Sunday, October 19, 2003

On Blogs and Information Overhead

If I would pan a camera around my home study you would see, bookcase crammed with books and the floor stacked with heaps of books and notes. Some of these heaps relate to the two courses I teach and the one I am proposing, others relate to alife and AI and others relate to my work at AT&T Labs. My browser bookmarks could be divided in a similar fashion as could my NetNewsWire Blog index. (This ignores my non-professional reading list including Pattern Recognition - Gibson and Canticle for Leibowitz - Dennett.) Similar heaps can be found in my office at AT&T Labs. And then there are the enumerable unread or partially read email messages and my excursions into netnews.

The point I am making in this enumeration of my local mind clutter is that information overload not only still exists but also that additional venues (blogs, email, web) have multiplied it! So, given that, why I am I contributing to this overload by adding my own blog.

My defense is that blogs, especially topical ones like this, are the equivalent of textual expert systems and are an attempt to reduce the information overload rather than contribute to it. They provide for self selected subgroups that compile and synthesize information. And because they are mostly pure text, the message and the effort is not lost in the medium unlike many web sites which become increasingly involved in their media and design excursions.

Hopefully this blog will fulfill that purpose especially for myself and past and present students.

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