"The filing cabinet contributed to the rise of a popular nontechnical understanding of information as something discrete and specific. Critically, it illustrates the moment in which information gained an identity separate from knowledge, an instrumental identity critical to its accessibility. In its separation from knowledge, information was granted authority based on a set of ideas and practices that limited interpretation; in contrast, a subject, someone who 'knows' underwrites the authority of knowledge. In turn this moment in the genealogy of information is tied to broader social and economic forces that made efficiency — 'saving time' — one of the defining problems of modern life. In this historical period, filing technology provided a conceptual gateway for understanding information as a thing that could be standardized, atomized, and stripped of context — information as a universal and impersonal quantity. While this conception did not begin or end with the filing cabinet, the file became a common way of making this information comprehensible, as it continues to do in the present with the information and data encountered through digital technology."