Information Architecture

Information Architecture

Night of the Living Map

Dan Roam, the author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, has an author's blog on Amazon. He has a blog entry called "Night of the Living Map", that is about the electoral map that was used during the election and how he viewed election information on the night of the election.

Second Generation Kindle?

Cali Lewis of GeekBrief.TV highlighted the leak of possible photos of a new Kindle model. Cali's source has more.

Jimmy Wales Interview on Open Licenses

Ellyssa Kroski, who writes at iLibrarian, also teaches a class at San Jose State University on the Open Movement and Libraries (Fall of 2008). As part of the class shes has done interviews with such notable figures as Stephen Downes of the National Research Council in Canada, and Nicole Engard of LibLime. Her guest a couple weeks ago was Jimmy Wales. You can hear the full 10 minutes interview with Jimmy Wales here.

Semantic Dementia

Karen Coyle: "Semantic dementia" is a term for something many of us of advanced age experience: forgetting words we once knew. It brings to my mind, however, the kind of demented semantics that we often encounter in standards in our field, and the use of or creation of words that obscure the meaning of the standard. DCAM defines a set of metadata types that can help us communicate to each other about our metadata. It should simplify crosswalking of metadata sets, and make standards more understandable across communities. Unfortunately, it has not done so, at least in part, because of some rather demented semantics.

LISTen: The LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #36

This week's episode features an interview with new media strategist Tommy Vallier talking about Google Chrome, an installment of Tech for Techies discussing how to build a telephone bridge for recording interviews, and a commentary.

Related links:
Website of Tommy Vallier
Twitter stream of Tommy Vallier
Google Chrome

Can Web 2.0 tech fail?

Lessons Learned After Twitter Blackout

Recently two librarians had their accounts torched by Twitter due to coming up in an anti-spam sweep. Their accounts were considered to have been false positives and it took time for access to be restored. Two librarians in particular, Connie Crosby and Patricia Anderson, were affected.

As an aid to others, Anderson has posted a lessons learned review. In light of the recent Gmail outage some lessons are worth considering in other contexts.

New Windows Vista Security Hole

The Dvorak Uncensored blog points the way to a story about a vulnerability discussed at Black Hat. It appears that through the use of low-level, web-browsing related technologies control can be seized of Windows Vista computers notwithstanding new security protocols found in Vista. The aspect that is even more disturbing is how the vulnerability is not limited to Windows Vista alone but could be utilized against other platforms.

For libraries with public-access computing that can access the Internet, this may force some thinking about potential vulnerabilities.

Cuil: A New Search Engine Launches

While it may seem odd to note today compared to perhaps 1996 or 1997, a new search engine launched today. Cuil is a search engine focusing more on analyzing text relevance over ranking pages as might Google. Reactions seen on Twitter today were mixed such as those heard from Chad Haefele, Karin Dalziel, and Engadget's soon to be Editor-at-Large Ryan Block. CNET's Rafe Needleman wrote at his WebWare site about the launch and how it was not the best. Needleman's post showed screenshots of strange results returned by Cuil. Dalziel also linked to a screenshot she posted on Flickr. Have you tried Cuil today? What is your reaction to the launch of this new search engine?

'Public' online spaces don't carry speech, rights

Rant all you want in a public park. A police officer generally won't eject you for your remarks alone, however unpopular or provocative.

Say it on the Internet, and you'll find that free speech and other constitutional rights are anything but guaranteed.

Companies in charge of seemingly public spaces online wipe out content that's controversial but otherwise legal. Service providers write their own rules for users worldwide and set foreign policy when they cooperate with regimes like China. They serve as prosecutor, judge and jury in handling disputes behind closed doors.

Full article here.

The Web Time Forgot

On a fog-drizzled Monday afternoon, this fading medieval city feels like a forgotten place. Apart from the obligatory Gothic cathedral, there is not much to see here except for a tiny storefront museum called the Mundaneum, tucked down a narrow street in the northeast corner of town. It feels like a fittingly secluded home for the legacy of one of technology’s lost pioneers: Paul Otlet.

In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.”

Full story here.

Doing Away With Visual Real Estate

Most of us deal with a computer every single day. Some of us enjoy the experience more than others but we all share one common need.

Visual real estate.

In other words, we have one or more monitors and using those we can look at a given number of things. After a certain number, depending on your setup, you hit a point of diminishing returns. In other words, if you open too many windows, you'll clutter up your screen(s) to the point that they're unreadable.

Well, this could fix that. It could also have fascinating implications for the storage and retrieval of data. Think of it as microfilm 2.0.

The Guide To Optimised Thinking

When it comes to the gathering, coalescing, and analysis of data, most places can't compete with the United States CIA. I think a lot of library types would like to know some of their secrets, at least when it comes to data and information processing.

Well, now you can.

The CIA recently released a book titled Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Obviously, the book is aimed more towards people working for or with the CIA, but there's some interesting bits in their for the information science nerd too. The book is available online in its full text glory if you've got the interest.

via Mind Hacks.

Earth, Sky, Street, Mars, And Now... The Ocean Floor

Google Maps and Google Earth brought the world to our fingertips. Then, with varying degrees of success, they did the same thing with the sky, the street, and Mars. Now, Google calls together a team of oceanographers with a plan to map the ocean floor.

Google's current plans are to provide a framework and basic map of the ocean floor and, like Google Earth, provide the ability to add things to it. Ideas for additional data include shipwrecks, coral reefs, and currents.

A sandbox for collecting search examples, patterns, and anti-patterns

Peter Morville put together this neat sandbox for collecting search examples, patterns, and anti-patterns. He's looking for folks to add tags, notes, and comments, and suggest new examples. Over time, he hopes to add patterns that illustrate user behavior and the information architecture of search. He's blogging about search patterns at www.findability.org.
(Link stolen from the NGC4LIB list)

Towards a modern, functional OPAC

Aaron Schmidt has used quite a few library OPACs. He's also used and sought out the best of the open web. You’ve probably done the same and like him, you’ve probably been dismayed at the disparity between the two worlds. The open web can be fun and inspiring. Would you say the same of our OPACs? He's thought about what OPACs should be like in bits and pieces and decided to assemble them here.

A Problem
Besides all of the small, simple usability enhancements OPACs need (listed way below) a big concern about library websites and OPACs is the distracting transition between the two. You know the routine. Ubiquitous “Click here to search the catalog” links take users from one place to another and create a disjointed experience.

Aaron's Solution
One way to provide a seamless experience is to put some OPAC functions into the website, letting people accomplish OPAC tasks without having to leave the library website. In Aaron's dream OPAC this go-between is essentially an ecommerce shopping basket but called a backpack or bookshelf in this instance. Just like on amazon.com, when logged in, a patron’s library backpack appears on every library webpage, whether it be the homepage, a book list, or the results list of a search. Any item cover on the website can be dragged and dropped into users’ backpack/bookshelf.

BookLamp: Finding Books Can Be Like Finding Music

BookLamp offers an interesting and (ahem) novel idea when it comes to finding books.

Those familiar with Pandora know that it works by analyzing a musician or song that you like and making choices for new songs based on the artist, style, beat, and other musical elements. BookLamp seeks to do that, but with books. Through the analysis of things like writing style, word use, and the like, BookLamp tries to make recommendations for further based on similarities between the book you selected and other books within its database.

A video on their site explains everything in greater detail.

They've only got a few items in the database, but they're looking to grow... and hopefully have their idea purchased by Google.

Celebrating the Semicolon in a Most Unlikely Location

Article in the New York Times:

It was nearly hidden on a New York City Transit public service placard exhorting subway riders not to leave their newspaper behind when they get off the train.

“Please put it in a trash can,” riders are reminded. After which Neil Neches, an erudite writer in the transit agency’s marketing and service information department, inserted a semicolon. The rest of the sentence reads, “that’s good news for everyone.”

Semicolon sightings in the city are unusual, period, much less in exhortations drafted by committees of civil servants. In literature and journalism, not to mention in advertising, the semicolon has been largely jettisoned as a pretentious anachronism.

Article continued here.

An Online Organizer That Helps Connect the Dots

HOW often have you wasted time searching through page after page of e-mail messages, Web sites, notes, news feeds and YouTube videos on your computer, trying to find an important item?

If the answer is “too often,” a San Francisco company, Radar Networks, is testing a free, Web-based application, called Twine, that may provide some robotic secretarial help in organizing and retrieving documents.

Twine (twine.com) can scan almost any electronic document for the names of people, places, businesses and many other entities that its algorithms recognize.

Then it does something unusual: it automatically tags or marks all of these items in orange and transfers them to an index on the right side of the screen. This index grows with every document you view, as the program adds subjects that it can recognize or infer from their context.

Article continued here.

Do we really need "pages" on the web?

madcow writes ""Twelve years after the debut of search engines, we have Google representing the current best-of-breed index of web pages. It is faster, smarter, and it has raised the bar for web usability several times over. And yet, we are still paging through search results ten or twenty records at a time. Unfortunately, this style of navigation has been adopted by every site that returns records from a database, regardless of the amount of data being served."

More here from Unspace."

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