Infinite Musings

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it. Edward R. Murrow

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wiki-Wow

At the risk of appearing to have emerged from a cave - I find myself moved to reflectively blog on Wiki. Wiki-wow-wow. Speaking English doesn't always guarantee I'll understand an acronym, jargon filled document written in English. So I must pause and record how the Wikipedia has made me stop and gap in wonder at how the digitial universe really has changed how I can find information and glean new knowledge. For close to six years I have not had internet access at work (security reasons) and didn't have a computer at home. As a result, on many levels, I find myself feeling a little like Rip van Winkle. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_Van_Winkle). In this week's readings for Digital History I was presented with such "everybody reading this should know what this is" acronyms as CILIP, JISC, ICT, OPAC and OCLC, to name those that immediately spring to mind. I made a note to follow-up and check what these terms meant. Each had an entry in Wikipedia. Amazing -- at least to me. The idea of what exactly a "single box search" could mean in practice became clearer to me. I didn't need to get up from my computer. Everything was just a click away. Perhaps if I had to hunt further afield I wouldn't have had the inclination (wait, I shouldn't admit that) or the time to check what the terms above meant. With the Wikipedia I was able to further enhance my understanding of the readings and the concepts being presented through quick access to background information about some of the institutions involved. But what really made Wiki wow for me, because technology alone only gets me so far, is that completely by seredipity and as a result of this week's Digital History readings I discovered Frederick G. Kilgour. If you don't know who he is he is worth discovering (http://scanblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/frederick-g-kilgour-1914-2006.html). At a ripe old age he recently passed away but what a legacy he left behind. What foresight, vision and energy. Somebody that for me brought alive some of this week's concepts regarding the Infinite Archive and the importance of far-sighted, reflective individuals.

1 Comments:

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Adam Marcotte said...

I too found some of the readings a little tediuous because of the use of acronyms that I was not familiar with. At first, it was a little fun to try to come up with my own meaning, and then check to see the actual. Suffice it to say, I had some very interesting results!

The article about Kilgour was truly fascinating. I am tempted to take a look at some of his work, just to try to figure out what motivated him to think of networking libraries in that way. You are certainly on the spot when you describe him as "ahead of his time"!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home