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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
“Search” is about more than Google: It’s closer to a metaphor for life. Ambient Findability is about how people search, and how they find what they’re looking for -- or, all too often, don’t. It’s about making anything more “findable” -- and, hence, more useful. In an era when humans are creating the information equivalent of 500,000 new Libraries of Congress every year, these ideas are urgently needed.
Peter Morville defines “ambient findability” as a world “where we can find anyone or anything from anywhere at anytime.” To get there, he starts with where we’ve been: a brief history of wayfinding, from rats in a maze to academics in the Library of Alexandria to Sim City and the Web. He explores why “less is more” in information retrieval, and why people are so ready to sacrifice information quality for accessibility.
Next, he illuminates leading-edge ideas like “information shape,” cues, and the use of genre. There’s a full chapter on the implications of “intertwingularity”: the relentless, deepening interconnectivity between all manner of ideas, pages, sites, authors, formats, and media. (Don’t even imagine that neat, hierarchical information categories will suffice any longer.)
Morville offers thoughtful assessments of the “Semantic Web” debates, the value of metadata and taxonomies, and the lessons of artificial intelligence. Along the way, you’ll stop wherever compelling ideas can be found: with Isaac Newton and Fyodor Dostoevsky, Gerardus Mercator and Jakob Nielsen, Douglas Hofstadter and Clay Shirky.
This book immediately joins classics like Wurman’s Information Anxiety, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and Morville’s own Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. Bill Camarda, from the December 2005 Read Only