Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Hal Draper

Hal Draper's "Ms. Fnd in a Lbry" (1961)

As information and its surrogates become microscopically small, the tools for retrieval, such as catalogs, indexes, and bibliographies, become macroscopically huge.

Bks disappeared after being reduced to micros, then supermicros, then vowels eliminated to reduce bulk by 33%, then streamline multiple copies (consolidate all supermicros into single storage facility), then into a single drawer. Anyone could access any text by means of a farraginous ("composed of a variety of substances" --Am Her. D.) diffuser.

Facility planted in ocean to save space. Then dispensed with "representational records" in favor of "punched supermicros" heralding new era of "abstract recs" or "Rx". Then "notched electron". Then "chipped quantum" Then "nudged quantum".

Then pizzicated ("plucked"?) quanta, where Rx's subsist in hyperbolic tensor systems sharing same spatial and temporal coordinates, in the empty space freed up between electrons and nucleus.

Thus could Rxs be placed in a single drawer. Eventually, a circular cross reference requires Bibliothecal Excellency Mlvl Dwy Smth to locate an actual bx or at least Rx in order to straighten out the refs. It simply can't be found, it turns out, which causes the entire system, and entire civilization, to collapse.

I thought there was a full-text version of this available somewhere on the Internet, but I can't seem to find it.

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