The information explosion and its consequences for data acquisition, documentation, and processing : an additional aspect of the limits to growth
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The information explosion and its consequences for data acquisition, documentation, and processing : an additional aspect of the limits to growth

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    Most of the highly industrialized nations are approaching a so-called post-industrial society, which has two major structural elements: information and knowledge. In this context the question arises: "Will the tremendous information growth rates soon lead to information chaos?" Several complex problems are discussed, relating personal experiences to general information problems and characterizing the present information situation. Two principle information problems are noted: (1) information can be accumulated; time (e.g., the human lifetime) cannot be accumulated. (2) Further growth in information increases the tension between structural differentiation (i.e., branching) and integration (i.e., striving for better overall views, a consequence of new scientific results and technical tools). Branching often results in an organizational and institutional separation between data acquisition, data documentation, and data processing activities as well as between research and service activities. Documentation activities will play the key role in avoiding and (or) reducing the negative separation effect. The following economical, political, and technical possibilities might abate the approach of information chaos: Make use of new technological tools in the information documentation and information processing arena. Combinations of the recent graphic communication techniques with the new video (laser, holography, and semiconductor) techniques may lead to a new communication system: Video-Graphic-Communication and Documentation System (VIGRODOS). Any reasonable test and later operations on VIGRODOS techniques, at various levels, require additional versatile scientists and documentation personnel thinking in interdisciplinary terms. Support from an electronics laboratory with qualified engineers is required, at least during the test phases. Planning and (or) performance of such feasibility study, applying the VIGRODOS technique to two difference types of solar data, is suggested as a possible cooperative program.
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    by G.K. Hartmann. Also available via the Internet. Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-36).
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