January 2006 Archives

Lemurs in the Classroom

Ambient Findability is a required text in this course on Multimedia Writing. That was fast! They sure didn't have courses like this back when I was an undergraduate English major at Tufts University.

Strange Connections

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Information Architecture Summit

The conference and pre-conference programs for the 7th Annual IA Summit are available. I'm teaching a workshop on IA & Findability. And, I'm looking forward to hearing David Weinberger convince an angry horde of information architects that Everything is Miscellaneous. See you in Vancouver!

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Jolt Awards

Software Development magazine has announced the finalists for this year's Jolt Product Excellence and Productivity Awards. Here's the general books category:

Winners will be announced at SD West. May the best O'Reilly book win!

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I stumbled across the social card catalog at the Ann Arbor District Library this weekend. Then, thanks to Superpatron, I found John Blyberg.

Ambient Findability Card Catalog Image

It's good to see librarians are learning from retail and embracing Jenny's vision of libraries as social machines. Does this mean we can write in books?

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Book Rank

Chris McEvoy, the man behind the Userati, has created an interesting new mashup called Book Rank. Here's how it works:

  1. Take a single book from Amazon as a root.
  2. Take the recommended books for that book.
  3. Repeat until you have reached a distance of 20 from the original book.
  4. Add up the number of recommendations for each book.
  5. Calculate BookRank from the Distance, Recommendations, SalesRank.
  6. Display the 250 books with the highest BookRank.

Seems like a useful, novel way to find books.

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My geoweb journey continues with A VerySpatial Podcast. On topic resources include OnPoint, All Things Considered, Where 2.0, and GeoTec.

In related news, ambient findability was mentioned in a recent LA Times magazine article (free registration required):

A key feature of the successful neologism, says Metcalf, is that it is instantly comfortable and familiar, easy to wrap one's tongue around. Thus the seeming inevitability of "regift" and the snowball's-chance of "ambient findability," referring to the pervasive access to even the most esoteric info on which one would, um, snack.

This inspired me to coin spatiosemantic (zero Google hits as of January 16, 2006) which is a mashup that describes the impending collision of space and meaning on the geospatial web. As we increasingly place tags in space in a geocoding frenzy that spans the globe, I'm confident that spatiosemantic (and findability) will soon join labradoodle, podcast, and wiki in the OED.

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Rosenfeld Media

Lou has officially launched Rosenfeld Media.

Rosenfeld Media is a publishing house dedicated to developing short, practical, and useful books on user experience design. Our books will explain the design and research methods that web professionals need to make informed design decisions.

As an advisor, I'm excited by the conversational and collaborative process of defining a new publishing model that breaks down the cardboard wall.

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Endeca in the Library

The NCSU Libraries have announced the first library deployment of Endeca ProFind with Guided Navigation. I expect many libraries will follow suit. It must be an exciting time to be at NCSU. Not only do they have the coolest catalog. They also get to zip around on a Segway Human Transporter.

No wonder everyone wants to be a librarian these days. Speaking of which, I had lunch yesterday with Superpatron (the alter ego of Ed Vielmetti) who's been playing with Ann Arbor's catalog. I especially like his visual wall of books.

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Ambient Findability Image Collection

Inspired by Livia Labate's de.licio.us bibliography, I decided to create (with help from O'Reilly) an Ambient Findability Image Collection on Flickr.

Ambient Findability Images

Feel free to use these visuals (with attribution) in your articles, blogs, and conference presentations. And, if you prefer to blink outside the book, there's still lots of flickry findability fun in the Laughing Lemur Collection.

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Information Interaction in Context

Judging by the CFP and the Programme Committee, the First Symposium on Information Interaction in Context looks very promising:

There is a growing realisation that relevant information will be accessible increasingly across media and genres, across languages and across modalities. The retrieval of such information will depend on time, place, history of interaction, task in hand, and a range of other factors that are not given explicitly but are implicit in the interaction and ambient environment, namely the context.

Looks like the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) will soon be replaced by Human Information Interaction (HII), or at least that's what I'll be arguing in Montreal in April at CHI 2006.

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GeoWeb on NPR

You can now listen to OnPoint's The New Sense of Place and visit the geospatial web links we cited. I'd like to say a special thanks to Rekha Murthy who found me and produced the show. I thought it went very well.

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Lemur is Slashdotted

Mary Norbury-Glaser posted an in-depth book review of Ambient Findability on Slashdot. My favorite passages include:

With the publication of Ambient Findability, O'Reilly Media continues this tradition of giving readers an opportunity to experience the visionary writing of people like Peter Morville.
Peter Morville's Ambient Findability will amaze and delight you. It will give you new insight into how ubiquitous computing is affecting how we find and use information and how we, as users, can and will shape the future of how data is stored and retrieved.

Slashdot today. NPR tomorrow. This is a great start to the new year!

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Year of the Tag

After some year-end ribbing from Gene Smith and David Weinberger, I've chosen the following New Year's Resolution:

I will adopt a kinder, gentler attitude toward tags.

Seriously, my tag bashing past was a reaction to the hyperbole, and not to the phenomenon itself. And I do think the (related tag) clustering algorithms of Flickr, Delicious, and Technorati show promise.

On Flickr, for instance, if I'm describing a photo of a map, I'll probably use map as my tag (7998 photos). But, as a user, I'm likely to search on maps (2426 photos). The first maps cluster guides me to the map clusters, which transport me to the japan-subway-tokyo cluster, which is cool.

Of course, folksonomic success requires a critical mass of user participation and the readiness to relinquish control. Whether tags can cross the chasm to corporate web sites and intranets remains to be seen. But I'm resolved to be optimistic. 2006 will be the year of the tag.

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