What the reader intends …

From the ever-suggestive William Gibson ..

Did Borges ever imagine a library in which we could know which volumes users were thinking about consulting? [William Gibson]

He is pointing to a recent article about the analysis of user data by Google and the types of intelligence they can derive from it. The article cites John Battelle’s well-known idea of the “database of intentions”, the progressively richer map of user choice and intention that Google is developing.
I worked many years ago in public libraries in Dublin, at a time, I reluctantly acknowledge, when circulation systems were manual. I remember admiring the knowledge of those who had worked for a long time in branches, knowledge of their stock and knowledge of their readers. It seemed to me that the best understood the secret lives of books, as represented by the people who read them. The very best understood as well the secret lives of their readers, as represented by the books they read. They could make the types of connections that we are now seeing automated as ‘intentional data’ is collected and mined, in social networking sites, and in recommender systems.
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One thought on “What the reader intends …”

  1. extremely astute observation!
    or, as you chaps say, “brilliant”.
    except i mean it in the non-everyday
    way that us yanks use it, for only
    the most _intense_ of insights… :+)
    thank you.

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