jibbajabba's blog

Data dictionary and technical metadata for digital still images

NISO has released a draft of Z39.87, the Data Dictionary for Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images. NISO collaborated with the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) in the development of this standard.

According to the announcement, two overarching goals led NISO and AIIM to develop this data dictionary. The first is to identify the data elements that would be used by applications to control transformations of images against stated metrics (or “anchors”) for meaningful quality attributes such as detail, tone, color, and size. The second is to propose elements that would be used by digital repository managers, curators, or imaging specialists to assess the current aesthetic and functional values of a given image or collection of images. The purpose of this data dictionary is to define a standard set of metadata elements for digital images. Standardizing the information will allow users to develop, exchange, and interpret digital image files. The dictionary has been designed to facilitate interoperability between systems, services, and software as well as to support the long-term management of and continuing access to digital image collections.

Inmagic Classifier whitepaper

Inmagic has published "Taxonomy & Content Classification", a free white paper (registration required) authored by the Delphi Group, to support the sale of their Classifier software, "...an out-of-the-box solution that provides classification technology based on semantic and syntactic knowledge". Not sure what syntactic knowledge is, since syntax has to do with the structure/arrangement of elements (words, phrases and sentences) in language.

Start now: Develop with users

Macromedia article by Jared Braiterman on practicing user-centered design.

Lack of time, resources and knowledge are often cited as reasons for not involving users in site design and development. But hour for hour, dollar for dollar, research and testing with users are the single best tools for creating successful interactive services.

This article, and the accompanying resources, provide you with a starting point for including your users in all phases of site development, including strategy and design. The time to design with users is now.

Thanks, xblog

Text sizing

Finding a consistent way to render text on web browsers without forcing fixed sizes in pixels is no cake walk. So Owen of Noodle Incident created an incredible collection of screen captures (264 of them!) to show how text is rendered in different browsers on different platforms and using different methods in order to try to figure out the best method for achieving consistency.

Thanks, webgraphics.

How it works: Self-checkout

I haven't blogged any of the info graphics in the NYTimes Circuits section for a while. This one is particularly fun. This Flash motion graphic with audio shows how the process of self-checkout works in a grocery store. The graphic steps you through the process of initiating a checkout session and explains how scanning, weighing, paying, etc. work and how stores deal with theft issues. Really neat stuff. I haven't seen it around my neighborhood yet, but seems like fun.

Taskz's top 10 sites for consumer research and statistics

Taskz.com's latest top 10 list is for Consumer Research and Statistics Sites.

Map of fetishes

Hmmm, here's a racy info graphic. Matt's newsletter pointed to Katharine Gates' map of fetishes (warning: racy material). It's quite nice. Katharine uses boxes and regions to establish categories and subcategories and connects elements with lines to show established links across fetish categories. Clicking on one of the fetish regions in the map will bring up a page with a rich description of that fetish.

If there were a sweeps week for weblogs, perhaps this would be my pathetic attempt to draw attention to ia/ with subject matter. Did you know there is an established fetish category centered around body inflation? You know, like that purple girl in Willie Wonka. Who knew?

XFML, Exchangable Faceted Metadata Language

Peter told me a little about XFML this week. It's being developed as a language based on XML to allow the exchange of specific metadata, e.g. exchanging facets/categories of description between blogs. There is also a discussion group.

Fear of Design

I love Christina's essay "Fear of Design" in B&A. In it she reminds that IA is in fact design. And as designers we defend our design concepts/decisions and necessarily feel the pain when our work is shot down. Go read the discussions, take comfort in your community, feel better about who you are and what you do.

Faucet Facets: Best practices for multifaceted navigation

In "Faucet Facets", Jeffrey Veen proposes that there are better alternatives to rigid hierarchies (i.e. those that don't support multiple parents or broad terms (i.e. polyhierarchy)). Faceted classification being all the rage with IAs these days, he proposes best practices for designing navigation based on a faceted approach.

Veen offers a few examples of search interfaces that offer options based on categories for classifiying products. The Kohler faucet search is a decent one. Different aspects of faucets are presented as search facets. The pool of available faucets is narrowed down based on the selection of descriptors selected under each facet. Veen stresses the importance of allowing your users continual access to these facets in their search process in order to continue narrowing down their results without having to start their search over.

Finding usable and effective ways to surface the classfication fields in a database structure is one thing to consider. When you look at the experimental facet matrix interface of the Flamenco Browser, you see the challenge that a rich set of facets presents. But, in my opinion, creating the metadata schema and developing the facets and terms is the really time consuming and costly stuff.

The faceted approach has been shown lately using products as examples, e.g. wine and faucets. Products are a nice and easy kind of object/entity to use as an example. But taking a faceted approach with documents presents much more of a challenge, especially when it comes to the description of abstract facets such as subject. Descriptions based on observable empirical data should pose little problem (product/document name, date of publication, etc.), but what concerns me is how you enable clients to arrive at facets based on aboutness descriptions -- this is no small task when it comes to documents. Suggesting to your client that a facet-based classfication will aid in the discovery of their objects/entities is a good idea. Giving them the means to classify those objects is another. And perhaps this is where the meat of your services come in. Do you do this work for them or do you give them the means to do it themselves. I guess the approach depends on the corpus of stuff you need to describe and the ability of your client to invest in classification and take on the ongoing task of classifying. I'd be interesting in hearing about people's experiences with enabling clients to do this sort of work.

London Underground Isometrics

On interconnected, Matt pointed to this collection of London Underground diagrams including some nice isometrics. You might have to check back later, though, because the site appears to have reached its download limits.

Evolving ia/ design

In response to feedback, the default theme has been redesigned. I hope to create additional themes that will let you see the blogdex links, but don't expect to do that this week. If your screen shows an ugly style-less version of this page, please reload the screen or select the "rokaku" theme from your account options and save. And of course, feedback (positive and negative) is appreciated as always.-m

Nielsen report: Design lacking in e-tail sites

This News.com article reports/advertises an NN/g report that tests retail sites against Nielsen's usability guidelines. This year LLBean was tops (Amazon wasn't tested).

"If we continue at this rate for the next 15 years, we will reach a level that we really want to be at," Nielsen said. "Fifteen years is a long time to wait to get good services on the Internet, but in the big picture, this is a new technology, and whenever anything else was invented, it took a while to get it right."

E-tailers Grow More Consumer Friendly

The NY Times covers the Consumer Reports Magazine report, "Progress and trends in online shopping".

The report, which is available free on the site, focuses on the privacy policies, usability and product information of about 260 online merchants, and concludes that the state of e-shopping is significantly better than it was in late 1999, when new e-tailers were starting up daily.

A client-side Web agent for document categorization

This article in Internet Research is not available to non-subscribers. Get thee to the university library.

Journal: Internet Research, v8n5, 1998, p387-399
Author: Boley, Daniel; Gini, Maria; Hastings, Kyle; Mobasher, Bamshad; Moore, Jerry

A client-side agent for exploring and categorizing documents on the World Wide Web is proposed. As the user browses the Web using a usual Web browser, this agent is designed to aid the user by classifying the documents the user finds most interesting into clusters. The agent carries out the task completely automatically and autonomously, with as little user intervention as the user desires. The principal novel components in this agent that make it possible are a scalable hierarchical clustering algorithm and a taxonomic label generator. In this paper, the overall architecture of this agent is described and the details of the algorithms within its key components are discussed.

Google voice search

While trying to find out what Google intends to do with the Voice Search they're testing out in the labs I came across a bbs posting where someone uncovered the following blurb from Google's press releases:

Partnering with BMW to provide voice-activated access to Google in upcoming Internet-ready automobiles. Search terms can be spoken into the car's speakerphone, and search results are quickly presented on a built-in LCD screen, or on a user's Internet-ready mobile phone.

Apparently they're using their users to test the voice recognition system. Pretty cool implications for the evolution Internet interfaces -- and the need to design them well -- I think.

Industry leaders on transformative technology and innovation

In By Design: Wisdom from the Industry, New Architect asks "...16 of your peers about the technologies and innovations that are changing their jobs." Among them are Don Norman, Jesse James Garrett, Evan Williams and Charles F. Goldfarb.

J R R Tolkien was an information architect

Gerry McGovern on Tolkien as an IA.

Information architecture is concerned with the organization and layout of content. It is a discipline that has evolved over centuries, finding its roots in writing and printing. J R R Tolkien was a master information architect. He created complex genealogical and geographical architectures. If you want to master information architecture you need to acquire the type of skills Tolkien exhibits.

Taxonomic Distress

Lane Becker at Adaptive Path writes about the challenge of developing effective taxonomies for web-facing businesses in the first of a series of articles discussing how to develop them. He gives a few examples, (one attributed to Amy J. Warner) and brief discussions about why taxonomies are important for business web sites and why they are a challenge to work with. He indicates that he will discuss how he deals with more pragmatic issues (synonymy, relationships) in his coming essays.

Using Wireframes

Christina found Nam Ho Park's Using Wireframes discussion on his Strange Systems blog.

Wireframes serve a central function in communicating the content and layout of each web page for internal discussion and client review as well as a blueprint from which graphic designers and web developers will derive final designs. It's importance, roles and implementations are discussed in this article.

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