|Expanding Access to Science and Technology (UNU, 1994, 462 pages)|
|Session 4 : Intelligent access to information: Part 2|
|The new world of computing: The sub-language paradigm|
What needs to be addressed? The obvious answer is anything that may at some time be an object of attention in some sub-language. Each object class will have its own grain and often its own special means for the identification of its relevant elements.
It is interesting to note that many, if not the majority of, objects referred to by sub-languages do not have "names" in the lexicon. Consider the marriage of Edward D. Moore and Patricia Jones Moore. Friends of the Moores often refer to their marriage; for example, "her daughter by her second marriage," but it does not have a name. "Texas Instruments FB74 transistor" may name a class of its instances as they exist in a great variety of circuits, or alternatively, of its instances in circuit drawings (as sub-drawings). In either case, they will inherit the properties (such as impedance) of the FB74 transistor class. In the latter case, one can identify the particular transistor either by "the FB74 transistor used in the monopole section of the shift register" or by pointing at the transistor and clicking the mouse while viewing the circuit diagram.
How is the addressability problem for all of the world's information solved? We identify the notion of the Archival Station. You call up a station that supplies information you wish to be accessible to one of your sub-languages. A form appears on your monitor and you are asked to fill it out. After doing so, you put your charge card in the card-reader slot in your telephone-computer. You are then free to base your sub-language on any material of interest to you and available from this source. Your initiating call to the Archival Station provides it with all it needs for billing, notification, etc. The act of basing automatically identifies authorization information necessary for security. The Archival Station only infrequently initiates a call to you. Your computer calls it, requesting a page. Since the request is sent as one of your own pages, it carries not only the requested page address but also the return address as well. Thus it carries all the information the Archival Station needs to identify you and your account and provide you with the information you need. In this manner, the Archival Station information resource sub-language can be "in" as many "networks" as there are clients who wish to have its resources available. Since clients' sub-languages are based upon this resource, it itself is protected from change. Billing services for the use of these pages are handled by the telephone company in the manner of "900" numbers today.
All telephone-computer users in each of their sub-languages have complete freedom to choose and base on whatever information resources they desire, paying for accesses to only those pages required in the course of their processing. Furthermore, this information does not come as isolated, independent displays (as, for example, in the French Minitel System). Any number of such resources may be integrated in response to a single user query in a single sub-language. This may be a sub-language a telephone-computer user has developed in conjunction with one of his personal interests, having personally selected the several information resources it has been based upon. The processes of adding such resources and of extending and modifying the sub-language and its data in many ways then become just part of normal day-to-day activities.