the TinyURL service is a good idea indeed. As they say:
“Are you sick of posting URLs in emails only to have it break when sent causing the recipient to have to cut and paste it back together? Then you’ve come to the right place. By entering in a URL in the text field below, we will create a tiny URL that will not break in email postings and never expires.”
I found it useful in emails and other digital communications, so many times I can’t count them. 5 minutes ago, however, I was on the sofa, reading “Mental Models” by Indi Young; the book is full of links to online resources, and the links adopt the TinyURL style: tinyurl.com/xxxxxx, where the Xs are either letters or numbers.
Here’s the problem: I can’t remember the URL. It’s difficult to learn and keep active such a random information. In my boring lectures about working memory and Long term memory I always mention experiments where people need to learn some random chunk of letters. And it’s obvious how these chunks are much more difficult to learn, if compared to words / acronyms that actually mean something. and it’s what I keep saying when I need to give advices on URL strategies: keep it short and meaningful. But meaningful above all.
The solution? I don’t know, or maybe I do: what about if I could personalize this 6-letters code? Or the code could be an existing word, generated automatically. I know, I’m going completely random and I’m not considering all the possible difficulties: there would be the need for MORE than 6 letters, in order to increase the number of meaningful choices; there would be cases when all the possibilities are taken. Moreover, the keyword I select is meaningful for me and just for me: it could mean NOTHING to my buddies.
Hold on… now that I consider the problem at a broader level, there is the massive topic of how it’s possible to integrate digital and “physical” sources of knowledge. It’s something we faced last year, during a project for a Publishing firm. Without relying on futuristic, cutting-edge technology (e.g. one eBook reader per person,…), I think the challenge is actually to design the book in a way that URLs are easily markable, retrievable, readable, typeable, ….
Any other idea / comment on it?