(Bloomberg View) -- Read a history that spans times ancient and modern, as I’ve been doing lately, and you encounter a striking shift in the late Middle Ages. Until that point, documentary information is scarce, and narratives must be pieced together from smatterings of written matter and archaeological evidence. Afterward, historians face a growing surfeit of information, and their challenge becomes deciding what to pay attention to.

The rise of the printing press, which Johannes Gutenberg kicked off around 1440, is the most obvious reason for the shift. Also important is the spread of literacy and literary production (aided by the invention of spectacles) that began a few centuries before Gutenberg built his press.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access