The time needed to retrieve some item of information stored in a data bank or network.
J.von NEUMANN gave the two following definitions of access time in a computer:
"First: The time required to store a number which is already present in some other part of the machine… – removing the number that the memory organ may have been storing before".
(Observe the dubious metaphorical use of the word "organ").
"Second: the time required to "repeat" the number stored – upon "questioning – to another part of the machine" (1958, p.31).
Both types of access time may be different, according to the processes involved.
In the brain as well, recall processes are not instantaneous, as if some specific channels have to be retraced in each case.
→ Time (Access) for a generalized meaning.