going meta" about a topic, we mean what we used to call "being reflective" about it. Both ways of talking imply the value of interrupting the normal course of thought and taking a step back. Posted March 31, 2015

It can take a while to realize that Inside.com is a news aggregator without headlines. It turns out that headlines were yet another bad bad choice imposed on us by the limitations of paper. Posted March 01, 2015

Airlines have strong incentives to make normal travel hell. That's the argument Tim Wu makes in a post on The New Yorker site Dec 26 ("Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer," .) He's right not only about airlines but also about the Internet, and about knowledge. Posted January 30, 2015

"Meta" sounds like you're going up, but in fact it means going down: looking underneath beliefs and the evidence for those beliefs to see the assumed context, values and processes that make them seem credible. That's why it's good to go meta. In fact, the pursuit of truth—on or off the Net—almost always leads to the meta. Posted December 31, 2014

The example I know best is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. It's a university research center, so you'd assume it's very thinky. And it is. But from its inception, it's had a commitment not only to research but also to building software. For a university research center, that's just weird. But, it turns out, wonderful. Posted October 29, 2014

The MVP process strikes us as attractive not only because bits make it feasible, but also because we've come to believe that a technology that isn't changing every six months is failing. Yet, in the almost 20 years it took Ford to introduce a new model, 15 million Model T's had been sold. And during that entire stretch, never once did Henry Ford put on a black turtleneck and tease an audience with what would be new next month. Posted September 29, 2014

But many of us believe—I do—that we have a cultural and societal interest in expanding our horizons. A librarian is likely to help us to that end. Posted September 01, 2014

I understand why the top European court has insisted that Google remove links upon request. We'd all like some things on the Web to be forgotten. There are a few things I myself wouldn't mind having removed.... Posted July 03, 2014

If you use the word "content" to talk about stuff on the Web, my friend Doc Searls is likely to give you a stiff talking-to. People don't write content. They write articles, poems, songs, etc. Posted May 28, 2014

For being over your head to work, you have to be just enough over your head. Too far and you can't understand enough of what people are saying to make sense of it. Posted April 29, 2014

Twice in the past two weeks I've felt compelled to say that I think books have no future.... Posted March 31, 2014

Expertise now extends beyond the individual experts. It occurs within networks of conversation. Networked expertise enables us to extend knowledge far beyond the brains and books of individuals.... Posted March 01, 2014

Tags work, but imperfectly, which is how anything that works works. Posted January 31, 2014

We're now seeing social media in which thousands may participate, and millions may audit with the option of jumping in. Posted December 31, 2013

Let me put this more bluntly: If the comments on your site's content are broken, it's your fault... Posted October 29, 2013

The history of technology is not just the history of technology. It takes more than technology to explain technology. Posted September 29, 2013

The Net hides our physical being. Online all we get are some words or images. Worse, frequently those words and images have no context beyond themselves. When you are with someone in physical space, you cannot avoid the fact that the person is a complete being who is literally coming from somewhere and will be going somewhere else. Posted September 01, 2013

The extent to which businesses protect their data assets is the extent to which business is limiting its own intelligence. Posted July 05, 2013

"...a technodeterminist—someone who believes that the Internet has its effects independent of our action and behavior. " Posted May 28, 2013

"We quote phrases and the like because we value them, whereas the name of the author almost always has no value to us." Posted April 29, 2013

If we take understanding as a tool used for a purpose, it becomes a wildly inefficient tool if we have to go back to first principles in order to understand anything. Posted March 31, 2013

"But knowledge isn't a big pile of facts..." Posted March 01, 2013

"We're discovering the power of iteration at scale—many hands making many small tweaks can accomplish knowledge tasks that the old methodology would never even have attempted..." Posted January 31, 2013

Knowledge is itself a sort of platform. It has no value by itself. It has tremendous value when put to use. Knowledge is a platform for decisions, for innovation and for community. Posted December 31, 2012

The problem is that knowledge often outpaces understanding. In the Age of the Net, if we want our knowledge to get very very big, knowledge is going to blow far past our understanding, and we aren't going to be able to afford to wait around for understanding to catch up. Posted October 30, 2012

"These experts within your business show all the signs of scholarship, except that scholarly papers are not their ultimate output..." Posted September 29, 2012

Attempts to permanently fix meanings to things, and attempts to identify knowledge as if it were valuable free of your context and projects, are misguided. Posted September 01, 2012

Usually when you hear someone use the word "interoperability," you should prepare to be pulled into a discussion about highly technical issues about the protocols by which electronic systems communicate, or, if you're very lucky, about the way in which data can be formatted for use across multiple systems... Posted July 05, 2012

Knowledge is serious business. People can spend their lives tweezing apart tiny micro-organisms or living in swamps swatting away mosquitoes and venom-dipped snakes in order to uncover a single fact. Few serious knowledge workers are in it for the money. Their sacrifices are real and are made in every aspect of human life: the social, economic, social, domestic. And not infrequently the consequences can save or fail to save lives. Posted May 28, 2012

Some of the data in these clouds is going to turn out to be inaccurate, but with so much of it openly available, and with the ability to link up data sets, the inaccuracies turn into the equivalent of rounding errors... Posted April 29, 2012

Not all things that claim to be facts are facts. Some statements about the world are false. What's true and false is not up to us. Facts matter. Posted March 31, 2012

If you want to see the future - and who doesn't? - the place to begin your search is now. If you want to see the future of education and knowledge, take a look at how software developers learn. Posted March 01, 2012

I don't make predictions except when they're already true. So, here's one: The concept of knowledge is on its way out. Posted February 01, 2012

The rise of the digital is changing just about everything about curation, mainly for the better but not entirely... Posted January 01, 2012

Posted October 29, 2011

The Net does not get framed so much as frames everything else. Posted September 29, 2011

Posted September 01, 2011

Posted July 05, 2011

At a high enough level of abstraction, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a great idea. But, then, most things are. The question is whether it will be able to go from abstract to concrete... Posted May 28, 2011

The real question isn't whether the Internet taken by itself forces certain effects on us, but whether the Internet (plus we users) has determinative effects... Posted May 01, 2011

I thought I loved the Cloud. I thought I was ready for the Cloud. I thought I could handle the Cloud. Then I got a Google notebook. And now I'm not so sure...Google sent out the notebooks so we could see an early version of its Chrome operating system in action... Posted April 01, 2011

The Internet optimists—like me—early on thought that the open, easy connectivity the Net provided would affirm some beliefs about the basic social nature of humans... Posted March 01, 2011

Is the Net really different from what came before? I'm going to say yes. The question is why... Posted February 01, 2011

Posted January 01, 2011

Posted October 29, 2010

Posted September 29, 2010

We have a very clear idea of what knowledge looks like in this culture, especially at its high end. At its low end, the picture gets fuzzy... Posted September 01, 2010
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