Practical Taxonomies: Stop Searching - Start Finding

My office mates, Dave Goessling and Raphael Lasar, are giving the presentation, "Creating and implementing an effective taxonomy" at ARK Group's taxonomy seminar at Le Parker Meridien in New York, NY on 18-20 November 2002. A PDF for the "Practical Taxonomies" seminar is available for the rest of the program from ARK's conferences page. Other speakers include Amy Warner and knowledge managers from various financial institutions, government agencies, and other large corporations.

Ranganathan

Is it me, or does anyone else find it interesting that everyone's so interested in Ranganathan lately. Seen in the news aggregator in the last few weeks:

  • Ranganathan for IA's -- Facet analysis is the term that everyone's dying to use. But, the basic idea of facets can be groked in about 2 minutes.
  • Peter V pointed to Fred Liese's article, "Using Faceted Classification to Assist Indexing", which is one of the best introductions to facet analysis and its practical approach in indexing that I've seen next to Louise Spiteri's articles. Liese compares enumerative to facet-based classification, defines facets in simple terms and provides very practical tips for developing your facets and using them in indexing.
  • Prolegomena to Library Classification -- It's more interesting that people are reading this sort of material. I wasn't surprised to find that Peter was reading it. He appears to be making his way through a lot of classification literature. I wonder how people might apply what they learn from examining Ranganathan's ideas around colon classification. I think the general idea here has to do with the flexibility of classification using his system rather than using a rigid system like the Dewey Decimal system. Also I think the concepts behind his system can better be used for post-coordination of classes.
A Taxonomy Primer

I came across Amy Warner's article "A Taxonomy Primer" on her consulting site. Should be a helpful primer for people being introduced to the concepts associated with using thesauri.

Scent of a webpage

I found Jared Spool's 9/18/2002 presentation "Scent of a Web Page (PDF accesible only to NYC-CHI members)" to be very useful, even without the context of his speaking notes. There are some great suggestions about how to layout and describe page objects to ensure good scent. Also some interesting conclusions that good layout and good scent support findability better than pogosticking and search.

Lazyweb idea: Yahoo! Groups as RSS

I'm procrastinating because I'm supposed to be preparing a Power Point presentation.

Here's an idea -- call it my lazyweb idea 2, idea 1 was for a blogdex of IA blogs -- why doesn't Yahoo! produce RSS feeds for their Yahoo! Groups? That way I could aggregate new feeds from certain groups without having to get emails from them. It's not a killer, but I live off of my news aggregator and I'm starting to hate email lately.

You know, come to think of it, I know it's possible to set up an email address that Radio Userland can use for posting to a Radio blog. Maybe there's even such a method on Drupal. Maybe I'll try that one day. That way I can put all of my email list mail into a news aggregator rather than have to go to my mail client to read it. Hmmm. Anyone do anything like this yet?

3d music ZUI

Braunarts' 3d music (requires Shockwave plugin) is an interteractive performance that blends music and a zoomable interface to create a 3 dimensional environment in which people explore the musical compositions. Interesting, but somehow, I feel uncomfortable in 3d or ZUI web environments like this. It's funny, because I used to play video games that rendered space in 2d and 3d and felt comfortable enough in those spaces, knowing that there was a goal to arrive at -- destroying the Death Star or getting around that pylon to shoot a tank down -- but exploring 3d spaces with ZUI's on the web just seems so slow and boring to me. Somehow something gets lost for me in the translation of the experience from the gaming world.

Catalogablog

Catalogablog is David Bigwood's weblog. I presume he's a cataloger since he's talking about MARC fields. He's also discusses metadata more generally for you non LIS types.

Alertbox: Making Flash Usable for Users With Disabilities

NN/G report summary on making Flash usable with MX.

    Flash designs are easier for users with disabilities to use when designers combine visual and textual presentations, minimize incessant movement, decrease spacing between related objects, and simplify features.
Story telling in web design

Victor and Joshua are both talking about story telling as a method for communicating possible actions or paths when interacting with web sites. Victor mentioned an IBM seminar he attended about story telling. Haven't done much reading in this area and would cetainly like to learn more if I can find the most salient literature. I did find Curt Cloninger's A List Apart article, a Case for Story Telling to be interesting as well. Cloninger makes the case for considering the narrative possibilities when designing for the web as a communications medium. He's right, web sites are often not just databases and the design should consider aspects of human experiences with sites not merely as transactional database interactions as such. I like Victor's process of mapping actions or attributes of the narrative to interactions with the site. Interesting. More obvious I guess is the development of the characters, plot, setting, etc. and flowing that into elements of design process -- personas/characters, scenarios.

Faceted metadata authoring tool

XFMLManager is a free authoring tool for hierarchical, faceted metadata. It is not yet available. We will also host the upcoming Hierarchical Faceted Metadata Authoring Experiment.

Google needs people

Peter Morville discusses why Google Needs People and people need Google.

    The reigning emperor of search caused a stir recently by launching a beta version of Google News that features integrated access to 4,000 continuously-updated news sources. Two lines on the main page were responsible for much of the ruckus:

    "This page was generated entirely by computer algorithms without human editors.

    No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page."

Truth be told, as Peter relates in his article, without humans, Google results wouldn't be so relevant and undoubtedly, it's news feeds would suffer as well:

    Similarly, the potential of Google News lies in its ability to leverage the distributed intelligence of thousands of editors and reporters. No editors. No reporters. No Google News. Without the continuing engagement of humans, Google is dead. End of story.
And truth be told, most people probably don't care how Google works its wonders, as long as it continues to work as well as it does. What would make a lot of bloggers happy, I'm sure, is if Google went an extra step to making its news results available using some API or RSS syndication. I know Julian Bond did some playing with that, which I'm already using in ia/ news feeds, but how long can it last? I'm sure Google doesn't want to hide its services in such a way.

Gelertner on KM

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.

Drupal now does trackback, so ia/ does too

There's now a trackback URL for each blog entry. Check the small text below each blog entry. Also fixed some problems that were causing email notifications not be sent and news feeds not to update since the beginning of the week. All should be well again today.

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.