Wright, Alex 1966- (Alex Grant Wright)

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Wright, Alex 1966- (Alex Grant Wright)

PERSONAL:

Born August 22, 1966. Education: Studied at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley; Brown University, B.A.; Simmons College, M.S.

ADDRESSES:

Home—San Francisco, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and information architect.

WRITINGS:

Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages, Joseph Henry Press (Washington, DC), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including Christian Science Monitor, Believer, Harvard Magazine, Utne Reader, Yankee, Think, Boxes and Arrows, New Architect, WebTechniques, Boston Business, Design Times, Library Journal, and Salon.com.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alex Wright is a writer and information architect. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in English and American literature from Brown University and a master of science degree in library and information science from Simmons College, in addition to his studies at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. As an information architect, Wright has worked with such clients as International Business Machines (IBM), Harvard University, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, the Internet Archive, California Digital Library, and the Long Now Foundation. As a writer, he has contributed articles to a number of periodicals, including the Christian Science Monitor, Believer, Harvard Magazine, Utne Reader, Yankee, Think, Boxes and Arrows, New Architect, WebTechniques, Boston Business, Design Times, Library Journal, and Salon.com.

Wright published his first book, Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages, in 2007. The book suggests that the common belief that we are in the midst of an information age is a redundant point. Wright believes, in fact, that humans, by nature, much like certain species of fish and colony insects, are driven to organize and manage information. He gives a history of how humans have organized information throughout modern, ancient, and prehistoric history. When asked about how he got the idea for writing this book on the International Association of Privacy Professionals Web site, Wright explained: "When I started writing the book, I originally set out to write a history of computing, with maybe a cursory nod to the history of books and libraries. But as I started doing my research, I realized there was a much bigger story at work here, and that to answer the question of why and how people share information, we need to look further back than our traditional historical narrative of the past two-three thousand years. I became fascinated by the strategies that pre-literate societies used to organize information."

A contributor to the Science A-Go-Go Web site observed that Wright has many "valuable insights" to share with the average reader. The same contributor noted that "Glut is a fascinating historical, scientific, and anthropological study of our relationship with the bits and bytes of information that surround us." A contributor to Publishers Weekly commented that "Wright delivers a fascinating tour of the many ways that humans have collected, organized, and shared information" for thousands of years, proving his assertion that the information age began much earlier than the invention of computers. A contributor to the Futurist described the conclusion of the book as "surprising," adding that the author "weaves an intriguing narrative" throughout the book. Writing in the Wilson Quarterly, Patrick Tucker commented that "Wright the information architect is less interesting than Wright the historian," adding that "he tends to oversimplify in order to impose his universal organizing theory on the entirety of human history." Tucker concluded, however, that Wright's "book does succeed beautifully as a museum in which various artifacts reveal how humankind has used wit, reason, and imagination to store and compute data."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Futurist, January 1, 2008, review of Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages, p. 60.

Nature, July 26, 2007, Ann Blair, review of Glut, p. 412.

New Scientist, July 28, 2007, Kate Douglas, review of Glut, p. 52.

Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of Glut, p. 37.

Science Books & Films, July 1, 2007, John J. Meier, review of Glut, p. 153.

Science News, July 14, 2007, review of Glut, p. 31.

Wilson Quarterly, summer, 2007, Patrick Tucker, review of Glut.

ONLINE

Alex Wright Home Page,http://www.alexwright.org (February 2, 2008), author biography.

Argus Center for Information Architecture Web site,http://argus-acia.com/ (February 2, 2008), Lou Rosenfeld, author interview.

International Association of Privacy Professionals Web site,http://www.privacyassociation.org/ (February 2, 2008), author interview.

Powell's.com,http://www.powells.com/ (February 2, 2008), author interview.

Science A-Go-Go,http://www.scienceagogo.com/ (June 1, 2007), review of Glut.

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Wright, Alex 1966- (Alex Grant Wright)

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