Search and memory

An interesting post on Ida takes tea talks about the use of bookmarking tools – such as Furl – as a sort of memory. And further:

These (perhaps unanticipated) social and cognitive attributes of web service tools tend to support John S. Rhodes’ related claim that search engines such as Google have been successful because they shift a memory burden away from users. As Rhodes writes, search engines “shift recall to recognition.” The educational implications of this phenomenon, for teaching and learning, are still being played out.[Ida Takes Tea]

We sometimes call libraries, archives and museums memory institutions, acknowledging that they are collectively responsible for thinking about how much of our scientific, administrative and cultural record we try to manage for future use. I often think about what the ‘record’ of local history now is: how much of it is on the web and is not being captured alongside the print and other ‘documents’ of a place and its communities? What of the website of the local club or community newsletter?
There is intermittent discussion about e-mail as a documentary record in this context. Reading this post made me wonder how interesting in the future would it be to look at a Nobel Prize winner’s Bloglines Blogroll?
(Incidentally, I mentioned Educause in a recent post. Ida takes tea is served up through Educause’s blogging infrastructure.)
(Blog spotted on OLDaily.)

2 thoughts on “Search and memory”

  1. I used to be a Spanish teacher. It’s quite well-known that “recognition” skills like reading and aural comprehension move faster than “production” skills like speaking and writing. I myself can read anything in Spanish that you throw at me, but still (occasionally) have trouble holding up my end of a conversation.
    An excellent, thought-provoking book by Andy Clark called Natural Born Cyborgs directly addresses how much of our cognitive capacity we intentionally store in the world around us. I recommend it.

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