Managing the Information Explosion
January 31, 1997
in this forum:
Should Internet users expect to pay for information in the future? Should the government provide Internet access? With so much information on the Internet, how can one avoid Web Trash? What does the Internet mean for those living in remote places? Can a "common culture" exist in the age of New Media? What skills do children need to learn to be media literate? Viewer comments regarding New Media.
December 30, 1996: Will information traffic jams increase in cyberspace?
December 25, 1996: The NewsHour reviews the Year in Cyberspace.
Browse the Online NewsHour's coverage of cyberspace.
Mark DeYoung of Hollis, NH, asks:
Even when armed with a powerful search engine, there is so much junk floating around in the Web's data bases that searching for specific information can be like looking for the John Smith that you grew up with in New York City (1437 matches found).
What ever the case, do you forsee anything happenning in the future to clean up Web Trash? Is this just going to have to be an initiative of search engine managers?
Jon Katz responds:
I'm not sure about search engines. I forwarded your question to a WIRED engineer who works with search engines, and he says in one or two years the search technology will be much faster and more advanced, particularly when more wideband ISDN lines and other faster transmission means are available.
These machines will probably do a much more focused job of sorting information and presenting options. The problem, it seems to me, is that it still takes most people too much time to squeeze this information through their telephone lines, and ISDN lines and other faster means of transmission are still too expensive. This is an area research companies are spending a fortune on, though, and my guess is that in a few years the search engines will be much more powerful and intuitive than anything we know now.