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Re: Ad Hoc SEAint Web Tracking Committee - Subject Coding[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
- Subject: Re: Ad Hoc SEAint Web Tracking Committee - Subject Coding
- From: BCainse(--nospam--at)aol.com
- Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 20:45:03 EST
Dennis- The idea of coding each message for "easy" retrieval assumes that EACH message contains an otherwise irretrievable gem (well, I guess you might say that many of Kate's did but I'm not that sure about the rest of us :<) ). From my observations of the list traffic, many of the messages consist of preliminary discussions on the way to a consensus. While they are important in the context of getting to the final answer, they often don't contribute a long lasting gem that merits either saving or subsequent retrieval. Some, in simple fact, contain information that is not correct. Besides, that is what search engines are for. It would seem far better to spend time obtaining the "best" possible search engine and organizing the archives so that search engine can effectively be used (and that doesn't necessarily require a coding scheme to make it happen.). The task you describe seems to require a great amount of volunteer and list contributor time that might be better spent in solving some of the burning issues before us (e.g., how do we design a truly ductile steel frame joint, how do we get a client to pay, should we really have a dues increase, etc.). If someone "improperly" codes the message, or it contains information in multiple areas, categorizization loses its usefulness. A search engine, however, can distinguish when multiple topics are discussed and find all mention of a particular topic. It can also, using logical search criteria, limit the of messages one needs to go through. The archiving of listserver information is much like a paper published in a journal. In a paper, whether by a single author or a committee, the thoughts are hashed over until they are distilled to the salient points. The incorrect information, for the most part, is filtered before the information is published. Not everything is published or even retained by the author. IMHO, we should be making the tools available for research efforts, not doing research or unnessary categorizing that may not need to be done. My experiences to date with the archives have been pretty good in finding information I want. The search engine could be improved some but it does a pretty good job (the 4 character limit described in recent posts may need some work although it has not significantly affected me) as it is. The beauty of the current list server is that it is simple and useful; it doesn't require a manual of special codes to use it; and it attracts a lot of good people from all over the world who are more than willing to share the benefit of their experience. I fail to see how "coding" will improve on this. Regards, Bill Cain, SE Albany, CA
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