Friday, 6 September 2013

search engines

[The engine] learns about subject categories from the bottom up, instead of imposing an order from the top down. It is a self-organizing system.... To come up with subject categories, Architext makes only one assumption: words that fre- quently occur together are somehow related. As the corpus changes—as new connections emerge between, say O. J. Simpson and murder—the classification scheme automatically adjusts. The subject categories reflect the text itself”; “this eliminates two of the biggest criticisms of library classification: that every scheme has a point of view, and that every scheme will be constantly struggling against obsolescence. 
Search Engines Hartmut Winkler

 In a model of the world created by Robert Fludd, an English encyclopedist of the Renaissance, God had already abandoned the center position (“Integrae Naturae speculum artisque imago” [1617], British Library). Retained has been a system of strictly concentric rings that contains the things of the world, encompassing a range from minerals to the plants and animals of nature up to the human arts and finally the planetary spheres. The center is occupied by a schematic diagram of the earth, a forerunner of that blue ball the astronauts radio-relayed to earth. The representation looks like a man- dala in which viewers can absorb themselves in order to take up contact with a cosmic whole. The new, secularized solution becomes even more distinct in the memory theater of the Italian Camillo, which, frequently discussed in the meantime, itself belongs to the history of technical media.  At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Camillo built a wooden construction resem- bling a small, round theater (see, for example, F. A. Yates, Gedächtnis und Erinnern, Weinheim 1991, 123ff.). Those who ventured inside were con- fronted by a panel of 7 x 7 pictures Camillo had commissioned from highly respected painters of the period. The horizontal division corresponded to the seven planetary spheres, the vertical division to seven stages of develop- ment from the first principles up to the elements, to the natural world, to the human being, to the arts and, finally, the sciences. In this way, every field in the matrix represented a certain aspect of the cosmos. The images were merely there to convey the general picture, whereas behind them were com- partments with the texts written by the great writers and philosophers. It was in these compartments, then, that the user looked for sources, concepts and further information. To this extent, the whole thing was a system of access, and the analogy with search engines becomes evident in the clear separation between the access to the texts and the texts themselves.
Camillo’s theater has finally brought the human being, the viewer, into the center of the construction. The surface of the images is oriented to his view, and solely the beholder’s perspective joins up the forty-nine fields in the matrix.

raster : a scan pattern (as of the electron beam in a cathode-ray tube) in which an area is scanned from side to side in lines from top to bottom; also : a pattern of closely spaced rows of dots that form an image (as on the cathode-ray tube of a television or computer display)

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