Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority (Contributions in Librarianship and Information Science)

Wilson, Patrick

This is an immensely readable, articulate work on `social epistemology,' on how one acquires secondhand knowledge (not gained by experience but told to us) by an appeal to cognitive authorities. The author first analyzes cognitive authority as it is generated in indiviudals, its degrees and spheres, and ambiguous relation to experitse. His next concern is the knowledge industry.... His final concern is with the thorny issue of quality control in information retrieval. Of the available texts, which is the authoritative one? ... The author is a stimulating, erudite iconoclast. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in the quality of information, its illusion, elusiveness, and communication, in the so-called information society. On the basis of the plausibility and breadth of resources, it is a cognitive authority on cognitive authority. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.

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