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 From Now On
The Educational Technology Journal

Vol 9|No 7|March|2000





The Internet is often great for purposeful wandering, surfing and serendipitous discoveries, but it is frequently guilty of distracting, delaying and diverting. Vast information floes may appear, floating along the electronic horizon in ways that may captivate but might also frustrate the searcher. Much good information may be lost below the surface.

Abundance is potentially an opportunity, but it may also prove a liability. It may slow the acquisition of useful, pertinent information. Abundance can hinder the search for understanding.

If speed matters and if one seeks distilled information served up with dispatch, then the printed book may be the best source to consult.

Books - especially nonfiction books - are usually designed to end the wandering while speeding readers to insight. Web sites can do the same, but the culture of the Web tends toward more expansive, divergent types of collections and experiences. A book is usually organized with many main statements supported by illustrations, explanations and examples as illustrated by the cluster diagram below. Once the reader figures out the structure, it is a simple matter of dipping to the level of detail necessary to answer the question at hand.

In the diagram below, for example, one could concentrate primarily on yellow boxes, skipping over the examples, explanations and illustrations.




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