Oct. 2012 meeting

“From Gutenberg to Google : Too much Information?” 

 Slane History & Archaeology  society held a very interesting Oct. meeting in the Conyngham Arms hotel. The meeting centred on a talk by Dr Helen Cooney from the School of English TCD, entitled ‘From Gutenberg to Google’: Too much Information ?’

Dr Cooney traced  a series of parallels between the response of writers and readers in the face of the huge increase in information, which flowed from the invention of printing in 15th Century Europe,on the one hand, and the advent of the world-wide-web, in our own time. 

Quotations from the humanist Erasmus and the reformer Calvin revealed a huge anxiety about ‘information overload’ of just the kind we hear expressed to day. However Dr Cooney went on to reveal that such expressions of there being ‘too much to know’ are also to be found in the Old Testament,in ancient Greece and Rome and even in 12th and 16th century China.

The talk ended with reference to literary matters, most especially the competing views of contemporary authors about the merits and demerits of the ‘real ‘ book and the e-book – something which had a forerunner in the rather snobbish response of the 16th century litterati, some of whom would not allow a mass-produced printed book to cross their threshold. 

A vote of thanks was proposed by vice-chairperson, Martina Corrigan to Dr Cooney. A lively discussion took place over refreshments.