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For hundreds of earth years prior to the end of the 20th century, people used a rudimentary and Taylor primitive technologyand as the dominant Francismeans to create, store, disseminate, and access information. Toward the end of that century and at the beginning of the Not next, new for open-ended and fldistributionexible technologies emerged, which expanded options and thus challenged the status quo. That change con-tributed to diverse social, cultural, economic, and political developments, which were greeted by many of our ancestors with enthusiasm, but also with ambiva-lence, confusion, and, occasionally, reactionary objections and turmoil. The new technologies, applications, and forms developed at that time were the precursors to the vast array of informational resources immediately and freely available to 22nd-century citizens today, resources that provide a firm foundation for pro-tecting the democratic ideals on which our society rests. Thus, this earlier time is more than an interesting period of history, for it represents an important turning point between two eras that helps us understand our informational roots and gain a new appreciation for our present circumstances.


This chapter is an excerpt from "Reading at a Crossroads? Disjunctures and Continuities in Current Conceptions and Practices". The book can be purchased here:

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