Re: Zeno's Paradox and the Road to the Optimal/Inevitable

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2003 10:32:39 -0400

I remind Steve that all experience with information systems verifies the
Principle of Least Effort. People do what is easiest and most familiar,
regardless of their best interests, the availability of almost equally
easy alternatives, and the cogent arguments of friends, colleagues, and

One of the reasons that libraries, for example, have traditionally been
rather difficult for non-librarians to use effectively, is that the
professional librarians tend to ignore this, and design systems based on
satisfying expert needs only. To me it appears that large elements of
the computer community do the like, as when some central computer
administration insists that only one particular browser or operating
system will be supported.

The new generation of information systems should profit by these
examples. They will be more widely adopted when they do in trivial
matters exactly whatever their users or potential users want. The most
convenient system will win, not the best. Small obstacles are small only
to the initiates.

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library
Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University
Received on Thu Jun 05 2003 - 15:32:39 BST

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