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Signal vs. Noise
I attended the Information Work Productivity Forum and posted some thoughts (lengthy notes) about the presentations. The day consisted of sponsors of the council and some academics presenting their thoughts on Information Work productivity. A few speakers took the opportunity to talk about their products, which was unfortunate, but some individuals stayed on topic and discussed the real issues related to measuring information work productivity at a high level.
Interesting article in Business Week Online regarding paid placements and some potential controversy involving small businesses. I found the link at searchengineposition.com.
Web Searches: The Fix Is In
by Ben Elgin, October 6, 2003
CIO article "Sleuthing out data" by Fred Hapgood features a couple examples of how auto-semiauto categorization enables businesses and reduce costs. There is a company list included if you're interested in this arena.
Just came back from a conference on data management(Wilshire Metadata/DAMA International 2003 Conference. A recurring topic that surfaced about data management was the relevance of their work in relation to unstructured information. A reality check for everyone was that most corporate information actually existed in semi-structured of unstructured information and not in databases. From this thought, I was directed to DM Review and in particular this article. Digging Into the Web: XML, Meta Data and Other Paths to Unstructured Data - By Robert Blumberg and Shaku Atre. I definitely see an opportunity between IA(metadata/ux) type folks cross-pollinating with data modelers and data managers. It will be interesting to see and I look forward to hearing more from here. Thoughts?
I started working with GraphViz this month and have created a web-based application that converts tab delimitted text files into diagrams. The sole purpose for the application at this point is to turn site inventories or IA hierarchies into clickable site maps like this.
Before you ask why I bothered to do this, I'll give a little history. Immediately after writing the article Automating Diagrams with Visio for Boxes and Arrows I began to see that I didn't want to draw circles, boxes, lines, etc. anymore. That hacky process I used served its purpose. But over the past year I have learned to let databases and scripting languages to the heavy work we normally do in applications like Excel, e.g. content inventories, site architecture (capturing page/node data and parent child relationships). But I still have the need to work with Excel or plain text files for some of the smaller sites I work on outside of my day job. So I still do the site architecture in Excel and now I can do the diagramming in GraphViz.
So try out the app and let me know if you are doing anything similar or see other uses for this thing.
UPDATE: Added a few options including hierachical or radial layout, box or circle shapes, fill or no fill, and shape and font coloring options so you can now create diagrams like this.
It looks as though Microsoft is looking into XRML for their rights management. More information at The Register:
Microsoft devs Windows Rights Management Services
By John Leyden
There's plenty of criticism of content management systems (CMS). Discovering what bothers us most can help us start to address these problems constructively. We conducted a survey to identify the biggest obstacles to effective content management systems. View the results.
Peterme's recounting of an experience with a customer who believed that they could extract wisdom from a software package and vendor is really interesting.
Nice UX cycle diagram in there too.
The ZING Initiative (Z39.50 International Next Generation), under the auspices of the Z39.50 Maintenance Agency at the Library of Congress, is pleased to announce Version 1.0 of SRW and CQL.
SRW ("Search/Retrieve for the Web") is a web-service-based protocol which aims to integrate access across networked resources, and to promote interoperability between distributed databases by providing a common platform. The underpinnings of the protocol are formed by bringing together more than 20 years experience from the collective implementers of the Z39.50 protocol with recent developments in the web-technologies arena. SRW features both SOAP and URL-based access mechanisms (SRW and SRU respectively) to provide for a wide range of possible clients. It uses CQL, the Common Query Language, which provides a powerful yet intuitive means of formulating searches. The protocol mandates the use of open and industry-supported standards XML and XML Schema, and where appropriate, Xpath and SOAP.
The SRW Initiative recognizes the importance of Z39.50 (as currently defined and deployed) for business communication, and focuses on getting information to the user. SRW provides semantics for searching databases containing metadata and objects, both text and non-text. Building on Z39.50 semantics enables the creation of gateways to existing Z39.50 systems while reducing the barriers to new information providers, allowing them to make their resources available via a standard search and retrieve service.
SRW, SRU, and CQL have been developed by an international team, minimizing cross-language pitfalls and other potential internationalization problems.
The SRW and CQL version 1.0 specifications will remain stable for a six- to nine-month implementation-experience period. During this period developers are encouraged to implement the specification (see the implementors page at http://www.loc.gov/srw/implementors.html), join the list of implementors, participate in interoperability testing, and help develop the next version, 1.1. Please direct questions, comments, and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
webgraphics is discussing the touchscreen interface used in the Georgia elections this week. The UI is simulated on the Georgia site for your clicking pleasure (or pain). James found a related on article on Wired, High-Tech Voting Gets Thumbs Up.
Julian found this info graphic showing 12,647 WiFi access points in Manhattan. The data was compiled by wardriving every street! Pretty cool. Indicates access points with red dots. Occurence of access points is dense where you might expect -- commercial areas and middle to high income residential areas.
Note that this includes private, secured, private unsecured, commercial open and public open points. It was compiled by the Public Internet Project. Also cool is the WiFi access finder on nycwireless.
Peter Morville discusses why Google Needs People and people need Google.
"This page was generated entirely by computer algorithms without human editors.
No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page."
There's a very good interview with David Gelertner in CIO Insight, in which Gelertner talks about what knowledge management means in terms of computing experiences.
Darwin Magazine is running a story on how a good idea –knowledge management– is dragged down by its execution (poor software, poor implementation). A good read to see how your hard work could be totally hijacked by (and is currently getting a bad rep from) a number of peripheral circumstances.
[The address from the link from above: http://www.darwinmag.com/read/040101/badthings_content.html]
This is pretty cool. Julian Bond is providing a way to turn Google News searches into RSS.
InfoWorld has an interesting article about the EII space which is all about aggregating information from disparate systems serving data as XML. The Information Aggregation article talks about EII as the middleware that can cull data from multiple systems and repackage as XML for consumption, for instance in consumer facing applications. The article talks about the key players who are trying to establish a presence in this space.
David Weinberger gets interviewed at spirituality.com (don't look too closely at the name of that site or you'll turn into an oxy-moron) about how the Web is a spiritual thing. One of the more interesting bits quoted here:
That's a powerful idea hidden in there: that Trust is in essence the greatest "search technology" we have.
Too much information is simply noise. But with 20 billion pages on line, we are waaaay past "too much." Fortunately, we are evolving ways of finding what we need, either through brute force searching, or, most efficiently, by relying on the judgment of people we trust.
Matt found Logitech's io Personal Digital Pen. You write with it on special paper and then dropt the pen into a cradle attached to your PC and it transfers your ideas to it. Sounds like a pretty cool idea to me. Not sure how handwriting recognition works with their software.
Whatever happened with digital paper and bluetooth? Seems the media were buzzing about that last year, but I haven't heard about that technology being realized in a consumer product.
Peter pointed to this new discussion group for IA's concerned with content management systems.