Friday, May 08, 2009

the definition of indexing.......a computer scientist's definition

an index is defined as "a reference table that contains the keys or references needed to address data items." indexing is the act of using an index to retrieve information. this has been on my mind lately as i have been amazed at the ability of human beings to recall the most random and minute memories from the vast information store that is the human brain. it's unbelievable. too, i think about how google has managed to organize the world's information and use its index to present relevant results through a simple google search. perhaps this last though is due to me having recently finished reading jeff jarvis' 'what would google do' (a great book btw if you are interested in how google has changed the way business and marketing and customer relations work in this google age).

this afternoon, i began to think about some of the lessons i have learned during my phd, and what struck me was how much of a phd is coming up with new and cool and relevant ideas. yes, you have to go and do the work too, but, as with most things, coming up with the initial idea is the hardest part. think about business ideas for example. for most, coming up with the killer idea is the hardest part. there is no recipe for how to come up with ideas. it varies from person and some are more gifted at this than others. however, practice does help. what i have found to be my struggle is that i seem to come up with ideas out of sequence or order. that is, ideas that may be a few steps ahead of where i am currently. because of the randomness of my thinking, a lot of potentially good ideas get tossed out of my brain instead of stored for later indexing. i saw this first-hand today as i came across an idea (which happened to be step 1). it just so happened that i needed to flip back through my notebook for another piece of information, and i just so happened to stumble upon step 2. a great idea i had a month or so ago that could not have fit more perfectly with step 1.

i guess this is some indication or artifact that i am still not sold on my ability and need to have more confidence that what i say has meaning, even if it may not have meaning that very moment!!!

4 Comments:

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