In the heart of the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England, a pleasant wander leads through the woods from Bolton Abbey to the Strid, a notorious stretch of water where the River Wharfe is forced into a deep and narrow channel. At its narrowest point, the Strid is about two metres (or a lengthy stride) wide, just right to tempt a daring child or a reckless adult. But, jumping the gap is risky, for the rocks are slippery, and nobody survives a fall into the thundering waters and deep, dark caverns of the Strid.

I’m reminded of this chasm not crossed when I ponder the state of search, a vast sociosemantic territory that’s riddled with potholes, gaps, and schisms. Many of these fissures are carved by the relentless process of specialization. ...

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