There are six parts:
Introduction An overview of why this work was undertaken and a brief introduction to the theoretical thinking behind the work.
Part I – Information in Prehistory relies on archaeology and ethnographic analogy to suggest how information worked in pre-literate cultures.
Part II – Writing – From Agriculture to Rome will look at the evolution of symbol systems in early agricultural settings and how they led to writing. Writing was a necessity for the rulers of city-states. Writing arose along with slavery, the marginalization of women, and war.
Part III – One Step Back Two Steps Forward? – Losing information Roman rulers had to deal with information overload – a problem that eventually made it impossible to for them to administer the Empire and caused the fall of Rome. Surprisingly, the collapse of Rome created the information freedom that led to the wealth of the West.
Part IV – The Printing Press and the Birth of the Modern Age. We owe capitalism to the printing press. This information revolution gives us a way to think about all other information revolutions. This part contains an informal model of how information revolutions work. It also examines the impact of this information revolution on women, and children, and contrasts Europe with China and Islam.
Part V – The Industrial World As new information technologies were invented and adopted, the notion of the nation-state gained prominence and information was used to make Germans, Italians and Englishmen out of peasants and aristocrats.
The electric information revolution also contributed to the Civil was and shifted the dominance of the Western world shifted from London to New York.
Part VI – The Digital World – Where to Now? What our exploration of information revolutions can tell us about today’s information revolution and how it can help us to work for a better future.
What are the implications of this type of “long view”