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Google and our knowledge

October 31st, 2010 by Graham Attwell
This is an interesting article in the Guardian newspaper. Although the central thrust of the article is the domination of advertising on the internet, the other point the author makes is the social, cultural and political consequences of how we organise knowledge. there has been far too little discussion around this.
clipped from www.guardian.co.uk

There is no system for organising knowledge that does not carry with it social, political and cultural consequences. Nor is an entirely unbiased organising principle possible. The trouble is that too few people realise this today. We’ve grown complacent as researchers; lazy as thinkers. We place too much trust in one company, a corporate advertising agency, and a single way of organising knowledge, automated keyword indexing.

The danger of allowing an advertising company to control the index of human knowledge is too obvious to ignore. The universal index is the shared heritage of humanity. It ought to be owned by us all. No corporation or nation has the right to privatise the index, commercialise the index, censor what they do not like or auction search ranking to the highest bidder. We have public libraries. We need a public search engine.

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