iMinds: Spreading knowledge, handling information overload

Have you ever been sitting with a group of your friends when one of them suddenly brings up a topic that everyone else seems to recognize but you? Or maybe you have heard of the said person or event but you secretly have no idea what it is and laugh along or participate so you don’t stand out.

Apparently, not many people in the class have had this problem (as indicated by a show of hands), but it happens to me all the time. I suddenly wish that I could secretly access Wikipedia for a brief moment so I could scan the first few paragraphs and understand where the conversation was going. I often find myself doing this every time Google’s logo features a new design for the birthday of someone famous or a holiday I have never heard of.

Luckily for me, and anyone else who wishes to absorb credible information quickly and easily, recently-released has a perfect solution. The Web site produces 8-10 minute audio books about topics ranging from law and politics to history and mathematics. Resources on the site are somewhat limited because it is new, but by the end of 2010, iMinds creators hope to feature hundreds of audio books.

The site’s concept is appealing for several reasons. The first is that it provides concentrated, short segments of information, thereby providing an easy way for users to learn something specific without becoming overwhelmed by the information overload that exists on the Web (for instance, typing in a keyword in the Google search engine and sifting through pages of results). Upon clicking on an item of interest, for example, the Battle of Waterloo, one can view a quick sample of the audio book and view an extended sample of the book’s script.

Another benefit to the idea of iMinds is that all of these files can be played on any mp3 player. Because of this great compatibility, users with overloaded schedules can plug in headphones on their commute to work, on a business flight or during any down time in the office.

This post is starting to sound like a commercial for iMinds, but it really excited me to see such an accessible and useful resource out there. Often times, the vast resources available on the Web can end up driving users away because they aren’t sure how to handle so much information and knowledge. This site gives them a place to learn in a simple and non-intrusive way.


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