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ERIC Number: EJ875887
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0024-2519
The Gnosis of Media
Jochum, Uwe
Library Quarterly, v74 n1 p21-41 Jan 2004
Much contemporary library thinking and planning hinges on the belief that the true telos (or mission) of libraries is to merge into the new electronic environment, usually referred to metonymically as "the Internet." In this article, I argue that those who propagate the Internet as the coming information paradise, subsuming and superseding libraries, are mistaken and that the claims they advance are fundamentally flawed. Yet these flaws are interesting ones, with a tradition stretching back almost two thousand years. Indeed, belief in the Internet and the digital library as the information paradise of the future can be traced through such proponents and antecedents as Marshall McLuhan and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to the ideological tradition of gnosticism. That this philosophical-theological pedigree has gone unnoticed to date results from the antihistoricism of the Internet dogma's contemporary adherents--also a common property of all gnostics. Only by exposing the gnostic background of much modern media theory can the true role of libraries again become apparent, and that is to be what libraries have always been, namely, a body of memory.
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-188; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A