23 posts categorized "community"

Friday, 27 June 2008

Integrating Social Media into a Web Content Strategy

Here is an excellent Digital Web Magazine article on focusing on your client's needs rather than the technology:Integrating Social Media into a Web Content Strategy

Make it clear that social media is not about technology, nor about keeping up with the latest trend. The primary goal of using social media has to be communication, not technology and not viral marketing. A company has phones because it wants employees to be able to talk to other people, not because it wants to be at the “cutting edge of voice-activated, enterprise digital communication systems”—and not because it wants to call everyone in the phone book with a sales pitch! If the main goal for using social media is to be at the cutting edge of technology, or if your client’s eyes light up when they realize they can use social media to send a mass message to followers, it will fail. Social media is part of a long-term communication strategy to build relationships.

You can replace "Social Media" with any of the latest and greatest tech buzzwords... "AJAX", "Web 2.0", "Cool whiz-bang thingee". The focus should be on the what your client wants to achieve balanced against their customer's needs.

Monday, 13 February 2006

Portals as Concept, Portals as Technology

James Robertson of Step Two Designs, wrote a lengthy and very helpful article on portals titled "Taking a business-centric approach to portals".

There is a clear need to deliver better information management solutions for users and for the business as a whole. The existing mess of overlapping (or even competing) information systems with most organisations must be addressed and resolved.

Enterprise portals may be able to assist with resolving these issues. If they are to succeed, however, organisations must be fully aware of both their strengths and weaknesses (just like any technology).

Most importantly, these projects must be driven by clear staff and organisational needs, as well as a clear vision of the user experience that must be delivered.

Where portal projects are driven solely by IT considerations, they will fail. They do not offer a 'silver bullet', nor will they eliminate the need to better manage the underlying information.

By taking a business-focused (and user-centric) approach to portal projects, organisations can take valuable steps towards the goal of providing a single information environment for staff.

Wednesday, 05 January 2005

the search problem is solvable

In response to the Edge Foundation's annual question for 2005 — "What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?" — Marti Hearst, a computer scientist at UC Berkeley, says The Search Problem is Solvable.

Advances in computational linguistics and user interface design will eventually enable people to find answers to any question they have, so long as the answer is encoded in textual form and stored in a publicly accessible location. Advances in reasoning systems will to a limited degree be able to draw inferences in order to find answers that are not explicitly present in the existing documents.

(via todd vallie)

Thursday, 22 January 2004

history flow

via infodesign:

project from IBM's Collaborative User Experience (CUE) Research Group called History Flow attempts to visually represent the contributions and evolutions of online collaboration.

history flow provides answers at a glance to questions like, Has a community contributed to the text or has it been mostly written by a single author? How much has a particular contributor influenced the current version of the document? Is the text's evolution marked by spurts of intense revision activity or does it reflect a smooth transition from its beginning to the present?


Wikipedia page on "evolution"; each color represents the contribution of a partibular registered author. White and gray represent the contributions of anonymous authors.

the site shows results from analyzing Wikipedia on such aspects of vandalism, author contributions, activity over time, and persistence of contributions.

Monday, 29 December 2003

web-based e-notebooks

paper on JoDI: Implementation Challenges Associated with Developing a Web-based E-notebook

the paper looks at Information Assimilation - they shorten to IA, which confuses me since I think Info Architecture whenever I see 'IA' - the process of

gathering, editing, annotating, organizing, and saving of Web information, as well as the tracking of ongoing Web work processes.

and how browsers are an insufficient tool.

information assimiliation tasks:

  1. Gather Web information (i.e. text, images, lists, tables and hyperlinks)
    by copying and pasting from multiple Web pages into an e-notebook; collect
    archival data pertaining to when and where original Web information was
  2. Edit original Web elements as stored in an e-notebook
  3. Annotate e-notebook contents (i.e. add/delete text, highlight information,
    create cross-references)
  4. Organize e-notebook contents (i.e. control the spatial layout, re-structure,
    combine similar information together, etc.)
  5. Save the contents of an e-notebook
  6. Track (represent) and save ongoing work processes.

my typepad site is pretty much a web-based e-notebook but I'm dependent on the sites I linked to remaining on the web and/or remaining at the same url. the authors look at tools that will allow users to save information (text & images) from the web to their local computer with little effort as well as be able to annotate those pieces of information.

another much needed tool, states the authors, is one that will

help them track, remember and rejoin their ongoing work processes.

the paper goes on to list a number of e-notebook systems that have been developed and to review one of them, NetNotes. they determined that this solution is the best currently available, but still limited.

Wednesday, 03 December 2003

lou and peterv on shirky on the semantic web

follow up to my earlier post on the shirky article

lou rosenfeld posts his take on the article - specifically on metadata

And yet to my complete shock, I increasingly hear the word metadata uttered with the same breathy excitement as such other recent panaceas as push, portals, and personalization. I'm aghast, yet in a sort of ironically pleasant way, as I've had to explain for years and years what metadata is and how it can be an important part of my clients' complete IA breakfast. But where balance of approaches, including metadata, makes sense, we instead encounter an attitude that a single silver bullet will do the trick cleanly and simply.

This all puts "LIS IAs" like me in an increasingly compromising position. With a background in librarianship, I ought to be gaga over metadata, muttering a mantra of "subject, author, title... subject, author, title...". Yet I find myself recommending that extensive investments in metadata be postponed, at least in the enterprise environment, in favor of less expensive and more feasible architectural approaches that won't go down in flames and force my clients into bankruptcy.

he goes on to say that there are 2 types of metadata - structural (attributes) and semantic (descriptive values that populate the attributes) and both "require an extensive investment to think through, develop, implement, and, perhaps most importantly, maintain" as information needs shift and evolve.

not to metion the difficulty in getting the departments of an organization to agree to both the attributes and their values. lou created a diagram to illustrate the reality of "structural interoperability and semantic merging".

and then there's peter van dijck's review of the ensuing discussion where he digs out the major themes and provides snippets of comments to support them. The themes he found are:

  • What Is It
  • Top Down Bottom Up
  • Ontology Of Everything
  • The Simple Life
  • It Is Growing
  • RDF Versus XML
  • Real World Value
  • Here Today
  • Useful While We Are Get There
  • Clay Misunderstands Syllogisms
  • Doer Versus Talker

some highlights:

Top Down Bottom Up -

The second part of the top down approach, according to Shirky, is that semantic web people want to create top-down ontologies. Shirky really misses the ball here - most proponents of the semantic web don't believe in a global ontology.

RDF vs. XML -

Most people agree that RDF is kind of complex. Many people think it's not useful to use something so complex when they can do the same thing in simple XML without worrying about RDF. RDF is seen by some as an overly complex technology, trying to solve a problem XML and HTTP already solve.

Here Today -
from alex wright

Shirky nonetheless bases his argument on a central fallacy: the Semantic Web as monolith, as a single "thing" to be opposed or supported.

The Semantic Web is not an all-or-nothing proposition; it is a rubric describing a set of distinct (though related) technologies - RDF, FOAF, OWL, RSS, XML - all of which are designed to improve machine-to-machine communication [...].

And those technologies, like it or not, are already here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2003

taxonomy resources

i'm thorwing out my stack of articles i've printed out for future reference so here are the links. most of these are from research i did for my boss.

Extracting Value from Automated Classification Tools
Little Blue Folders

What Is A Controlled Vocabulary
All About Facets & Controlled Vocabularies
Unraveling the Mysteries of metadata and taxonomies

A Taxonomy Primer
2 Presentations

Mind your phraseology! Using controlled vocabularies to improve findability

search for 'taxonomy' on the CHI-WEB list archives

dmoz : knowledge management

metacrap - always a goodie!

Unlocking Knowledge Assets - Chapter 6: Building Taxonomies

Thursday, 13 November 2003

shirky on the semantic web

The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview

clay shirky says the semantic web won't work b/c it needs true statements in order to be effective.

In the real world, we are usually operating with partial, inconclusive or context-sensitive information. When we have to make a decision based on this information, we guess, extrapolate, intuit, we do what we did last time, we do what we think our friends would do or what Jesus or Joan Jett would have done, we do all of those things and more, but we almost never use actual deductive logic.
Syllogisms sound stilted in part because they traffic in absurd absolutes. Consider this gem from Dodgson:

- No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste
- No modern poetry is free from affectation
- All your poems are on the subject of soap-bubbles
- No affected poetry is popular among people of real taste
- No ancient poetry is on the subject of soap-bubbles

This, of course, allows you to conclude that all your poems are bad.

This 5-line syllogism is the best critique of the Semantic Web ever published, as its illustrates the kind of world we would have to live in for this form of reasoning to work, a world where language is merely math done with words. Actual human expression must take into account the ambiguities of the real world, where people, even those with real taste, disagree about what is interesting or affected, and where no poets, even the most uninteresting, write all their poems about soap bubbles.

(dodgson is charles dodgson or better known as lewis carroll)

for the semantic web to happen proponents of it say content needs to be marked up so it can be connected to other content and to users.

If the sole goal of the Semantic Web were pervasive markup, it would be nothing more than a "Got meta-data?" campaign -- a generic exhortation for developers to do what they are doing anyway. The second, and larger goal, however, is to take up the old Artificial Intelligence project in a new context.

After 50 years of work, the performance of machines designed to think about the world the way humans do has remained, to put it politely, sub-optimal. The Semantic Web sets out to address this by reversing the problem. Since it's hard to make machines think about the world, the new goal is to describe the world in ways that are easy for machines to think about.

Descriptions of the Semantic Web exhibit an inversion of trivial and hard issues because the core goal does as well. The Semantic Web takes for granted that many important aspects of the world can be specified in an unambiguous and universally agreed-on fashion, then spends a great deal of time talking about the ideal XML formats for those descriptions. This puts the stress on the wrong part of the problem -- if the world were easy to describe, you could do it in Sanskrit.

in response to enforcing smeantics on human relationships as seen in sites like friendster.com:

Trying to express implicit and fuzzy relationships in ways that are explicit and sharp doesn't clarify the meaning, it destroys it.

In an echo of Richard Gabriel's Worse is Better argumment, the Semantic Web imagines that completeness and correctness of data exposed on the web are the cardinal virtues, and that any amount of implementation complexity is acceptable in pursuit of those virtues. The problem is that the more semantic consistency required by a standard, the sharper the tradeoff between complexity and scale. It's easy to get broad agreement in a narrow group of users, or vice-versa, but not both.

The systems that have succeeded at scale have made simple implementation the core virtue, up the stack from Ethernet over Token Ring to the web over gopher and WAIS. The most widely adopted digital descriptor in history, the URL, regards semantics as a side conversation between consenting adults, and makes no requirements in this regard whatsoever: sports.yahoo.com/nfl/ is a valid URL, but so is The fact that a URL itself doesn't have to mean anything is essential -- the Web succeeded in part because it does not try to make any assertions about the meaning of the documents it contained, only about their location.

Tuesday, 21 October 2003

employee blog policy

ray ozzie posts Groove Networks' policy on employee blogs

it offers a nice set of guidelines such as making sure it is stated clearly the the views you express are yours alone and do not represent the company.

Friday, 17 October 2003

lou's eia presentations

lou rosenfeld has posted his presentations for KM World/Intranets 2003 Conference:

Enterprise IA Design talk

Enterprise IA Framework talk

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