Information is Power: Everyday Metaphors for Information
Using cognitive metaphor theories, the paper examines how we understand and see information. The overview touches upon possible source domains, orientational metaphors related to information, metaphors used in information history terminology and the question of the universality of these metaphors. It comes to the conclusion that we treat information as a valuable thing kept in a tank (as an animal, liquid or object made up of several pieces) the possession of which gives the possessor power. Moreover, we typically imagine this thing as something that is in motion. Our everyday metaphors are also noticeable in scientific terminology because metaphor is an essential tool in human cognition and conceptualization. By comparing several languages different in terms of genealogy, typology and areal features (English, Finnish, Icelandic, Japanese, Latin, Polish, German, Italian, Russian, Turkish), the paper demonstrates that this perception is true for speakers of different languages and thus is most probably universal. The reason for this is that our knowledge is encyclopedic and is not separable from our knowledge about the world. The discussed metaphors build on the human body, human nature and our natural surroundings, all of which are always the same everywhere as far as their general characteristics are concerned – unlike social, economic or cultural conditions.
On the Micro- and Macrostructure of Pridianum-type Documents
The paper analyzes the data structure of pridianum-type documents that survived from the territory of the Roman Empire. From these strength reports, which were compiled annually – or twice a year in Egypt – to document the actual state of a given cohors as well as the changes since the last report, four are available in such condition that makes meaningful examination possible. Despite the fact that we do not have any contemporary sources about the reporting practices in the Roman army, by analyzing the surviving documents, we can discover such regularities that suggest that statistical data was recorded systematically. Even though the four documents came from four distinct regions of the empire, distant from each other, and the earliest was compiled almost one and a half centry before the latest, we can find clear-cut regularities in the macrostructure of the reports, from which we can draw further conclusions.
Information Management as Establishment. Dutch Navigational Knowledge about Japan, 1608–1641
In the paper, the author examines topics related to knowledge management in a historical context: the activities of the factory of the Dutch East India Company in Japan. The role of the level of hierarchy he focuses on in information management is far from well-known, and he plans to improve on this situation. The paper is generally a case study, primarily based on unpublished Dutch archival materials. However, it can be useful not only for researchers examining this very special segment of history as the historical data it presents can be useful for researchers focusing on general information-related issues as well. The author touches on several problems that can be interesting for information science. He shows how the general process of moving from the tacit dimension of knowledge to concrete, written forms took place. Besides, he details several information-related activities. Not only does he focus on the collection of data, but also on the methods of dissemination and usage of the collected information, and the connection between these dimensions and the organizational structure of the Company.
Bocskai’s Revolt and European Information Networks (News, Diplomacy and Political Propaganda, 1604–1606)
Bocskai's revolt was the first political event in Hungary in which public political propaganda was an essential activity, which was discussed often and in several articles in the early modern European press, and of which both posterity and historical research can get a picture mainly through broadly defined propaganda texts. On the one hand, the paper makes an attempt to outline the problems of information history that can be raised in relation to the revolt as well as its communication historical context, primarily the communication and propaganda challenge posed by the propaganda machine of the Habsburg court. On the other hand, it endeavors to show what answers Bocskai's revolt gave to this challenge, but not only by delineating information and communication historical connections and interpreting the texts along these lines, but by a thorough textological analysis necessitated by the uncertainty of the source base. Third, it gives an outlook on the European reception of the rebellion's propaganda documents. The authors do not undertake to reconstruct the whole text and information cycle, mainly because there are no archival sources available (these will hopefully turn up in further foreign research) and there are quite a few factors that are not clear yet, including the circumstances around the genesis of the texts, the channels of their dissemination as well as the relationship between the various texts and text variants. As a result, the analysis primarily endeavors to reconstruct the genesis of the texts, and it is only in the case of the Netherlands that it can provide a more detailed description of the texts and the reception of the political messages carried in them.
The Value and Functional Change of Printed Information in the Early Modern Period
In the early modern period, the quantity and quality of printed information got a boost, and not only the elite but also everyday people, considered as a receptive audience, too, were quick to learn how to use it. Those making a living from the “black art”, such as printers, punchcutters, publishers, schoolmasters and the intellectual elite, were themselves personally involved in teaching the masses how to handle the news, and reflected on the significance of printed newspapers, weeklies and pamphlets illustrated by engravings as well as the value of the conveyed information. The illustrated pamphlets helped interpret the quickly changing political situation with witty political allegories. By the beginning of the 17th century, it had become a requirement for the audience to recognize the interests and any manipulative intent behind the propaganda. The manifold and many-centered propaganda related to the anti-Ottoman war played an important part in the development of early modern international political publicity. During the 16th and 17th centuries, with the help of printed news, actual information was built on the tradition of Ottoman wars in Hungary, amassing a significant corpus of information about the political, military and economic importance of the Kingdom of Hungary. The manuscript municipal chronicles from Augsburg, Nuremberg and Regensburg from the 17th century prove that the educated city dwellers followed and collected published printed news. During the Thirty Years' War, printed political cartoons and pasquinades were inserted even in manuscript news collections. An anonymous diarist from Regensburg reported on the rivalry of representatives and the pro Ottoman war propaganda of the Imperial Diet that opened in 1663 in a competent manner and using printed materials.