Cogent Communication: Overcoming Reading Overload

By Charles L. Bernier; A. Neil Yerkey | Go to book overview
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6
Condensed Surrogates

If we cannot read all of the words that we believe we should read, then we must read fewer words; and these fewer words should be selected and organized much better than they have been up to the present. This has been a motive behind the creation of condensed surrogates and also behind the invention of Terse Literatures (TLs), which are described in this chapter.

It is astonishing and delightful that writings can be condensed to half the number of words of the original work in digests, to one-fifth in extracts, to one-tenth in abstracts, to one-hundredth in Terse Conclusions (TCs), and to less than one-thousandth in Ultraterse Conclusions (UCs)--and still be useful condensates. Writings and holograms are similar in that a part of either can function as a surrogate for the whole. For writings, the usefulness of condensed surrogates was discovered millennia ago. Witness the abstracts on clay envelopes for clay tablets bearing contracts or bearing a number of clay pellets representing a business transaction, and the condensations found in admonitions, advocacy, annotations, aphorisms, beatitudes, commands, conclusions, explanations, laws, maxims, orders, paradigms, precepts, reviews, sayings, summaries, and so on. In this connection, it is interesting to note that some condensed surrogates are cogent and that others are not cogent. Examples of cogent forms of condensed surrogates

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