A brilliant comment on finding things:
The intelligence of the web isn’t the technical infrastructure or the idea of bandwidth or CSS. Its intelligence comes because so many people contribute content. It’s the true global encyclopedia — Wikipedia is just one part of a larger body of reference information. We’re all contributing to it, page by page.
We’re only about 15 years into this endeavor. Imagine the size of the content repository in 50 years. We’re moving towards a book of knowledge that is growing daily, becoming more and more comprehensive — and it’s because of the individual contributions, not because of a specific authoring tool or process or technology.
It’s a free for all, sure, with any kind of design, format, and style. But despite the variances, people look past design and focus on content. This is why, when we consider enterprise authoring methodologies, what makes the most sense is the authoring methodology that empowers the most people to author.
As more people author, the pool of content grows wider and deeper. Soon you’ll amass enough information that, although it’s a content dumpyard in many cases, when users dig around they find the nuggets of information they’re looking for. It’s not a huge problem if the individual content on each page or project varies in layout, color, and style. The mere fact that the content is there, because you empowered a subject matter expert or user to author it, means that you have content. Content exists. This content gives rise to findability.I do like finding things embedded into books and things that are outside of the normal "text" world. I think this technology will really start to take off when the search results can properly return hits based not only on terms, but on genres, formats, and the intent of the search itself. I think that this will manifest itself when you can enter in a string of search terms and get back hits from the text world, from someone's blog, from an article in an online publication, but also in a series of images, or from a video where that subject was discussed.
There's a real treasure trove of video and of recorded images out there. But because of the storage limitations of videotape and the kinoscope, a tremendous amount of what could be viable content in terms of examining history and culture was lost as it was being produced in the 1950s through the 1970s. We are entering the era of "Everything Will Be Kept Forever."
Curation becomes a complimentary buzzword, in relation to findability. Responsible curation would have to include the ability of search engines to find what it is you are organizing and storing. So, which would you rather be? The finder or the curator?