11.0169 the info-transfer syndrome

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 10:24:50 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 169.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 10:18:45 +0100 (BST)
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: information transfer

A web page for a U.K. publisher, under the category "Books", begins with the
insightful sentence, "Books are practical, effective and user friendly means
of information transfer...." This reminds me of an incident several years
ago in a hallway just outside my office, in an American college known for
such foolishness. In this college, revolutionary for those days, you could
check out all sorts of electronic gear from the library. An assemblage of
such things intended to work together to teach you something, was known as a
"self-paced learning unit". No kidding. One day I was standing outside my
office and spied a student walking toward me with a book in her hand and a
look of wonderment on her face. She stopped and remarked with astonishment,
"You know, the book was the first self-paced learning unit!" What a discovery.

As I think I said earlier, as soon as we accept such terms ("means of
information transfer", "self-paced learning unit") as an adequate
description of the codex, we have assigned it to the dustbin of progress.

Is there a cure for the disease?


Dr. Willard McCarty
Senior Lecturer, Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS
+44 (0)171 873 2784 voice; 873 5081 fax