Re: Impact of information explosion on our profession

Subject: Re: Impact of information explosion on our profession
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 14:10:56 -0600


You're right, Chet. We've been staggering toward that future for decades
now. Just as the first cars were buggies with internal combustion engines,
we're still producing manuals and other materials with linear capabilities.

> Of course, SGML comes to mind as the sort of thing you're talking about, but
> I sense that you're looking deeper than a tool. Rather, you're searching for
> a (buzzword alert!) paradigm that shifts us from DTP just as surely as
> aerodynamics changed the shape of the car and ergonomics changed the insides
> of it.

Yes, although I don't see anyway that the paradigm shift can happen without a
change in the tools. SGML is of course on the forefront of my mind as well, but
not as an end in itself. It is just that I don't see anyway this sort of change
can be accomplished without structured data underneath the hood.

> Getting the data
> into the thing isn't the problem. It's finding it and getting it back out
> and then incorporating it in the right spot.

That's definitely one of the problems, although I think that versioning of
information is possible. More possible, in fact, with a system that manages the
version control than without. However, as you point out, if a writer is going
to reuse a piece of information then:

... s/he has to stop and think that it might already exist
... s/he has to look for it
... s/he has to distinguish the **right** information from **similar**
information -- probably a bigger problem with graphics than with text, and then
... s/he has to use and be able to make any local modifications required for
the current context.

Item 1 in that list alone is enough to give anybody headaches.

> Or is this just another example of the 2-D thinking you're seeing as the old
> way of doing things?

No, its a practical example of the practical kinds of problems we have to
surface and think.

> Is there a way to incorporate chaos into this to
> simplify matchups? We've been using the brute force method for years,

Hmm, now **that's** an interesting idea. Wonder how that could be done. In
another posting, I described how BookManager READ/VM will take any word you put
the cursor on and compare it to certain document structures (index entries,
glossary terms) looking for a match. If it finds any, it pops them up as
implicit hypertext links. Hypertext linking without the links. You are right;
the brute force method works only so far and that's exactly the approach that
is reaching the limits. I'll have to think about that.

Thanks for provoking some thought.



Chet Ensign
Logical Design Solutions
571 Central Avenue
Murray Hill, NJ 07974 censign -at- lds -dot- com [email]
908-771-9221 [Phone] 908-771-0430 [FAX]

Previous by Author: Impact of information explosion on our profession (Was: on custom-built documents & feature databases...)
Next by Author: Re: SGML and features database
Previous by Thread: Re: Impact of information explosion on our profession
Next by Thread: Impact of information explosion on our profession

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads