Nowadays collecting information is rather easy because of Internet and search machines like Google. Twenty years ago most information you could probably find in libraries. For the younger generation, a traditional library is building with an organized collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing (source: wikipedia). Most information was stored on paper like of example in books. You could look for the right book in databases in computers (not connected to the Internet as there was no wide accessible Internet). Also the search machine to find the information was far from good and not comparable with present search machines.
In other words it was time consuming to find the information you were looking for because the information was geographical seperated.
I expect (but I didn’t do any research) that less information was consumed before the Internet era.
But to make knowledge from information you need to interpret and connect the information in the right way. Based on interpreted information knowledge is created to make decisions.
So you can say Internet really improves to collect information but knowledge to make decisions is mainly done by people.
In the future maybe also knowledge will be less needed. Think for example about the self driving a car. Within a few years you will not need the knowledge to drive a car as the information will be interpreted by connected computers. So also our knowledge will be partly replaced.
More information about self driving cars you can read in my blogpost: Trends 2014: Problems And Solutions.