SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: intelligent, pigheaded, out
Re: SIGIA-L: intelligent, pigheaded, outrageous and intriguing
From: Ziya Oz (ZiyaOz_at_earthlink.net)
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 14:30:07 EST
Karl Sabino wrote:
>> As if, (to caricaturize the whole issue) Internet or Napster never
> well to be fair he's not talking about the distribution of information
He should. What exactly is information not distributed?
Do you have any idea what I have stored on my hard disk? (No smart comments
Unless and until I present it to you, for all practical purposes, it doesn't
really exist for you. The manner in which I present it to you can make all
the difference in the world: I can show it only to you or the entire world
via the web. I can let you alter it, duplicate it, sell it a thousand times,
query it, subscribe to it, programmatically analyze it, encrypt it, archive
it on millions of disparate hard disks, etc. While some of that is also
possible in the analog world, the digital form makes it an order of
magnitude more interesting and useful in a manner we have only begun to
> "The form of information storage or transmittal-whether digital or
> analog, binary bits or decimal digits, or in some other guise-is
> irrelevant to the issue of conveying meaning to people."
Again this is myopic at best. Digitalization enables certain modes of
expression and exchange not practical or possible in the analog world at any
meaningful scale: Amazon's collaborative filters, eBay auctions, instant
global messaging , blogs, webcasting, etc are all possible because
information has been digitized. And this is just the beginning.
I dare say that words scribbled on a piece of paper that can be shown to
only to a few friends takes on a fundamentally different meaning when made
the subject of global interest by the millions when digitized and rendered
accessible on the Internet. And the difference is not only the in the
numbers but the transcendental quality of access, velocity of distribution,
integration, relation, etc. Context is everything. And digitalization
fundamentally changes information's context and, thereby, possibly its
> "It would have been more appropriate to call this field Designing
> Information Representation".
As Peter Boersma said, that's just semantic babble.
> data itself when isolated is all but meaningless, but that when you present it
> in a useful manner it becomes information - something that people can gain
> from or utilise in a meaningful way.
And digitalization makes that infinitely more interesting and useful, as I
> Personally, it came as a great surprise to me that Relational Database
> Design gives not only an entirely different method of organising
> information (or rather data), but that the results can be wildly
> different from what might result from a standard process of designing
> the Information Architecture of a site (or maybe I was just naive).
A vast portion of good ol' desktop applications are nothing but relational
DBs exposed through a consistent UI. Just as you can address virtually any
element of a webpage through its DOM structure in modern browsers, so can
you access, for instance, virtually all elements of a complex layout app
like QuarkXPress through its objects hierarchy via a scripting language, as
that info is kept in an internal DB structure. The web broke no new ground
> "It is our job as designers to create effective representations of
> information for human consumption."
As most of Raskin's statements go, there isn't much new there.
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:59 EST