----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
> Actually, there are some theorist who believe that we double the total
information every ten years...therefore we now have twice as much available
information than we had ten years ago. Further, there was a rather loosely
prepared study done, (by some researchers at Stanford...I can check if anyone is
interested) which suggested that about 85% or more information created today (as
of the date of the study...c.2003?) existed in electronic form. Of course that
includes video, audio, data, personal files, etc.
Well...we can assume that 99% or more of the information created
before about 1900 no longer exists. It was all but impossible
to put it in any sort of long-term storage (except for writing it
out by hand on a paper [etc.] document and saving that...and
it was also very likely to fall victim to various forms of
damage or destruction, ranging from fungi to disposal as useless!
From that point on, technology made it ever easier to preserve and
store data...first photography, then the typewriter (and carbon paper),
then moving pictures and practical sound recording...and finally the
Apple II and its manifold descendants. With each step, we made it
simpler and more practical to save and store our information...
while creating archives of information so large as to make
individual items essentially inaccessible...
I recall having read a science-fiction story about thirty-odd
years ago whose plot tried to forecast this scenario. At some
future date, civilization had accumulated so much data that
uninhabitable planetoid bodies were being used for storage
of data...and the whole system was dependent on the existence
of bibliographies, catalogs and indices...so that a reference
might be to I21:C84:B131 (i.e. the 21st index to the 84th
catalog of the 131st bibliography...). One day, the protagonist
goes to retrieve a certain fact...and finds out that it isn't
where it is supposed to be, nor is much of anything else!
As a result, they now have all the information in thousands
of worlds...and no way to find any given item therein...
Steven C. Barr
(all too desriptive of my premises...?!)