Modern technology is spreading the ideal of teh
university as a network of scholars thoroughout
society. TSE seesm to me to have been one of teh first
to have implicitly recognized this.
Thomas Allen did his work in the 1960's. He wrote
quite a famous and accessible book about it. It was
called 'Managing the Flow of Technology'. The Amazon
page for the 1984 edition is
Any university library will have a copy.
The same use of informal networks has been noted in
other studies. John Seeley Brown of Xerox PARC wrote a
book called 'The Social Life of Information.' One
example in that book was about the spread of knowedge
among copier technicians. Xerox tried all sorts of
high technology to spread new knowedge among its
techs. Expert systems to answer questions and much
other technology was tred. Brown found that it was the
informal interaction that occurred when techs met each
other that was the sole thing that really worked. He
even found that one of the most competent experts was
a Xerox receptionist with no technical training. Her
desk was beside the telephone that the techs used to
answer questions from each other from the field. She
heard all the questions. She learned what the possible
failures and solutions to them from the experts in
language that was tailoered to Xerox copiers. She was
theable to answer field questions expertly without
referece to the techs.
MIT has a mjor project called Oxygen that is
developing technology to support this type of
--- Richard Seddon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Having been a division chief at a major National
> Laboratory I am very
> interested in Allen's study. What was his measure
> of success/failure?
> Continued funding? Star Wars may be one of those
> projects in which all the
> science has regularly pointed to failure but whose
> continued funding has
> created an illusion of success.
> Rick Seddon
> McIntosh, NM
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