External Memory Systems: Part 3 of 4

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Also, the retention of printed words is uninfluenced by magnetic fields, but a tape recording can be completely erased by such fields. Different codes may be used in the same memory system, For example a novel printed in different languages would be an encoding of the same information in the same form of memory system (a book) using a different code (e.g.. French and English). Information held in a memory system may also be recorded, either by retrieving the information from that system and coding it into another system, or by recoding it into the same system. Suppose you had a friend make a tape recording of a lecture you had to miss.

You might listen to the tape that evening and then either write a summary of the main ideas into another memory system, your notebook or simply make another tape recording of your summary. In either case, there are two important aspects of this recoding process: information reduction and reorganization. Information reduction occurs because there is less information about the lecture in the recoded summary than there was on the original tape. Even if the lecture were typed out verbatim some reduction would be inevitable because the typed pages wouldn’t contain the sounds of the lecturer’s voice.

In any case, many details of the lecture (jokes, illustrations etc.) are purposely left out of a summary. Organization of information can also be changed during the recoding process, The information on the tape is in the exact sequence in which the lecturer presented it. You might choose to summarize the principal points in a very different sequence if such a reorganization seemed simpler.

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