Anarchist in the Library, Siva Vaidhyanathan

I just finished Anarchist in the Library, by Siva Vaidhyanathan. I probably wasn’t the right target for this book- too many of the arguments and discussions were pretty old hat to me.  It did cover a much broader range than the average info-policy book, but it didn’t seem to tie them all that coherently together, unfortunately. That said, the book did attempt to provide an interesting analytical framework- to grotesquely over-simplify, the balance between anarchy and oligarchy. It is a reasonable way of looking at the world- certainly it offers the possibility of tying together into a single narrative such things as the NSA’s Total Information Awareness, slashdot trolls, and Big Entertainment’s DRM. As a result, overall, I’m glad I read the book- this might be a useful mental tool. But if you read the other usual suspects in info-policy, don’t buy the book- just find a copy and read the intro and the final chapter. The rest will fall into place without reading the intervening chapters. :)

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