Folksonomy works well with others?

Here is a post about a library of congress report that we all might find pretty interesting. To copy from the blog which copies from the summary:

The following statistics attest to the popularity and impact of the pilot. As of October 23, 2008,
there have been:
• 10.4 million views of the photos on Flickr.
• 79% of the 4,615 photos have been made a “favorite” (i.e., are incorporated into personal
Flickr collections).
• More than 15,000 Flickr members have chosen to make the Library of Congress a
“contact,” creating a photostream of Library images on their own accounts.
• 7,166 comments were left on 2,873 photos by 2,562 unique Flickr accounts.
• 67,176 tags were added by 2,518 unique Flickr accounts.
• 4,548 of the 4,615 photos have at least one community-provided tag.
• Less than 25 instances of user-generated content were removed as inappropriate.
• More than 500 Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) records have been
enhanced with new information provided by the Flickr Community.

Kinda cool, no?

Comments off

Lib O’Congress on flickr

THE Library of Congress is posting images to flickr.

The LOC is uploading images to flickr and inviting viewers to add tags. The goal is to share images, to experiment with socially constructed taxonomies, and to start wading among the people of the tubes.

The LOC is following these general guidelines with respect to annotation of the images the post on flickr:
We placed only one tag (“Library of Congress”) and two machine tags on each photo when we loaded them. Any other tags you see were added by the community; we are generally not controlling the content of Flickr tags, notes and comments, but we reserve the right to remove added content for any reason.  

The project has been a success, according to the LOC — many people have participated in annotating the images with comments, tags, and notes.  Here’s an example of an image that has been viewed more than 85,000 times and has much of annotation from viewers:

Comments off

Tags and Mashups

While poking around the mashups of (via my ISSD class) I found a neat mashup. Cloudalicious! For fun I entered the ischool URL.
The site lists the first 10 tags as: education, information, ischool, berkeley, ucberkeley, research, school, gradschool, technology, and library.

What do you think? Are they good/relevant/correct/useful?

Comments off

Tagging with pictures | Tagging the physical world.

At the risk of fanning political flames, this jpg was just sent to me via email. If you move past the humor and politics of the photo, it seems salient to today’s topic of tagging. Specifically, using the characteristics we collectively/culturally ascribe to trains of varying types to tag each of the presidential/vice-presidential candidates. It was done visually instead of with words (modern, green, fast, powerful, coal powered, archaic, plastic, child’s toy). Are these “good” tags? I think guys named Nick who went to Amherst (the h is silent) would say yes.

Election Trains

After I stopped laughing, this made me wonder if there were already a system tagging things with pictures out there. I did not find any with a quick google search. Just a number of whitepapers.

However, I did find Tonchidot.

While not specifically related to using images to tag other images or ideas, they are developing an iPhone app that adds tags to the images the camera sees in real time. They take community tags and make them mobile in a very compelling way. Want to know what type of flower that is? Tree? Year a building you are looking at was made, who designed it? Which store at the mall has the thing you want to buy? How many stars the restaurant you are looking at has on yelp? When the next bart is arriving at your station? Find a lower price for something in a different store. Purchase something via the phone. Leave a message for a friend to pick up by walking by a specific place.

Tagging a specific location is also possible. This reminds me of William Gibson’s book Spook Country. One aspect of the storyline was the development of location based digital art installations. In order to see a specific digitally created piece you needed specially made hardware (eyeglass digital display) and a computer. You also needed to be in a specific geo-spatial location. Now, you’ll just need your iPhone.

One of the things an artist in the book said reminds me of the potential of Tonchidot’s technology. Imaging traveling across the country and seeing a whole 2nd landscape that covers, interacts, and integrates with the physical world. Offering different things to see, information about what you’re seeing, directions to get there, prices for goods/services (who would not love to know the cheapest place to get gas?). And of course a whole new opportunity for advertising and spam.

Maybe that’s the problem with spam. No ontological control.

The video is about 18mins long and worth watching. There is a particularly interesting practical question around the 14:15 min mark.

Comments (4)

Physicist != Alchemist

This comic from User Friendly does a very good (and funny) job of representing two groups clashing in the process of creating vocabulary and defining words. Each group has it’s own definition for a common word that is a misrepresentation (or partial representation) of what the word means to the other group.

This shows one facet of dealing with word definition and categories: agreement of meaning. Physicist and alchemist are more specifically defined in that they are not really interchangeable. Here they are used to make a point. Hacker and cracker have differing definitions, but cracker in this context is used in a way that most outside the hacker community would not differentiate. Within the community it is a very important distinction. This also shows the ‘living’ aspect of language in the changing definitions pre-existing words (hacker and cracker).

Comments (1)

Taxonomic Tagging

One of the problems with tagging is that the terms used can be ambiguous. Zigtag is a startup which offers delicious-style social bookmarking, but pairs it with a collection of meaningful tags. When a user goes to apply a tag, the system looks it up in their taxonomy and presents a list of matching entries from the taxonomy along with the meaning of each.

They do not currently have a tag specifically for i202’s syllabus.

Comments off

The Proto-Web

Apparently, Paul Otlet came up with what is arguably the first iteration of the World Wide Web in 1934, the Mundaneum. Located in Belgium, it’s comprised of millions of 3 by 5 index cards stored in thousands of boxes. It never fully took off because of funding problems and the German invasion of Belgium during the World War. The article doesn’t describe in full detail how the system is implemented, but one thing that stands out is its revised version of hypertext, which differs from standard hypertext in that a link can indicate whether or not other links are similar to itself. Professor Buckland describes the Semantic Web as being “rather Otlet-ish.” The ill-lived story of the Mundaneum could prove to be a lesson to learn about the Semantic Web and whether or not it will fail depending on the way that it is structured and the labor that it will require. 

Relevant Lecture: The Semantic Web 

Comments off

Lines and Bubbles and Bars, Oh My!

New York Times, Aug. 30, 2008

Many Eyes is a web service much like YouTube and Flickr, only instead of being able to share and tag photos, users can create, share, and tag visualizations of data. The tools used to generate graphical displays of data organization range from text clouds highlighting words most frequently used in a document or speech to creating more traditional circle and bar graphs, but the coolest part is how users are able to discuss the data and representation of the data in comments and how they can post their data representations to their own blogs or websites.

The part that struck me most in the article was the example of how a discussion in the comments lead to the data in question being represented in a different way, thereby leading to a slightly different conclusion.

Relevant lectures: Classification; Documents and Data Models… and Modeling; Social/Distributed Categorization

And as a bonus link incorporating cool data visualization: Debunking myths about the “Third World”

Comments (1)

Mozilla Ubiquity

Mozilla Ubiquity is a new Firefox extension which adds a command-line interface to Firefox–for instance, you can email the current page by bringing up the command line and typing ’email this to Joe’, insert Google maps in emails without leaving the page, and eventually hopefully ‘post this page to i202 blog with tags mashups, web 2.0, integration, folksonomy’. New commands can be developed by anyone and subscribed to as you see fit. I think it’s compelling in the same way as Launchy—it’s fast and it enables you to work with basically any web service from any page without using the mouse. I’m also interested in natural-language search, which Ubiquity uses. Basically, their goal is to allow information retrieval with verbs, not nouns.

Class session: 21. Search Models and UI for IR

Comments off