Finding It: The Organization of Online Material
Damn. Where did I see that article on living wills? I know I read it a few weeks ago, but was it in the Toronto Star, or in a magazine at the dentist's office? Perhaps it was in US News and World Report. But then, maybe it was actually in Time Magazine, or Harper's. Now that I need the data it contained, well, the story's location is lost in the morass of "I forget," with only the fleeting of memory of "this is important" left behind.
That's the problem. We know things are out there which might help us in our personal lives. But where are they? How to find the data online, or resources that will lead to it, is a problem. After all, almost no one remembers every book, article, or reference work they have read. Even the fortunate few with photographic memories, those who can say, "Oh yes, it was in the Wall Street Journal, September 26, 1995, page 13, column 1" are not exempt. Their memory extends only as far as their experience, not to the wealth of published materials that they have not read but suspect are out there, bearing on an issue of personal, immediate concern.
In the burgeoning world of public knowledge, nobody is encyclopedic. There was a time, several hundred years ago, when one person could in fact know all that time and society had to teach. But in those days the Bible was the source of all wisdom, ancient Greek texts had the last word on science, and a royal library might include, at most,