Information Overload and How You Can Help!

Erik E. Fair fair at
Wed Jan 25 15:54:58 AEST 1989

Eliot Lear (BIONET, late of Rutgers University) and I (Apple
Computer, late a lot of the time) are hosting a BOF (that's Birds
Of a Feather, and supposedly we flock together) to discuss some
ideas about User Interfaces to netnews (e.g. rn, readnews, vnews,
vn, gnus, Gnews).

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 1989, 18:00 - 20:00 PST at San Diego USENIX
(I dunno which room we got; it'll be on the BOF board)

We are specifically interested in answering the question:

	How Can I Read All This Stuff And Still Get Real Work Done?

that is, what additions, subtractions, modifications, etc. can we
make to the netnews user interfaces that will help us all get more
out of USENET, while not spending all our time doing it.

This means techniques for sorting, structuring, filtering, selecting,
and otherwise automatically processing articles to the point where
the Ideal Interface (which doesn't exist yet, so far as I'm concerned)
will show me articles that I am (or might be, if this is a day when
I have more time to play) interested in, and will not show me things
that I'm not interested in, for some arbitrary (and individual)
definition of "interested".

If you have some ideas on how this might be accomplished, we'd love
to hear them, and if you can work up a quick presentation (I'd skip
the history - we're all drowning in the same ocean of information),
so much the better.

The whole point is to stimulate some progress in this area, and we
VERY strongly encourage IMPLEMENTORS to join in, since these good
ideas will go nowhere if no one implements them. You know who you

We're not really interested in new transport ideas for this BOF;
Rick Adams is having a UUNET BOF, and he'd probably love to hear
about a new whizzy-keeno compression algorithmn, or new file transfer
protocols that you've hacked into UUCP. We consider the transport
problem to be solved (for now; we might get near drowning our
systems in bits again later) and we're MUCH more interested in the
human information overload problem.

Brainstorm time, people!

	we're looking forward to seeing you there,

	Erik E. Fair	ucbvax!fair	fair at
	Eliot Lear	bionet!lear	lear at

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