Monday, April 07, 2008

The Hype about Hyperlink

There are 4 main parts to Dreyfus' On the Internet (2001).

The first section is called "The hype about hyperlink."

It contains a comparison of the hyperlink culture (and data retrieval) with the library culture (and document retrieval). It also examines whether what we have organized through hyperlinks will really give us an understanding of what it is we want to know about.

Dreyfus argues with those who believe in incremental progress in search and useful retrieval:

. . . faith in incremental progress towards being able to retreive just those and only those documents one needs only makes sense if there is one taxonomy, like that of Aristotle or the Dewey decimal system, that captures the way the world is divided up. But in a world of hyperlinks, there can be no saving metaphysical solution. (p. 23)

Single taxonomies simply don't make sense but that requires a different argument.

. . . One thing is sure, as the Web grows. Net users who leave their bodies behind and become dependent on syntactic Web crawlers and search engines will have to be resigned to picking through heaps of junk in the hope of sometimes finding the information they desire. (p. 26)

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