Memex to Hypertext

September 22, 2009

Learned something new in class today, that happens a lot! But anyways, today we have been discussing the differences between the internet, world wide web and internet 2 (yes, there are differences). Then, we got to talking about hypertext and its history. Everyone who has ever used the world wide web has seen hypertext, even if they didn’t realize it. Its everywhere!

Click here!

I find hypertext to be very useful. Its nice to be able to find other pages that are associated with the topic that I am studying. Its free information without a new search.

The memex is a precursor to hypertext. It was formulated around 1945, which is a long time ago!

Wikipedia (thanks Web 2.0) has a good description of what a memex is. A brief description would show a desk with two monitors, a stylus, a joystick and a slot on the right. A print document goes into the slot and is scanned onto microfilm. Then, it can be pulled up on a monitor. A person could use the stylus to link documents together (based on topic etc) and the links would show up every time either document was accessed after that.

The memex was theoretical, clunky and impractical at that time. Its just interesting to think that the idea of hypertext has been around for so long!

I find it amazing that someone can be so forward thinking. He (Vannevar Bush) created a concept in such detail that the technology of the time did not support it.

That type of forward thinking made me wonder what my generation has come up with, that will be realistic in a later time.

STAR WARS! Well, it came around a bit later, in 1977. Not quite my generation. Or, Star Trek from 1966.

Still, the idea of spaceships… or …teleportation sounds nice. At least it would save some gas money. Perhaps that is the technology we should be researching, instead of all of these electric cars and biofuels.

This question took me by surprise. Who would really consider false information useful? False information leads people astray, it can steer them in the wrong direction if they get two different views to answer the same question.

The logical side in me asks, what good would information be if it were false? I really had to think about this question.

Then, I thought of a couple of senarios where false information was useful.

First, consider a child, the child seems nervous and panics when you attempt to go in her room. She says “Don’t go in, there’s nothing in there”. The statement (information) is false, it is obvious by her reactions, but it did provide something meaningful to you. You learn that you SHOULD indeed go into the room, because something is going on that you need to know about. In this example, it is necessary to understand in advance that the information is false.

Second, lets return to my “cop show” example from last entry. Lets say, our cop has a witness in the interview room. The witness answers questions about a case and then is allowed to leave. The witness says that he was “ballroom dancing from 7 until 10 on the night of the crime”. That statement is information. Now, in the course of the investigation, the team learns that the witness lied about where he was on the night of the crime. Why would he state his whereabouts falsely? The information becomes important and meaningful. He obviously has something to hide. In this example, it is not necessary to know that the information was false at the beginning, but it was necessary to find out later.

So, my final answer? I believe that false information can be meaningful. However, I have to classify that and say that somewhere along the line, it must become apparent that the information is false. The reason that the person falsified the information then conveys the meaning.

I can’t think of any reason false information, that was not found to be false, would be useful. Can you?

I classmate asked a question on a discussion board for school. She asked if we could say that anything is not informative. I believe that we can’t, I believe that everything is informative… even a speck of dust.

Lately, cop shows like CSI and NCIS flood the T.V. guide channel. Anyone who has watched one of those shows knows that the smallest piece of anything, even that speck of dust, can help an investigation. That speck of dust can tell the searcher where the body (because it is always a body) has been. A strand of hair can have DNA and become evidence. A carpet fiber can define the make or model of a car.

I’m not saying that anything will solve a complete puzzle. Perhaps it will just be a piece. Then, when combined with other pieces, it can tell a whole story. It usually takes many pieces of information to complete that story.

Can you think of anything that would not be informative about something?

I can’t.

Weekend

September 19, 2009

As everyone knows, it is currently a weekend. Thank goodness. I have had jobs before, mostly in retail, where weekends didn’t mean anything special. Now though, I enjoy my weekends off of work.

Libraries don’t have that luxury anymore. Recently, one of our local libraries added Sunday hours to their schedule. This is not a new trend. Many larger libraries are now open on Sunday’s too. It’s the way the world is headed. I just feel bad for those who have to work all of those hours. Everyone needs a break. Retail, libraries, fast food, and gas stations… when do they ever get their break? When did we become such a 24-7 world?

I don’t know when it happened, but I would love to go back before it.

All I do know, I will miss my free weekends when I do finally get a job in a library. Weekends are wonderful.

Digitalness

September 18, 2009

So far, school has taught me several things. One of which, librarians make up words. Case in point is “aboutness” which essentially means subject matter. My mom says “why can’t they just say subject matter”, but apparently they can’t. Now its my turn to make up a word. My word is “digitalness”. I don’t know if I am the first to use this word. Probably not. I don’t tend to be the first to do anything even though I am a first born.

But seriously, the industry is going digital. I’ve been reading lately about a private school library that has gotten rid of all their print books (or is planning on it). Who would have thought? Not me. For me, there is something necessary about a book on paper. I like the way that they feel and smell. I find them easier to navigate and read. Call me old fashioned, surely you cannot call me old. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I believe you will find several posts in the near future on this topic. Today I wanted to discuss something more specific.

When did textbooks and required reading become so computerized?

I know that I am a distance education student and that all of my coursework is done over a computer. I did not expect that most of my required reading would be too. I was perfectly happy to order my textbooks from the bookstore like a normal student. Imagine my surprise to notice on my syllabus that over half of my required reading is not from my textbook, but online articles (such as this) or scanned in materials from distant sources.

We have to admire the ingenuity of the professors. They must have to search an awful lot of things to find those articles.

I find it very inconvenient to have my reading on my computer. This is for several reasons:

One- I read in many various places
I read on my lunch break at work, in the waiting room at the doctor’s, in the car when someone else is driving, and in those spare moments between tasks. Many times, computer access is simply impossible. I suppose a netbook could handle the task, but I do not have one, and do not have the funds for such an expense.

Two- It would take a lot of paper to print out those articles
Sometimes I like to take notes on my reading. Can’t do that with online articles. There is no highlighting, underlining, or dog earring.

Three- I find articles online more difficult to read
I get distracted by other applications on my computer, like Facebook or my email. These distractions do not aid in remembering material. With print material, I can move myself away from the distractions and place myself in a place with much less. Besides that, the computer screen itself is different than paper to the eyes. After staring at the screen for a time, my eyes become fuzzy and hard to focus.

I will add that, for the most part, the content of the articles chosen for my classes has been a good supplement to the textbook. It has been informative.

If I have to read it, I’m glad that its well chosen. Props to the Profs.

What do you think? Online required course reading? Or no?

Job considerations

September 16, 2009

In the previous post, I mentioned that I considered many things when I was searching for a career. Here are several things that I think everyone should consider, and how I used each one in my own search:

What type of things do you enjoy?
Its important to enjoy your job. Those who enjoy their job are far more productive than those who don’t. They can look forward to going to work, instead of dreading it. They are enthusiastic.

For me, I like books and reading, rocking chairs, music, animals, helping people, having consistent hours, and being able to move around. I guess no one will pay me to sit and rock in a chair all day…

Do you have any special qualifications?
Do you have a marketable degree? Certifications? Certificates? Awards? Or anything else that would interest potential employers. These qualifications prove skill.

I have a degree in music, and I am a certified pet trainer. I have choosen to continue my education to obtain further qualifications in my desired area. Which leads to the next point…

Are you willing to further your education or training?
Some employers may require a degree or certification above your current. Are you willing to get it?

Do you want to work with the public?
There are many careers out there that work with the public, there are also a lot that don’t. I think they each have advantages. The public tends to be distracting. They will slow down employee progress on projects because they require attention and help. They seem to complain constantly. I know that they are not all that bad. On the plus side, talking makes the time go by faster.

My answer, not in a retail environment. There are several different reasons for this decision. I enjoy helping people, but I do not enjoy taking their money. I enjoy stocking, but I do not enjoy selling.

Indoors/ outdoors, desk job/ floor job, team/individual, seasonal/full time/part time, management/ sales/ driving/ teaching, set hours/ changing shifts…
These are all important things to consider. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. Some like the outdoors, but can’t stand the bugs or the rain. Others could never work in a team with other people, they are too independent. What sounds good to you?

I prefer to work indoors, but the option to go outdoors for a bit wouldn’t be a turn off. I learned with my old job, that sitting behind a desk all day is boring! I need to be able to get up and walk around.

Does location matter?
Are you willing to relocate for the right position? Are you tied down by family? These are all things to ask. Relocating is easier for those who are unattached. If you are tied to a place; what jobs are available near you? How far are you willing to commute? You will be forced to choose a career based on what is there.

I am willing to relocate, if the job pays well enough. Temporarily, I am unattached. That will not last long, as David and I are planning for our wedding. I would only relocate to a select number of states, those in the southeast. I prefer the southeast’s climate and culture.

Finally, do some research!
Get a list of jobs. The government complies a Top 100 list of best jobs each year. That’s a great place to start. Go through and mark the ones that sound interesting to you. Then, research those jobs. Look in your area, do they exist? What is the average salary? Qualifications and job responsibilities? Do the descriptions match up with your goals? Could you see yourself in that position? If the answer is “yes”, that might be the new career for you!

I actually did this. Librarianship ranks high on the list of Top Jobs. I believe it was in the Top 10 for awhile. The pay sounds wonderful to me and libraries tend to be everywhere. There are 7 within 30 miles of my house.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. What else would you add? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment!

An introduction

September 15, 2009

“Welcome to WordPress.com.”

Well hello WordPress world. I am glad to be here. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jessica. I am currently a student, enrolled in an ALA accredited Library and Information Science program. The program tends to be very thought provoking and leaves me with a lot of questions that I hope to know the answer to someday.

But lets go back a bit farther. I’m sure this story is familiar to many of you. I graduated from college without a clue what to do. My bachelor’s was in Music and thats not the most desired degree out there, to say the least. Following that track was not my smartest move. After bouncing around in several mundane jobs, I began to figure out what I wanted and didn’t want in a career. I started to plan: this is where I am currently, this is where I want to be, and this is how I am going to get there.

So what did I consider when I picked this career?

That, and more… in the next post!