I have been on a massive room reorganization spree of late. I encountered the huge World Book Encyclopedia set that carried me back in time.
The World Book set was the best available resource for school projects. It was a wonder tool – lookup any damn topic in the index volume and you have the information in one of the twenty one volumes. It may not seem as incredible now, but hey, imagine the time when Google did not exist! For many, Britannica may have substituted World Book.
When we think of World Book, the Childcraft series needs a special mention. Our pyjama parties, weekends and summer vacations were all about Childcraft, especially the craft volume.
Then came the online encyclopedias (Encarta, etc.) and ultimately, the reigning Google search engine! Newer concepts emerged such as Wikipedia that is collaborative, free content based. In fact, “encyclopedia” per say, has lost its significance.
However, with the evolution of information sources into digital platforms, our cognitive patterns have altered tremendously. Now, we have shorter attention spans and the tendency to be overwhelmed by the infinite information. Earlier, we committed more to our memory as there was limited availability of knowledge.
However, the change is not necessarily negative. The question is whether the abundant information creates unwarranted complexity or better decision making. Also, what would be the significance of human memory in the times to come? I mean, with data storage in human DNA supposed to be the next big thing, what more transformations can we imagine?
(Photo Source: Google)