Computer Lib /Dream Machines by Ted Nelson, 1974. There’s so much in this reading that resonates with me. First, he attempts to almost demystify the computer and the media brought forth from it. I really like that one of his points is to make the learning and/or knowledge of computers and media more accessible to the public. Personally I don’t understand ‘knowledge hoarders’. Protecting trade secrets and the like … I completely understand … however, hoarding knowledge I don’t. I was motivated to instruct a ‘communication of research to the public’ course because I believe we, as scholars, should make our research more accessible to the public. So, to know Ted was advocating for this as it relates to computers was significant to me.
The discussion on computer priesthood also caused me to reflect that within any field certainly both the general knowledge and acceptance of related advancements in the field from the general public lags the introduction of the advancement. But eventually, both knowledge and acceptance (perhaps even critiques) must be realized to support growth of that field.
Second, I agree with Ted’s 1974 perspective that computers don’t have to be complicated and that a human-centered (user-focused) manual can be written to help the public understand it better. Today, we speak also of student-centered learning.
Overall, he is advocating for and contributing to the advancement of computer literacy. It seems this may have been an early user’s guide to computer and media. It’s hard for me to critique how successful it was in it’s day because I’m unfamiliar with many of the programs that he is speaking of. However I applaud his effort at extending a friendly invitation to the reader to learn and become more engaged with the computer and media. #vtnmss14