Schiller, Dan. How to Think about Information. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007. 267p. $35 (ISBN 0252031326). LC 2006-011275

David Henige
2007 College and Research Libraries  
Schiller, Dan. How to Think about In- formation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007. 267p. $35 (ISBN 0252031326). LC 2006-011275. It would be almost impossible to imagine any book title whose fulfi llment could possibly be more different than just twenty years ago. The production, array, and consumption of information right now are enormously more complicated and confusing than they were then, and no one knows exactly in which directions these will go in the near and more distant
more » ... Twenty years ago, "information" was more exiguous and certainly harder to come by, and often more effort was put into finding information than in digesting it. In contrast, today the problems begin with determining in which of numerous formats one wishes to have information brought to his or her attention. Even so, digesting is still an issue, and the question is: does this encourage more or less careful interpretation of it? As befits a member of the School of Library and Information Science and the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois, Dan Schiller operates at a rarefied level and does not really address the kinds of contexts with which librarians must grapple on a daily basis ("libraries" barely makes the index). Rather, he is concerned with, as he puts it, "information as a commodity." Indeed, Schiller expresses his focus almost at once: "[h]ow, when and why does information become economically valuable?" In these circumstances, it is surprising that he fails to discuss one information-as-commodity issue of supreme consequence to libraries-the increasingly high costs of information (would that it were also always knowledge!) to both libraries and individuals. Instead, the present work is aimed at technocrats, macroeconomists, and others who are interested in developing abstracted notions of information. Working librarians, faced with an overwhelming tidal wave of both information and ways to gain access to it, will probably not fi nd it
doi:10.5860/crl.68.4.367 fatcat:mbpdyo7gtbamfjcigu2clfsgky