On saying things you know nothing about

Geoff Read g.read at NIWA.CRI.NZ
Mon Aug 5 11:08:07 CDT 1996

Doug Yanega wrote:
> Richard Zander wrote:
> >Say, take a few moments to check out the things *you've* typed for
> >posterity. You'll be surprized how easy it will be that generations of
> >college kids are going to cite your every unconsidered thought here on
> >the Web. http://altavista.digital.com

To take that seriously I wonder whether taxacom archive 1996 will be
interesting enough to be kept online in ten years time. Also I
assume its continued existence  is somewhat fragilely dependent on
the voluntary good work of one or two individuals. (AFAIK the
muse.bio.cornell.edu site doesn't  exist anymore and Richard's
archived messages  were actually (seamlessly) coming from the same
machine now at www.keil.ukans.edu.)

> Altavista isn't the worst of it - DejaNews archives every single posting to
> the Usenet newsgroups, so those of us who post to groups in the sci.bio.*
> hierarchy will have our old postings around to haunt us forever, as well as
> our mailing list archives. Frankly, that is not so much a problem as the
> VOLUME of stuff that can result, making it impossible or anyone interested
> in your postings to actually find important material therein.

That is very true, although you can limit the search on date which
helps. But searching for anything on a specialist topic on the net
these days means a great deal of plunging through waves of stuff of
tenuous relevancy. For instance the Altavista indexing of taxacom
picks up  messages with my name in the "next message" part of the
html. We will have to get better skilled at complex search technique
and be given better tools to cope with it all.

Geoff Read             <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>
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