I introduce `The Periodic Table of Expertises\' (Collins and Evans 2007). The classification is driven by the idea of tacit knowledge. Its most important division is between the expertise of those who have acquired tacit knowledge pertaining to a specialism as a result of social interaction with the relevant specialist community and those who use only `ubiquitous tacit knowledge\' to acquire specialist `information\' through their reading. I ask whether electronic communication blurs this dividing line; it does enable a huge increase in access to information. I conclude that electronic communication makes no profound difference but I try to explain why it might be thought to change things. Electronic communication can be understood only if we also understand the prior social relationships of those using electronic media.


Talk Number PIRSA:08090033
Speaker Profile Harry Collins