Re: Impact of information explosion on our profession

Subject: Re: Impact of information explosion on our profession
From: Kent Newton <KentN -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 21:42:00 PST

On Wednesday, March 20, 1996 2:10 PM, someone wrote:
>Just as the first cars were buggies with internal combustion engines,
>we're still producing manuals and other materials with linear
capabilities.

However you want to look at it, today's cars are still buggies with
internal combustion engines. Sure, the shape of the buggies have
changed, they now come in a variety of colors and styles, they have
front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, they are
manual and automatic, they have manual steering and power steering, they
have all sorts of nifty bells and whistles like FM Stereo/Cassette/CD and
air conditioning and climate control and adjustable seats, they have
safety devices like seat belts and shoulder restraints and air bags, they
come in compact two-person sports cars and large multi-person party vans.
But given all that, they are still basically the same as the originals:
they are automotive vehicles powered by internal combustion engines and
they get us from point A to point B. The first cars still perform the
same basic function as today's.

I think that is pretty much the same with our industry: we now have
variety of options with a lot of bells and whistles like hypertext and
web pages and electronic help files, but they are still basically the
same as manuals: in the end, they all get us from point A to point B.
The problem I see with trying to come up with new "non-linear paradigms"
for providing information is that, at the core, we are still limited by a
linear form of expression: language. Try as you might, you still have to
place one word after another after another
Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com


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