Seb's Open Research
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and social software, collected by Sébastien Paquet

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Friday, October 04, 2002
An overview of faceted classification

Peter over at Ease provides a short overview of what's happening these days in faceted classification. Well worth looking at if you're interested in metadata and taxonomies. If I understand correctly, faceted classification consists in choosing several attributes ("facets") and classifying things under particular combinations of values for these attributes. The appeal of this scheme is its combinatorial power that lets it automagically make room for things that don't exist yet. The principles behind faceted classification are nothing new; they go back to Shiyali Ranganathan's work in the early 20th century.

Peter writes:

tool availability is coming, and that's good because that will allow us to experiment and then refine the theory.

Such a bootstrap process is precisely how I think many developments in knowledge architecture will happen. Start off with crude tools, see how they're used in practice, find their faults, reflect, refine, repeat. All the while, pay attention to why popular tools are popular, in order to abstract desirable properties for future tools.

What do you think? []  links to this post    10:05:19 PM  
Documenting unfolding research processes

Sébastien Paquet summarises his thinking about blogs in research in story on Personal knowledge publishing and its uses in research.

Uses of personal knowledge publishing for research:
  • Helping in selecting material
  • Visible web of interpersonal trust
  • Managing personal knowledge
  • Obtaining speedy feedback on ideas
  • Facilitating connections between researchers
  • Clustering content relating to emerging fields
  • Fostering diversity
  • Opening up windows in the Ivory Tower(s)

I like this story not only for the good quality content that provokes thinking and saves time of trying to explain "blogs" to my colleagues, but also for one more thing. For me, as a regular reader of Seb's Open Research it illustrates the evolution of thinking: I recognise "bits of ideas" that I've seen before, and I'm fascinated to see how they emerge into a whole. What could be better for the "researcher-to-be" than observing how someone's thought grows?

From a personal standpoint, writing a blog gives me a way of seeing this evolution unfold in a more conscious manner. But I find it rewarding to see that other people can benefit from the effort as well. As I wrote in Online Communities and the Future of Culture,

More and more of these people realize that good personal contacts will come more easily if they narrate their own work, spread the word about what they're trying to find or achieve, and overtly link their own thoughts with others' thoughts.

This means that, increasingly, new culture -- as a process, not as a product -- is being documented in real-time online by the people who make it. This is a significant departure from the way things have traditionally been working.

The gradual erosion of the "product" mindset is a direct offshoot of the availability of practically unlimited many-to-many communication. A product is a nice package that you can "get" and "consume", and it definitely has its usefulness. But in many ways, processes, as things you can "live" and "take part" in, mean more to most humans.

It's the difference between going at a live music show and listening to a recording of that show. It's the difference engaging a conversation with an author and reading his book. You often get more out of living a process than consuming a product.

Now, we can see and feel human processes, even from a great distance in time or space. And to me it means that there is a potential to be closer together, as people.

The way I categorize people in my link list (on the left) gives Tanya Rabourn the giggles. That's okay. I like to make people laugh. But the serious aspect of this categorization is that it roughly defines how I interface with these people. The question you can read between the lines is: "Are you more process or product?". My preference for one over the other is obvious.

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:42:53 PM  

....It's called the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act and the text is now online. Quoting Boucher: "There is a tidal wave of support growing across the country for rebalancing copyright laws to dignify the rights of users." His bill has already been endorsed by such companies as Intel, Verizon, Sun, and Gateway, and by such organizations as the American Library Association, the Association of American Universities, and the Consumers Union. [FOS News]

What do you think? []  links to this post    8:30:01 PM  
The cost of face-to-face meetings

Meeting Meter. Ever wonder how neat it would be if people only knew how much that long, boring, unproductive meeting was costing them, second-by-second?About fifteen years ago, I realized that what I knew about facilitating games was exactly what I needed to know about facilitating meetings. [DeepFUN Weblog]

Just try the meter. It's an eye-opener. I hope Bernie puts out versions for conference and classroom use.

What do you think? []  links to this post    8:25:32 PM  
2002 Ig Nobel Prizes

2002 Ig Nobel Prizes. I went with my family to the annual Ig Nobel Awards last night. The Ig Nobels, honoring scientific achievements "that cannot or should not be reproduced," are the brainchild of Marc Abrahams, editor of The Annals of Improbable Research, a humor magazine that is somehow related to the old Journal or Irreproducible Results. [JOHO the Blog]

Here's a direct link to the laureates list. I think last year's winners were overall better finds, especially the Technology Ig Nobel:

Awarded jointly to John Keogh of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, for patenting the wheel in the year 2001, and to the Australian Patent Office for granting him Innovation Patent #2001100012.

What do you think? []  links to this post    8:20:54 PM  

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