Finding ambience

June 21, 2006 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

And yet More notes from Ambient Findability by Peter Morville.

p 131 Morville rehashes here many topics from Information Architectureincluding ontologies, controlled vocabularies, faceted and polyhierarchical classification.  The structure of an expression in RDF, or Resource Description Framework is a collection of triples: subject, predicate, and object….allow an infinite array of typed relationships.  See "What is RDF?" by Bray and the metadata schema developed by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) = Dublin Core Metadata Standard.

p 133 Why have RDF and Dublin core, etc. failed to change the messy world of Findability?  "Our primary organizing principles are…piles and files.  We pile stuff on our desks, tables, floors, (I love this) linear graphs in reverse chronological order.  We file stuff in cabinets and folders and directories, simple taxonomies instantiated analogously in atoms and bits….many of the world's largest corporate web sites still reply primarily on the rudimentary hierarchical model of buckets within buckets.

Ontology, in philosophy, refers to the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of reality and the basic categories of existence. Most categories we employ in everyday life are defined by fuzzy cognitive models rather than objective rules….members may be related without sharing any common property….membership gradience and centrality: some categories have degrees of memberships, and some are better examples than others….the ways we categorize are rooted in language and culture.

p 134 "Sorting things out" Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star, "Eash standard and each category valorizes some point of view and silences another.  This is not inherently a bad thing – indeed it is inescapable.  But it is an ethical choice, and as such it is dangerous – not bad but dangerous."

Folksonomy = mob indexing.  The notion of people using computers to collaborate can be traced to the memex of Vannevar Bush, which allowed people to share trails in hypertext. "Tracing the evolution of Social Software" Christopher Allen.  'Social software' term used first by nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler at Hypertext '87 conference: A system that enables users to automatically display some links and hide others (based on user-selected criteria) is filtered hypertext.  This implies support for what may be termed social software, including voting and evaluation schemes that provide criteria for later filtering….The possibilities for hypertext-based social software seem broad.

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Entry filed under: Ambient Findability.

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