EII (Enterprise Information Integration)

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.

KM on a budget

(Is KM an allowed topic here?)

Knowledge management has been knocked around in my organization for so long with so little understanding of what KM is. On the one hand, there is the belief that everything that transpires in your business is an archivable knowledge asset -- hard copy ephemera such as scribbles on paper napkins or meeting leave-behinds; verbal ephemera such as telephone conversations, chats with colleagues at conferences or at dinners; electronic documents such as email and binary files. In reality, I haven't seen the promise of a tool that allows you to capture all this transferable knowledge and then share it easily, but have heard the promises from vendors over the last 5 years. As the term recedes from everyday parlance in large right-sizing organizations such as my own, the need for knowledge management is still pressing. Which brings me to the The 99 cent KM solution, David Weinberger's short essay on KM World that proposes that low-budget tools such as email list applications and weblogs will get you far.

I'm tending to agree that these tools may be sufficient for a lot of small organizations. My understanding is that Knowledge Management is about being able to communicate store and retrieve knowledge. KM is tool and technology agnostic. In these tight-budget days, I still hear the term kicked around a lot, but I hear less and less about initiatives to research a technology to support KM. I don't know that the low budget tools are sufficient to support KM for large organizations, but they certainly seem like sufficient for creating some knowledge sharing until the killer KM app arrives, no? ILU's

Tom found's ILU's, Flash based interactive tools to help in design work. The first ILU available is an fun Flash-based color wheel thing for finding color combinations. They have more ambitious applications planned for diagramming flow and laying out pages. Should be interesting to see how they develop this. Maybe they can integrate their proposed tools to create something similar to Michael Kopcsak's IA visualization prototype.

Thanks, Tom.

Lou's presentations (and we'll respect the deal, Lou)

Lou Rosenfeld has a deal for you - he'll post his presentations on his site, so long as you listen to a plug for his upcoming IA tutorials on the NNGroup tour - one basic, one more advanced. Whether or not you're able to attend, Lou's presentations are a treasure trove of IA goodies.

Scope Creep article at A List Apart

Hal Helms takes on scope creep at ALA. Most interesting is a web-based wireframing tool and a tool for online annotation of prototypes called DevNotes. These both require ColdFusion on the server. (Though Hal mentions a PHP version of the wireframing tool, I couldn't find it).

thanks Scott

Article: Getting from Research to Personas

Cooper's Director of Design Kim Goodwin has an article in the latest UIE newsletter about distilling usable personas from that pile of research data.

Standards for distributed information architecture

The articles in this month's iteration of Digital Web Magazine all focus on standards, and their importance to the present and future of the web. In addition to markup standards like HTML and XML, and presentation standards like CSS, there are formats like SOAP and XML-RPC, which use existing web standards as a basis for communication and transactions between web sites.

However, there is currently no standard for allowing web sites to share data with respect to their categorization, organization, and labeling. Creating standards for distributed information architecture would allow for easier and more effective combination of content, resources, and metadata across sites.

Spirituality and the Architecture of the Web

David Weinberger gets interviewed at (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:

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.

That's a powerful idea hidden in there: that Trust is in essence the greatest "search technology" we have.

More fun stuff to hang up

Jesse's at it again, providing another beautiful piece of Cubicle Decoration, this time with a poster for his upcoming book.

Your users aren't stupid. Why does your site make them feel that way? (Download the PDF)

Information Visualization Journal

First issue of this new journal is available for free online.

    Information Visualization (IVS) is a peer-reviewed international journal, launched in March 2002. The journal is published quarterly by Palgrave-Macmillan. The journal has an ambitious goal to serve as a dedicated forum for researchers and practitioners throughout the world on all topics related to information visualization. The journal publishes articles on fundamental research and applications of information visualization, including theories, methodologies, techniques
    and evaluations of information visualization and its applications.
Logitech io Personal Digital Pen

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.

W3C/NIST Workshop on Usability & the Web

This looks interesting...if you're near DC you might want to attend. Cost is cheap-- a 1-2 page position paper.

Focus of meeting: "discuss usability of documentation, web usability, and products of various W3C working groups."

Date: 4 - 5 November, 2002

Location: NIST HQ in Gaithersburg (near Washington D.C.), Maryland, USA [This is a very cool building-- hopefully we'll get a tour]

More Info

Enhanced Thumbnails for Web Search

Those crazy kids at Xerox PARC are at it again with this neat thing they call Enhanced Thumbnails. The web search demo is particularly interesting.

This demo is a re-creation of the user tests conducted by the research staff, comparing Enhanced Thumbnails to more traditional methods of displaying search results. Study participants were given a set of information-finding tasks to be done using a search engine. Their search results were displayed using text, plain thumbnails, and Enhanced Thumbnails.

And the results?

The study showed that people using Enhanced Thumbnails found the answers to their queries 29% faster than when they used text summaries, and 22% faster than when they used plain thumbnails.

See examples for yourself. (Search 1, Search 2, Search 3)

They also have a stand-alone browser called Popout Prisim (free 90-day trial download available) that integrates this functionality into normal browsing.

Now, all we need is for this to be tied in to the Google Toolbar and we'll be all set...

Human universals

saw Steven PInker talk last night, where he mentioned Donald Brown's work on 'Human Universals'. Which led me to MITECS, The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Which I think might be useful, somehow... just haven't figured out how yet.

Minimalist forum

Jarrod Piccioni's Minimalist site has added a forum for discussing such things as minimalist design theory and sharing links.

What's in the middle of top-down and bottom-up?

Lou riffs on Pareto's 80/20 rule, and most intestingly talks about what happens between "topdown" and "bottom-up" IA.

ia-cms list

Peter pointed to this new discussion group for IA's concerned with content management systems.

    This discussion forum is a place where Information Architects, User Experience Designers, Library Scientists and other interested parties can talk about the building and using of Content Management Systems to create application for their audience's needs.
Search interfaces

I'm dropping Liz Danzico's excellent search interface collection here even though it's not very new.

    Typically, users know what they’re searching for even before they choose a search engine over the site’s navigation. In this investigation, I’d like to explore how we can provide a user interface to help them search more effectively before they get started. This investigation is about the ordering and structure of the search fields themselves, not the results, which have been the topic of much discussion already.
UCD list

User-centred design, user interface design, web design, HCI and usability list started by William Hudson of CHI-WEB. Subscription info. and archives here.

Speaking of Gain 2.0

Don't miss this interview with Michael Benedikton his Towards a General Theory of Value. Academic, conceptual, intellectual and very, very smart. Worth wading through if you're interested in creating value through design.

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