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“As We May Think” Essay

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It is obvious that Bush viewed and approached the dissemination of information as just as much a science as physics or engineering, and that he was a scientist first and foremost. (He also resembled Max von Sydow, but that is beside the point.) Throughout “As We May Think,” the comparisons are there, and he speaks very highly of the sciences and the benefits they have brought our world. He recognized that the sciences and their results are only as good as the ability scientists have to record their findings and share them with the rest of the world, and that at the time the article was written, the methods for the recording, storage, and retrieval of that information were severely insufficient. The way information storage and retrieval could benefit libraries just for the sake of librarianship seemed almost an afterthought to him, however, and he mentions libraries just a few times in the entire document. The real purpose of his work seemed to be bringing to light how the scientific community desperately needed better ways of handling its vast amounts of current and future information so that future scientists could most greatly benefit. His answer to this shortcoming was the memex.
Bush thought of everything in terms of how it could be improved using not only the methods that were in existence at the time, but also all the possibilities that could be developed in the future. In this article, he amazingly predicted the invention of the Polaroid camera, which was introduced by the founder of the Polaroid Corporation just two years after the publishing of this article. (“Instant Camera,” 2010) He used the system by which the telephone system worked at the time to explain how future information retrieval systems might work. In Bush’...


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...inking include XML (Extensible Markup Language) and RDF (Resource Description Framework).
Bush was indeed a pioneer in his time. Though development of his envisioned memex was never achieved during his lifetime, many of the ideas behind it have played a huge role in our technological advances. Thus Vannevar Bush has forever earned a place in technological history.


Works Cited
Bush, Vannevar. (1994, April). As We May Think. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from http://web.mit.edu/STS.035/www/PDFs/think.pdf

Instant Camera. (2010, January14). Retrieved January 14, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_camera

Memex. (2009, December 12). January 16, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memex

Vannevar Bush. (2005, November 6). Retrieved January 14, 2010, from Internet Pioneers website: http://www.ibiblio.org/pioneers/bush.html


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