Karen Coyle on information linking

Just stumbled across this, after meeting Karen Coyle here at DC2008. A nice account of why we might care about linking information (and linking data):

Much like people, the real meaningfulness of information is how it interacts with others of its kind. Information that is alone or out of context is inert and cannot reach its potential. Usability is the key to information value, but usability can rarely be applied to any individual information unit. When libraries buy or gather bits of information in the form of books or journals or web sites, they do so with the express goal of making all of the information in their collection usable in the context of the library. A modern scientific treatise should be bolstered by the classical thinking that made it possible. Works promoting one political or moral point of view should sit on the shelf beside those promoting the opposite view. There are millions of invisible hyperlinks between these works that can be discovered by alert readers following Myst-like clues buried deep in the texts.

Meanwhile, Cat’s Cradle and Bokononism are now on my reading list…

Problem statement

A Pew Research Center survey released a few days ago found that only half of Americans correctly know that Mr. Obama is a Christian. Meanwhile, 13 percent of registered voters say that he is a Muslim, compared with 12 percent in June and 10 percent in March.

More ominously, a rising share — now 16 percent — say they aren’t sure about his religion because they’ve heard “different things” about it.

When I’ve traveled around the country, particularly to my childhood home in rural Oregon, I’ve been struck by the number of people who ask something like: That Obama — is he really a Christian? Isn’t he a Muslim or something? Didn’t he take his oath of office on the Koran?

It was in the NYTimes, so it must be true. Will the last one to leave the Web please turn off the lights.