What? Why?

You can conquer clickbait and AI for good. Here’s how.

The presentation of information online, for the most part, is designed to keep people browsing and scrolling until they can’t take it anymore. It’s great if you want to lose track of time and trick yourself into feeling like you’re learning. When you are trying to be efficient and consciously seeking out knowledge which is relevant to you, it is completely counterproductive. Forgive me for manipulating you in this very way to prove my point.

Computer Reaction Faces | Know Your Meme 

A computer user looks frustrated as they surf the web.

Increasingly, titles and captions are not indicative of the content they refer to. Rather, they are intentionally vague, ambiguous, or even misleading.

An imprint of Cambridge University Press (for illustrative purposes; no affiliation)

An imprint of Cambridge University Press (for illustration; no affiliation)

We tolerate this state of affairs largely because the internet is free. But where it matters, users are bound to pay a premium for quality. 

Information that is credibly researched and appropriately attributed to the responsible authors will always be of greater value than web search results, often anonymous, and mechanically collated by an AI.

ChatGPT will not make librarians, or other information scientists, obsolete for many more decades yet.

A cartoon depicts a cat surrounded by a brick-and-mortar paywall.

Illustration by David Revoy | CC BY 4.0

Most pages, digital or physical, that meet these standards are behind a paywall. Potential readers will only take the plunge and purchase a document or subscription once they are convinced that this will reveal precisely what they seek. At this juncture, indexes provide an elegant solution for both readers and publishers. 

Time burnt browsing free previews of content, trying to figure out what has been omitted and whether it is of value, can drive frustrated users away.

An indexer accounts for a diverse audience and arranges multiple intuitive paths leading to each discrete document or file.

An illustration for the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Romana Klee | CC BY-SA 2.0

The accomplishment of an indexer can be described as accurately referencing the text – without reproducing it. You need a human to select search terms that users naturally employ as key words to look up and unlock information. I will create a structured directory that guides viewers seamlessly to their targeted content.

If sales or page hits are flagging despite how unique, well-written and useful your publication is, investing in an index can make it a resource that will attract its own readership for years to come.