Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Instant information phenomenon

Easy availability of online sources of information and excessive reliance on them is akin to putting on "blinders". Here is an interesting excerpt from Hoover's Vision:
One of the great risks of the Internet Age is the fact that we can do our research with surgical precision. Online service providers offer customised services -- such as a newspaper personalized to cover only your hobbies, your sports, your stocks, your news. But how did we ever discover our hobbies, our sports, our stocks, and our interests, except by stumbling upon them? We did not know to look for them when we first found them. How much have we discovered by browsing an old-fashioned ink-on-paper newspaper and glimpsing a headline about some subject we had never heard of?
And that is exactly why an hour at a real honest-to-goodness bookstore is much more satisfying than an hour at your local neighbourhood chain store.

Point to ponder: What are search engines doing to this problem?

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