Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Library of Babel Paradigm

From Steve Gillmor's InfoRouter blog:

Search is dead. The amount of viewing/listening time is finite. It's not about finding stuff; it's about throwing stuff away.


The noise is the problem.

This brings to mind the Library of Babel Paradigm. That library's biggest problem, like today's internet, was too much noise--useless information obscuring the good stuff. To turn the Library of Babel into the Perfect Library--or to bring the internet under control--means to somehow find the ability to eliminate the noise found in both.

Noise in the Library of Babel:

Multiple copies of books with no or little usable information.
Multiple copies of the same book with an insignificant difference in each.
Catalogic restrictions (try finding one).
Language roadblocks (books in numerous or unknown languages).
Physical restrictions (traveling endlessly to find a book located far away).
Staff restrictions (too few librarians).

Noise on the Internet:

Too much information of little use to most people.
Difficulty of removing useless information from one's view.
Difficulty of finding useful things.
Language roadblocks (Babelfish doesn't do it yet).

If we could only control the noise, we're close to home.

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