2.10.2008

Thought organization

Taking a break from creating ISBDs for my Descriptive Cataloging class.
Switch windows from Cataloger's Desktop to Google reader.
Cleaned out most of the reference posts.
"Unread" some of the articles I wanted to look at later on FRBR, copyright (have first copyright class for WP690a on Thursday), and e-books.
Then I read an article on Publishing 2.0 that I looked at earlier and decided I didn't have the headspace to sit and read the whole article. Decided the looks of 1,000 word entry was just too much earlier in the day.

But then I stopped, focused on the article and read the whole thing through.

The article was on a change from linear thought to networked thoughts. The article is a really short essay by Scott Karp on how he no longer reads linear literature and relates it to Evan Schnittman's article from earlier this week about using an e-reader on a plane and how convenient it is, but still gave Evan something to think about in terms of the publishing biz and e-readers. he also goes in to the recent NEA study that people aren't reading (books) anymore.

At least with the NEA article he points out that the NEA is only considering printed. complete books.

I was passive in my reading of the article, since I read 1-3 articles from publishing/ content bloggers (sorry, I can't think of a better descriptor right now, but it is only there to define the point of publication, in comparison to a reprint of an article from paper media), until I came upon this:
We still retain an 18th Century bias towards linear thought. Non-linear thought — like online media consumption — is still typically characterized in the pejorative: scattered, unfocused, undisciplined.


And that's when I had to respond here as things began clicking for me.

This is something that's I've been thinking about, especially when talking to my students in my e-publishing class. In the surveys they fill out at the beginning of the semester they admitted they don't read online. This is the second semester I've used the survey and the students have responded that they don't read online. I always read the results as the students saying they don't read complete books online. But after going over the basic expectations for class, it turns out most of the students weren't using any kind of RSS reader or bookmarking sites.

Jump:

So here are my students- graduate students for an esteemed publishing program who were eager to learn about e-publishing and I was feeling a giant disconnect with them. It wasn't until reading Scott's article that I realized I've been working on "networked" thought for the past 5 years and I have this preconceived notion that most digital natives have had the same kind of training, but it's become apparent to me that linear reading/ linear thought is more than the predominant method of "learning." Even for students who have always know e-mail, online library catalogs, online articles, blogs, they still generally view this material in a linear fashion.

And there's the rub. How many people have left behind linear thought? It's a hard jump to make as we spend most of our schooling training to be linear. I don't think it's something natural, but necessary as all our information was constructed in a line for the past few hundred years. Now that we no longer rely on linear construction, we need to start thinking about learning in a non-linear fashion and I don't think it's as easy as the internet would have us believe.

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