The Bog of Lost Scholars

December 20, 2006

One Single Sentence

Filed under: Publishing and Writing — castiron @ 6:00 pm

Kim Allen tagged me to answer answer Richard Feynman’s “one-sentence challenge”: If all knowledge about your field were about to expire, what one sentence would you want to pass on to the future? (Feynman said about physics, “Everything is made of atoms.”)

My field is publishing, and my specific job centers on data wrangling. So my one-sentence advice to the future would be, “Make it easy to change a single letter.”

That covers classic moveable type, of course. It also covers electronic work — if you don’t have native files, or they’re in a format you can no longer read, it’s no longer easy to change that one-letter typo on page 47. And if it’s hard to change a single letter, it’ll also be hard to change a sentence, reformat the text to fit a different page size, etc.

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