Amanda Montgomery || @acmontgomery

“Like Aristotle, Jefferson had created a great personal library, cataloged it, and then donated it as the foundation for a budding national library.  And just as Aristotle’s own library catalog, coupled with his writings on natural classification, would reverberate long after his passing, Jefferson exerted a similar influence on the intellectual underpinings of the United States of America.  He rarely receives the credit he deserves as a forefather of information science.” pg 164 ; Glut by Alex Wright

Thomas Jefferson ranks high – at least in the Top 10 – when it comes to industry leaders who I dearly admire.  We share a certain intimate appreciation for pursuing knowledge, answering to a higher calling which stands to benefit the greater good, and more importantly why it’s imperative to leave one’s ‘learning’ camp site better than they found it.

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That said – Alex Wright’s essay entitled ‘The Moose That Roared’ appropriately fits into the larger themes carried through his collective work all published in a compiled manuscript called Glut:Mastering Information through the Ages.  Wright argues that when given rabid curiosity, a 6,500+ library, and decaying Moose Skeleton– Jefferson’s efforts to find order amongst endless data significantly transcended what’s dubbed as a standard ‘thirst for knowledge’.  On a larger context, it’s logical to concur that the insatiable need to both consume and organize  data/information which students, professionals, and general society now all appear to harbor intrinsically relates directly back to Jefferson’s taxidermy years.

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It’s quite fortunate then that as Jefferson’s gluttonous hunger for expanding education and information systematically to the masses has now become our collective gluttonous nature — that technological advancements have and continue to surpass performance expectations.  Devices such as mobile phones, tablets/iPads, eReaders, etc all exist to quench a need that stems from the fact that endless amounts of information seep into our daily experiences and engage the human senses.

We’re overwhelmed by our inherited gluttony but instead of curbing our participation, it’s more natural to yield and face consequence.  By forgoing the option to limit how much data/information receives attention – the question then becomes a matter of how and with what tools/training does one manage to stay afloat amidst the boundless data sea we’ve deemed necessary?

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Exit the Doubting Thomas / Enter the Educational Institution; and it’s exemplary cast of characters which include but are not limited to the: SuperIntendent, the Principal, the Student, the Internet, the mobile phone, the computer, the tablet, software programs and so on.  Naturally, as pattern change occurs with regard to how individual  consumes data conversely means that knowledge institutions (i.e. school systems)  must also begin to administer new learning methods in order to stay course.

Moreover to achieve ongoing success with this endeavor, fans of Jefferson’s track record might insist that it’s paramount to place an intense emphasis on facets such as quality/credibility standards, dedication to research, and encouraging open perspective.  Pairing such focus alongside digital innovation stands to offer today’s student an omnipresent, culturally aware learning environment.

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