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Re: How was Xanadu to handle value lookups?

On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 17:14 -0800, roger gregory wrote:
> First I'll reply to the easy question.
> On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 16:41, Jeff Rush wrote:
> > Certainly the reader could retrieve the entire address
> > book and sequentially scan it but that wouldn't scale.
> > 
> Right, string searching doesn't scale,  We see that from
> the web The market will sort it out.  And even that not
> too well.
> The answer is to retrieve the entire address book
> and somebody has to index it, then you search.  

> > I'm sure I'm overlooking something as being able to
> > lookup information using external strings and numbers
> > is a fundamental need of any information storage system.
> Nope it isn't, it's just an external semantic hack
> not something fundamental at all.  This is the nature
> of data.  
> The fact the the web is at all useful with mostly
> searching is astounding to me, and is certain to get
> more unwieldy as time goes by, and more documents accumulate.

I think we miscommunicated.  I didn't mean the unstructured wide-ranging
textual search of Google, but rather a structured lookup like DNS or
LDAP.  Something I can use to build a roster of forum members, or
directory of document/filenames, or diary of dated journal entries or
list of billable timesheet entries extractable by non-prearranged (i.e.
written originally in monthly journals) date range.

Xanadu was to encompass all information storage, not just word
processing.  In some manner it is to subsume SQL databases, LDAP rosters
and spreadsheets, among others.  Admittedly much of that functionality
is to be located in the front-end, but the back-end must contain
sufficient architectural features to let you build those things, in a
feasible way.

The concepts of text + links is very powerful, but if you combine text +
links + lookups, you get all of the applications I listed above.
Structured link queries, which Xanadu has, just barely miss the goal of
lookups, because of the inability to supply external content as the
variable in the search.