The purpose of T.H. Nelson’s paper, “A File Structure for The Complex, The Changing and the Indeterminate,” was to explain the significance of why we use files, how they are created and used, and why they are important through many facets and occupations. Nelson’s work began in the 1960’s while trying to create ways to organize file systems. Nelson’s goal was to assemble the dream file which, was “the file system that would have every feature a novelist or absent-minded professor could want,” to organize their notes and content in a specific way catered to their own preference.
Nelson stated that there were three obstacles that impede filing systems:
1. Cost-stating that although relatively high, having a device that could do the work of many individuals was ultimately more sensible because each individual could use the machine at any given time.
2. Matter of Fashion-computers are not just for corporations anymore. Any individual could benefit from the speed of acquiring anything we have previously written by using a computer.
3. Design-the most important of Nelson’s points, he then begins to introduce Bush’s paper, “As We May Think,” and quotes Bush throughout the next 2-3 pages of text.
* Nelson finds that Bush’s ideas coincide with his discussion of the composition of the computer system which hold these filing systems.
He then continues to discuss what constitutes as a good writer and the elements that coincide with writing. Nelson states that “writing is a matter of inspiration, writing consists of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and all you really need is a good outline.” Nelson dismisses that any of these theories are correct by adding statistics and thoughts of his own towards what constitutes a good writer.
Nelson’s purpose was to demonstrate how writers can utilize a filing system to stay organized and have their content stored for any future use or references when needed. Nelson then links how filing systems play into philosophy and the ability to track information and ideas that have been rapidly changing in our world, such as data stored on files such as an ELF system.
I agree with Nelson’s perspective that computers and filing systems give individuals the ability to alter the information they seek, rather than reading a book and literally having what you get in front of you. Information online is constantly changing, therefore having stored data is crucial to the research and anyone seeking past information.
I found this content a lot to digest but overall I agree with Nelson’s perspectives and found the content relatively interesting. I liked that he linked his idea to Bush’s because it tied the two concepts together.