Internet

10.09.2016

Kim H. Veltman,
Opening Keynote: Means of Certain Knowledge, Levels of Knowledge and Interfaces.
Human-Computer Interaction, Tourism and Cultural Heritage (HCITOCH 2016).
Turin, 7-9 September, 2016: http://www.alaipo.com/HCITOCH-2016/workshop_HCITOCH_2016.html


Abstract

Search Engines rely on random words for searching. Libraries and memory institutions use catalogues of authors and titles; key words in titles, as well as controlled vocabularies in classification systems, and thesauri. The goal is to find an item in the collection ranging from a book or article to manuscripts, letters, newspapers, maps, or other media. These tools are directed at identifying and locating objects with minimal hints about their contents. These important aids need to be complemented by future tools.

This paper explores new possibilities introduced though digital (electronic) versions of full contents of collections. One is the potential of searching the complete contents of these materials. This invites new links to sources and implies a need for different levels of searching. In addition, different means of certain knowledge could be identified and used as search criteria. Another entails the possibility of different levels of knowledge relating to a given text. Implicit is a new approach to texts, whereby one goes beyond searching for individual words. Texts can have verbal, numerical and geometrical levels. These different levels introduce a whole range of potential new insights through matrices of knowledge connections. They introduce a vision of an internet of knowledge and wisdom, that is more enduring than the current trends towards the internets of the opinions, habits, services, things, experiences military, and spying.

Implicit is a new history of the Internet and ultimately a new history of knowledge, which entails shifts from an unchanging to a changing world, in the role of universals and particulars and of the meaning of concepts.  

1. Introduction

Search Engines rely on random words for searching. The goal is to find hits, but the results are typically too numerous to be useful. The results may be ranked but the criteria for ranking are often guided by advertising criteria or remain secret. Libraries and memory institutions use catalogues of authors and titles: subject headings, key words in titles, as well as controlled vocabularies in classification systems, thesauri and ontologies. The goal is to find an item in a collection ranging from a book or article to manuscripts, letters, newspapers, maps, or other media. These tools are directed at identifying and locating objects with minimal hints about their contents. These important aids need to be complemented by future tools, which include access to full contents.

Library collections have traditionally been arranged by media, e.g. book collection, manuscript room, map room, newspaper room. Within a given medium, formats typically play an important role. Folio size books are in one place; quarto and octavo books have their place as do sedicesimo and other formats. These formats are revealing with respect to the prestige and intended usage of books. Extravaganza and folio maxima were for rare and special books. Folio was typically for important books, especially in religion and law. Octavo was the early equivalent of pocket books. For conservation reasons, most rare book collections do not allow users to browse through these arrangements on the shelves. In future, virtual reality reconstructions of shelves in major collections could permit scholars to do virtual browsing and thus understand which books tended to be together.

Primary literature (books and manuscripts) tends to be separate from secondary literature: i.e. periodicals and journals are often on a separate floor or even in a separate building. The catalogues for primary literature are often separate from those for secondary literature. A comprehensive catalogue of all primary and secondary materials would be a powerful tool. The evolution of national catalogues and even a world catalogue are clearly steps in this direction. Alas, the process is slow. An Italian national catalogue of manuscripts, begun in the 1890s, ís still not finished.

The focus of this paper is on new possibilities introduced by full contents such as harvesting of micro-thoughts; co-ordination of means of certain knowledge; and levels of knowledge, not just in terms different media but also in terms of verbal, numerical and geometrical treatments of a given text.

 

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