Thinking a bit …

May 8, 2007

“There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world’s record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.”

I think that I may have posted this quote from Vannevar Bush before … it describes the future user of hi Memex machine, which allows researchers to share their research.  The important thing is that it allows researchers to not only share collections of citations (like a bibliography), but also all of the connections between documents that form a trail.  The more I think about it, the more I am zeroing in on this quote as very important to thinking about libraries in the “2.0” world.  I’m starting to be convinced that we have spent an awful lot of time since the advent of the online catalog focusing on discreet answers to discreet questions … type in keywords, match strings.  Research, however, is about following trails through information and developing networks (or, I suppose, webs).  2.0 systems bring back the network and the trails, by allowing for ranking and tags, using history-enriched filtering, and building the wisdom of crowds into what appears to just be keyword searching.

Just thinking out loud ….


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