blogs

Blog tool comparison table

This blog tool comparison table looks pretty useful, although it needs to update its MovableType data. They also have a good blog that reports on media coverage of weblogs.

Mac OS X Cocoa gestures

I just started using BitArt Consulting's Cocoa Gestures Beta. Really excellent and highly configurable. The tool allows you to use gestures in any Cocoa-based OS X application. It won't work for Carbon apps like IE or Office X. It does work wonderfully well in the apps I tested it against -- Chimera and Adium. Adding gestures is simple too. You select "Cocoa Gestures..." beneath an application menu (below preferences) and add gestures by selecting menu actions and defining your gesture with your mouse. Nice. Would be even nicer if it worked with Carbon apps, which are the bulk of what I use (Entourage, Word, Photoshop, BBedit).

I wonder how many people are actually aware of and use gestures. I would guess that the number is miniscule.

LIMBER project

On ia-cms, Brendan pointed out the LIMBER project. Limber stands for Language Independent Metadata Browsing of European Resources. The project, concerned with the exchange of multilingual metadata, particularly in the Social Sciences, has proposed an RDF schema for thesauri.

A Thesaurus Interchange Format in RDF (delivered at the Semantic Web conference 2002)
http://www.limber.rl.ac.uk/External/SW_conf_thes_paper.htm

RDF Schema for ISO compliant multi-lingual thesauri
http://www.limber.rl.ac.uk/External/thesaurus-iso.rdf

PocketDraw for diagramming flow on a PDA

I came across PocketDraw on Mike Lee's site. It's a Pocket PC application for flow charting. It looks pretty excellent. I can recall a number of times when I've sketched flow charts on napkins and scraps of paper at lunch or on the subway. Would be nice to do this on a Palm Pilot (or Handspring as my case would be). Why hasn't anyone done this for Palm yet?

Wodtke on being T-shaped

Christina posted a wonderful essay titled "Leaving the Autoroute" on B&A on the importance of being T-shaped -- having the knowledge and understanding a generalist in your industry would have and the wisdom and experience of being a specialist in your particular discipline (or perhaps within an area of your discipline). I couldn't agree more that this is what makes a thoughtful team member and producer on a project.

Facetmap of iaslash

The xfml feed allowed me to create a facetmap, which is quite nice. Would be interesting to see if any clustering information visualization emerges out of these types of metadata experiments. Peter also sent me the URL of a site search interface that uses XFML. Looks like there will be nice services that could come out of this. I think the main thing people want to see, however, is Peter's application that will help individuals map topics on disparate systems. Playing with this makes me realize I need to go through the old posts and clasify them.

User-Centered Design

This month Digital Web Magazine will focus on the theme of User-Centered Design. Kicking things off this week is an interview with Peter Merholz and Nathan Shedroff on User-Centered Design.

Evidence-based usability guidelines

Tonight I attended a great presentation by the leads on the usability.gov project. (Despite the .gov domain, this is not a government-specific site.)

They really sold me on the use of evidence-based guidelines for making site design decisions. One of the many interesting points: practitioners tend to view their own experience-based usability guidelines as being strongly supported by research-- even if the research isn't there. We can point to research-based guidelines to resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise when many different parties (internal and external) bring differing design experiences to a project.

Currently there are 50 guidelines on the usability.gov site; by the end of this year 200+ will be posted. Awesome.

usability.gov/guidelines

JASIST KM Issue

The TOC for the special Knowledge Management issue of JASIST (JASIST Vol. 53 No. 12) is available.

Interview with Morville & Rosenfeld

Peter & Lou chat with Since1968.

Thanks infodesign

Persuasive Architecture

That cute little feller over at grokdotcom.com is talking about “Persuasive Architecture,” which he defines as:

Persuasive Architecture ... [is] the aesthetically appealing and functional structure you create to marry the organization of the buying and selling processes with the organization of information. It’s the only way your Web site is actively going to influence, the only way you will pull (never push!) your visitors along the paths they need to walk to accomplish their goals – and yours.

Basically, good IA and good design combined with a sensible business approach will lead you to success. No big news there. They're talking about it over at clickz, too. It's nice to see IA mentioned in the business/marketing press, and, well, especially in a good light.

Knowledge Management: When Bad Things Happen to Good Ideas

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]

New features: email notification, categories, better syndication

Adding a few new features (drupal modules).

Email notification
You can elect to receive email once a day to get notified of new posts (new blog entries and/or comments). Once you are logged in, select notification settings under your user menu in the sidebar.

(NOTE: If you tried to set this up this weekend and got permission errors, please try again. I forgot to set permission attributes. Oops.)

Categories
In case you haven't noticed we've started experimenting with the addition of a flat set of subject headings for each blog entry. Those subject headings are now accessible from the side navigation with indications of how many entries are available in each subject area. Since my blogging has been lighter this year, I plan to go through the old posts and categorize them, deleting dead links as I find them.

RSS syndication by category or user
This is a cool addition. I added the module that lets you syndicate by category or by user. In the syndicate box in the sidebar, select the More link beneath the XML icon to see your syndication options.

XFML
XFML feeds are available in the syndication box. You go, Peter. And thanks, Kristjan for the module.

Google News searches as RSS

This is pretty cool. Julian Bond is providing a way to turn Google News searches into RSS.

The Importance of Being Granular

Roy Tennant has a pretty good article in Library Journal on how granularity affects retrieval and impacts person-hours in Digital Library collections. Don't get turned off by the library lingo. The message is applicable to non-library collections.

Phoenix: Pared down mozilla for windows

Phoenix is sweet. Like Chimera, it's a pared down Mozilla with little of the bloat. You can also use gestures (look in the preferences).

Thanks, webgraphics

The difficulty of categorization

Peter V pointed to Philip C. Murray's KM Connection article, The difficulty of categorization discusses implications of using categorization in the enterprise. In it he, he cite's Bella Hass Weinberg's 1996 article from the ASIS Conference Proceedings, Complexity In Indexing Systems -- Abandonment And Failure: Implications For Organizing The Internet, to bring up the issue of difficulty in classifying documents from a large corpus of data. Weinberg's article discusses the issues in classifying the Internet. Murray's position is that a corporate body's "three ring binder of knowledge" is not a massive data source, so is not necessarily subject to all of the difficulties that Weinberg mentions. He states,

    I also wonder whether classification experts simply cultivate the perception that classification is extremely difficult. Even manual classification can be done quickly, if my experience with professional indexers is any indicator. It's not unusual for a professional indexer to generate a comprehensive, high-quality back-of-the-book index for a new title in less than three weeks.
He goes on to discuss the advantages of faceted knowledge access at a high level. What I find problematic with arguments that state essentially that classification is not so hard is that there are so many variables at play when we're talking about classification of any kind. These variables can include definition of domain, size and scope of the indexable corpus, and specificity of indexing to name just a few. Providing facets of classification is another level of complexity that begs for some definition of guidelines as well.

But I wonder, are most organizations just concerned with indexing a "three ring binder of knowledge" or are they also concerned with indexing all of the published material -- technical documents, memos, press releases, etc. -- of the organization? Are they concerned with indexing at the level of the document or at a more granular level, indexing concepts within the document. There are a lot of high-level articles floating around lately that give lip service to the value of classification. What I'm interested in are those articles that actually discuss the pain of implementing classification processes within large corporations. If you have citations for any good examples/case studies, please share them!

As part of an information services organization in a large corporation, I've seen the great distances my colleagues have had to go to make an enterprise level taxonomy work for our customers, who have been the catalysts and partners in its development and use. Over the 4 years that I've used our taxonomy on the back end as an indexer and as a site developer -- but not as a subject matter expert creating/defining the terms and relationships of the taxonomy -- I have to say that there is not much about classification at the enterprise level that seems very simple to me. It is very clear that representing knowledge (automatic or manual) is never simple to do, and when done right, can never be always right and never serve everyone. Concepts can change, indexers will represent knowledge differently, environmental elements will affect priorities and sometimes shift the language and understanding of your subject matter. It's all very slippery. That being said, however, without classification it is clear that knowledge retrieval is hampered and the bottom line is affected. And I guess that necessitates the need for information professionals and information retrieval systems.

DonnaM's blog

Donna Maurer, and IA from down under, has started an interesting blog where she is capturing thoughts that occur to her as she works through IA, interaction design, and usability problems on the job. I find it can be helpful to remember what I've been thinking while trying to solve problems on a project, and exposing your thought processes in a journal of some sort helps when you have to go back and figure out, "Now why did we label that category such and such 3 months ago?". Good stuff.

Dilbert on interface design

xblog found these. Don't share them with your technology team.

Icons

I have a new set of icons available. I've used these in the recent past for wireframing various interfaces.

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