The Growing Importance Of Librarians

Oh yes, the librarians. They are pretty important nowadays.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

They hand out library cards,
they whisper "Shhhhhh!" at you for being so loud in their librarys,
and sometimes they forbid you to borrow books "just for fun."

I'm kidding. What I mean is that we're depending more
and more on librarian-like skills.

And What does a librarian do, exactly?

They organize information.


As you might already experience, We're getting bombard by a huge amount of information everyday. I felt that when I filled up 120 GB harddisk. I felt it again when I realized I hadn't read 6 books that I bought 3 month ago.

The problem now is not how to get enough information,
but how to find the relevant ones.

And that comes from a good organization of information.

For example, Suppose you want to find out about "buying adult diaper".

You might try the following :



Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

T.V. - You sit for hours, waiting for commercials about adult diaper. There may be 2 or 3 times a day. The information is incomplete and also exaggerated for advertising purpose.


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Yellow Pages - You try to find companys that sell adult diaper. The options are: search by name (alphabetical order) or by group ( like "car" or "insurance" ) . I'm not sure if they have a group called "adult diaper."




Google - You type "Buying adult diaper" in the search box.
This is the results.



These, for me, is like a way of organizing information, a library of sorts. There are T.V. library, Yellow Pages library, and Google library.

As you can see, T.V. is the worst of all three, mainly because its constantly pushes irrelevant information to us. you can't tell it what you want to watch, it tells you. ( although the situation has improved since TiVo came out.)

Yellow pages is better, but searching is difficult and unnatural, as there are only 2 ways of searching: name and group.

Google is much better, and is the best of all three.
By just typing the words in,
it finds the buyers directory, an article about the industry,
and a buying guide.

The links is all in the first page. Notice that it filters out about 84,290 of 84,300 links.



You may argue that this is not examples of ways of organizing information,
it's ways of searching. But, you see, it is because
a particular way of organizing information (such as by alphabetical list),
that enables a particular way of searching (by alphabetical order.)


Well, this is it, for now.
On my next article, I'm going to talk about how human organize information, why I hate folders, and how google is going to be the biggest information company in the world.


( This wraps up my first "serious" article. Please comment so I know how I can improve it or maybe why you disagree with me. Feedbacks is important! )

2 comments:

    I like your writing.
    Looking forward to read your next article.

    It's great. You can pull the gist of 2 stories even it's not exactly clear. Moreover, you will go on your story by using the past 2 structures.
    Looking forward to reading your essay very soon.