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The Laws of CoolKnowledge Work and the Culture of Information$
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Alan Liu

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226486987

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226487007.001.0001

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The Ethos of Information

The Ethos of Information

Chapter:
(p.181) Chapter 5 The Ethos of Information
Source:
The Laws of Cool
Author(s):

Alan Liu

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226487007.003.0009

This chapter presents the results of a survey of “cool” and related terms on the World Wide Web using major search engines, conducted on July 6–7, 1998. There is clearly much more cool on the web in the form of self-declared cool pages, references to other cool pages, and general appreciation of things cool than might be expected for a word whose usage is non-functional. Second, the raw totals understate the case considerably because cool collects disproportionately in those parts of web pages that have premium value: in the encoded page title, the links on the page, and frequently even the URL or domain name. Third, cool exploits its position close to the bone of networked information to express information culture's awareness of itself. These results show that cool is an ethos or “character” of information—a way or manner of living in the world of information.

Keywords:   cool, web pages, networked information, information culture, ethos, World Wide Web

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