Saturday, 19 May 2007

Word of the day

Today's word is satisficing. When Dana used it in a meeting, no-one could work out how we had done without it so far. It means close enough is good enough, a fundamental principle in understanding undergraduate information seeking. However, it is much easier to use satisficing as a verb than the notional alternatives, such as the cumbersome runtogether closeenoughisgoodenoughing, or the equally incomprehensible initialism, CEIGEing. The Wikipedia, as always, provides more detail than any of us needs, and defines satisficing as "a behavior which attempts to achieve at least some minimum level of a particular variable, but which does not necessarily maximize its value." We owe the term to economists.

3 comments:

Kathryn Greenhill said...

Not a single word, but I recently came across the expression "convenience trumps quality" to describe why undergrads use google and not Proquest nor any of the hundreds of other services we offer them.

Derek Whitehead said...

I guess that the phenomenon has been universally observed. So the question is how to respond, taking convenience trumps quality as a given.

Kathryn Greenhill said...

Easy - maintain our quality and increase our convenience.