Cognitive Surplus [book review]

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Erin Lawrimore, University Archivist (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: In his 2008 book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, Clay Shirky explored how the Internet empowered groups outside of traditional organizational structures. His 2010 book, Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators, expands that theme, expertly examining how and why individuals choose to join these technologicallyenabled groups and analyzing how these groups are transforming modern communications. Defining “cognitive surplus” as “the free time of the world’s educated citizenry as an aggregate” (9), Shirky uses examples from around the world. These include everything from a crowd-sourced service to track ethnic violence in Kenya to the LOLCats of, all in order to analyze the source of our cognitive surplus and the ways it can be harnessed effectively. In a world of participatory archives and a focus on developing new user groups, Shirky’s observations and recommendations are pertinent to archivists striving to grow communities locally and online.

Additional Information

Journal for the Society of North Carolina Archivists, 10(1), 57-61
Language: English
Date: 2012
book reviews, communications, communication technology, archives, collaboration

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