Literature/2005/Lesk

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O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z &

Lesk, Michael (2005). Digital Searching to Digital Reading. Presentation at LITA session at American Library Association conference, Chicago, 2005.

Excerpts[edit]

Everything Digital

"every child can stretch a hand across a keyboard and reach every book ever written, every painting ever painted, every symphony ever composed." -- Bill Clinton's State of the Union message, January 1998.

Similarly: H. G. Wells, World Brain, "There is no practical obstacle whatever now to the creation of an efficient index to all human knowledge, ideas and achievements, to the creation, that is, of a complete planetary memory for all mankind."

"If the human race has produced since the invention of movable type a total record, in the form of magazines, newspapers, books, tracts, advertising blurbs, correspondence, having a volume corresponding to a billion books, the whole affair, assembled and compressed, could be lugged off in a moving van." -- Vannevar Bush, As We May Think.

Some think online reading is bad.

COMMENTARY Google and God's Mind
The problem is, information isn't knowledge.

(by Michael Gorman, president-elect of the American Library Association).

"The nub of the matter lies in the distinction between information (data, facts, images, quotes and brief texts that can be used out of context) and recorded knowledge (the cumulative exposition found in scholarly and literary texts and in popular nonfiction).
When it comes to information, a snippet from Page 142 might be useful. When it comes to recorded knowledge, a snippet from Page 142 must be understood in the light of pages 1 through 141 or the text was not worth writing and publishing in the first place."

From the Los Angeles Times.... (December 17, 2004)

Shneiderman & Marchionini 1988

"Today's electronic retrieval systems . . . focus on coding, indexing, and cross-referencing (organization for retrieval) rather than on meaning, readability, and assimilation (organization for understanding)."

This was before the Web, but it was part of an argument for hypertext (specifically Hyperties).

Shneiderman has always argued for context, for systems that help people understand where they are in a task.

Conclusion

Large collections are coming (whether they will help quality is doubtful, but they will contain a lot of new information).

We need an interface oriented towards large books.
We still haven't explored the selection of materials in context.
We also need ways of judging bias, genre, . . .

And mostly we need to measure utility.

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http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search

Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."