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 From Now On
The Educational Technology Journal


 
Vol 9|No 7|March|2000

 

 

 

Compression

With a book you get two or more years' worth of research condensed and synthesized into a carefully distilled summary.

A book gives you one stop shopping

When authors set out to study a complex subject such as the causes of the declining salmon stock in the Pacific Northwest, as Joseph Cone did in A Common Fate, they usually spend several years collecting the best and most pertinent information. Order A Common Fate from Amazon.

The gathering stage is something like a grape harvest. The sheer volume is enormous. The transcriptions of hundreds of interviews may amount to thousands of pages. To this the author adds thousands more pages of notes collected during meetings and hearings. Then we add newspaper and journal articles as well as books and government records.

A thorough researcher collects the equivalent of a mountain of information.

They are expected to compress this material before sharing the most pertinent and illuminating findings. We don't want them to overwhelm us. We don't want the whole mountain. We want them to sort through to find the most valuable content organized in ways that will shed light on the subject and save us time and trouble.

If it were wine, we would want the vineyard to remove the skins and age the juice until it has been distilled down to an intensely flavorful liquid.

If it were a sauce, we would look forward to the chef's reduction. We hope for concentrated, powerful gravy instead of thin, tasteless drippings.

A good book compresses a huge amount of information into a compact, digestible and appetizing summary offering focus, value and relevance.

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