13:51 11/06/2004 Mathemagenic: Mathemagenic
...giving birth to learning...


  Friday, February 28, 2003

  Time for fun

I see many tempting posts in my news aggregator, but I had meetings for the whole day and I have to leave soon: this weekend is for carnival in Maastricht :)

More on: life 

  Thursday, February 27, 2003

  Teaching experiences: past and future

Played with Vivisimo search engine [via Seb's Open Research] that clusters documents next to search, did ego searching, had fun. Found a lot of artefacts of my teaching in Russia: web-based training course web-site, students' projects (I loved this one - Web usability for HRs).  Got nostalgic :)

If things go right I might get into distance teaching: KM course for Russian HR practitioners. Definitely I'm thinking about using blogs. Does anyone has experience of using blogs next to LMS/course environment?


  BlogTalk proposal submitted

Ready! I submitted BlogTalk proposal and posted it on-line as well - Blogs: the stickiness factor.

In this paper I intend to apply the framework I try to develop in my PhD research (no references yet) to compare bloggers and "would be bloggers". When I hope to find what inhibits adoption of blogs by "would be bloggers" and suggest what can be done about it.

Many of the points that I'm going to touch are discussed in the blogosphere, so I don't expect to find many new ideas. I'd like to get a snapshot of practice to see if we are right or there is something missing.

Next steps:

  • finish and review the questionnaire
  • get answers (could be a challenging task to find "would be adopters :)
  • find appropriate writing style
  • analyse-write-revise
  • make a page with extra resources and references

I also hope to find something to answer Matt Mover's questions about klogging context 

Expanding on my thoughts of a couple of days ago I am still wondering:  What is the specific context in which someone who is not a k-log enthusiat, believer, etc... will actually use a k-log?

  Difficult writing for BlogTalk

I thought it would be easier... I'm struggling to find the right tone for the BlogTalk proposal. From one side I tend to speak blogging language and to use "I" as I would do in my blog. From another side, I'm writing a paper, so I'm falling into academic writing style. I guess it's because I try to put together my passion and more objective "data-analysis-conclusions" style...

Next to it it’s not clear for me do I write for the web or for print? In the first case I can rely heavily on links (blogging style), while in the second text has to be more self-explaining (paper style). What do I do with references? Do I link to “The Tipping point” (and others) or should I provide proper reference? Now it’s only proposal, but I have to make choices for the final version. May be I will end up with having extended version with all “background” links in my blog and referring to it from the paper.

The worst thing is that I still have to collect the data :) The good thing is that the questionnaire is almost ready, in the blogosphere things go fast and I don't need everything to submit proposal :)))

More on: blogs writing 

  Thursday, February 20, 2003

  Blogs and innovation

Interview: Maish - elearningpost [Learning Circuits Blog]

Maish: I guess the aspect of highlighting trends is built into the fabric of blogs. Let me explain. There is this wonderful article in Harvard Business Review titled "Building an Innovation Factory" by Andrew Hargadon and Rob Sutton (June-July 2000). This article describes the innovation process as analyzed in many industries:

1) Constantly Capture ideas
2) Keep these alive
3) Explore new uses for them
4) Build prototypes to test them out

These four steps highlight the implicit relationship between a blog and its authors/readers. From my experience, a blog captures ideas and keeps it alive (steps 1 & 2). But the blog also gives the authors/readers something back--a fertile ground to explore new uses and opportunities to build and experiment with prototypes.

More on: blogs innovation 

  Wednesday, February 19, 2003

  Macromedia blogging

Ed Krimen shares the insider insight on Macromedia blogs (bold is mine)

Companies like Macromedia don't normally use blogs to communicate with customers.

We had some explaining to do. For example, Blogger co-founder Meg Hourihan, found it a little disturbing at first. She brought up many issues we had considered, and some that we hadn't. Most notably, she points out that we don't even link to the blogs from macromedia.com. Honestly, you may find this surprising, but it's true: our intent was to get the information out to our customers as quickly as we could—that's why we did the blogs in the first place. Everything else was secondary. We really didn't have an elaborate, detailed strategy to these blogs. If we had spent time discussing where the links on our site should be before we got the blogs set up, we would have lost time we needed to spend communicating with you.

Let's see how many others will follow...

More on: blogs in business 

  what can we do to make blogs stick?

Spike Hall about the need for edublogs critical mass:

Now it's moved to evangelism, to a greater commitment. We're all writing, speaking, selling, thinking, convening. And wondering. The early returns aren't great. As George Siemens says "...it is frustrating to stay in unrealized potentialities too long." Everyone loves the idea, but relatively few have put it into practice. In a response to George, Sebastien Paquet notes that
Sociological change is slow... I'm skeptical that such a big change will take place on a large scale in educational settings before significant pressure is exerted from the outside (i.e. blogging students learn more from blogging than from school, come to class knowing more than their professors, stop going to class...)

And I tend to agree that change is slow. But I don't agree that it will take such drastic measures to bring this mainstream. I think it's incumbent on teachers and professors to bring the technology to students, not vice versa. (And that list of Educator Web loggers is growing, by the way.) It has to come from inside, from us. And since we're the ones who realize the potential, we need to hasten the tipping point by making sure we have at the ready resources and support for the converts we bring into the fold.

I'm working on the BlogTalk paper and I'm targetting the same question: what can we do to make blogs stick? I'm thinking of running a short questionnaire for it, so I'll be back for your help.

How comes that Spike and me are thinking in the same direction so many times? :)))

More on: blogs stickiness 

  One more technical Q: How to make full text RSS in MT?

Does anyone using Movable Type can help Jay Cross  to make full text posts (and not "teasers") availiable in RSS? [context is between comments here]

More on: MovableType 

  Lack of project data accessibility study

Intel IT research white paper Information Overload: Inaccessible Data and a Knowledge Management Solution (bold is mine)

Problem: lack of project data accessibility

Date collection: semi-structured interviews (questionnaire is included) with users of project documents at different organisational levels and job functions

Inhibitors of finding documents

  • Many document repositories exist. "Different groups used these repositories in different fashions and without a consistent process for depositing documents in any of the repositories".
  • Lack of communication about "where the documents were stored and what other document repositories exist".
  • Current location of a document is not known.
  • "Information was not well archived with proper revision controls, resulting in the original version of the documents often being inaccessible and sometimes nonexistent".
  • Documents are mailed around and not posted to a common repository.
  • Users rely on finding people involved in the project to find project information. These people could be busy or hard to find.
  • Documents could be too long to be useful.


  • Waste of paper, disk space and time
  • Rework because of (1) changed, but not communicated requirements, or (2) inconsistent interpretation of requirements
  • "In general people tended to share information only at its end state, when it was ready for consumption, and not during discovery" -> duplication of efforts
  • Searching results in a significant loss of time
  • "The difficulty in accessing the right information created a new behaviour trend for some users: They sought out information in meetings"
  • "When documents were not easily accessible, users could get only a snapshot of the environment unless they knew whom to ask. To resolve this problem, specific groups or projects established unique processes to address this problem".


  • User segmentation is number one priority
  • Different user needs regarding depth of the document (management summary vs. data about reasons for a specific decision made before). Two user segments were identified: "technical expertise" and "support and environment".
  • "Interviewees rarely had an inclusive picture of the different ways the project documents were used"
  • Proposed user segmentation for further investigation: role or job function, prior experience, geographical location.


  • Understanding users with the proposed segmentation
  • Improving finding documents
    • Single repository with revision control and posting process + discipline to follow it
    • Adding metadata to documents
  • Improving finding information in documents
    • Executive summaries
    • Using knowledge discovery in databases (=summary extraction)
    • Adding unique metadata tag to a specific piece (e.g. project requirement), so it's possible to follow it through different documents

Hmm... It's good as an example, but I wouldn't call it "KM solution" :)

What is more interesting is look how people adapt to the situation: start relying more on meetings or on personal contacts. I guess that document searching behaviour should be studied together with informal communication (see public vs. private discussions), so at the end one can arrive to the solution that combines strenghs of both sides.

  Printer-friendly version of blogs?

Does anyone know how to make a printer-friendly version of a (Radio) blog?

I'm printing some of my older posts and I hate loosing so much space with navigation bar. I guess that it's should be possible to make a printer-friendly version of my pages with CSS, but I have no idea how. Any help?

More on: Radio 

  Saturday, February 15, 2003

  Just citations

Two citations via Seb's Open Research

Unraveling the Mysteries of the Connected Age by Duncan J. Watts

As different as all these questions appear, they are all versions of the same question -- how does individual behavior aggregate to collective behavior? As simply as it can be asked, this is one of the most fundamental and pervasive questions in all of science.

Osho's quote 

This is something basic to be understood: the ego must come to a peak, it must be strong, it must have attained an integrity -- only then can you dissolve it. A weak ego cannot be dissolved. And this becomes a problem.

Today is the day of awaking memories: first I find Don Clark writing on knowledge creating and now it's about Osho, one of those writers who shaped my thinking about life... Time to think...

More on: networking 

  N=1: Population Of One

New (for me) blog: N=1: Population Of One on "Science, HCI, Psychology, Human Factors" by Sylvie Noël. It's a pity that I miss the RSS and can't become a regular reader.

More on: blog new 

  Survey on informal learning

Jay Cross posts five-question survey on informal learning (it's targetted to learning/e-learning people). Join in and then check the results.

See also some thoughts on not participating on-line

More on: learning informal 

  Quaerere SIG news

Updates on what's going on in Quaerere SIG:

I republished original version of Jim McGee's "Knowledge work as craft work" at the KnowledgeBoard

I'm trying to get members joining Quaerere blog, started KnowledgeBoard members blogroll  and collected links to everything about blogs at KnowledgeBoard

We discuss KM Summers School 2003 themes to be and “Emergent KM Research” – proposal from Quaerere to KAngels 

More on: Quaerere 

  Yahoo list on knowledge work

Thanks to Denham Grey I have discovered Yahoo group kw-km · Knowledge Work & Knowledge Management  with:

Instructional Strategies for Knowledge Development that lists learning strategies for four Nonaka&Takeuchi modes of knowledge creation (by Don Clark, who was one of my first discoveries of HRD resources on-line).

How do you say a person is doing a knowledge work... ???

One question that has been troubling me is how to operationalize knoweldge work... i.e.

a) How do you measure the performance of knowledge workers..?

b) Other than output from knowldge workers --- the output which may come out after years e.g. a scientist may or may not dicover anything.. but is defintitely using brains and doing knowledge work. How would you be sure that the scientist is working or doing knowledge work and not pretending .. doing such work.. day dreaming?

Please give your opinion or view points or suggest some research studies?

I would also be very thankful to you if you can send some research articles related to any aspects of knowledge workers.

This is one of the questions I have to tackle in my PhD research. So far answers in the thread are not very useful, but I hope to see more.

  Wednesday, February 12, 2003

  KM Summer School 2003

KM Summer School 2003 will take place in Spain, San Sebastian between 7 and 12 of September 2003.

You can participate in defining KMSS03 themes, so please criticise, add your own ideas and make choices...

More on: learning event 

  Tuesday, February 11, 2003

  Personal publishing vs. engaging in dialog

Denham Grey continues the discussion on motivation to blog

May be another way to see the blog vs. web conference distinction. I find 'blogging for feedback' to be a quaint paradox. If you wish to have deep reflection and strong feedback, would you not gladly accept the containment of a conference / conversation? Do you not need a space where there is an established turn-taking rhythm?, a place where you have an identity, a history of reciprocity, a context and knowledge of the audience?

Blogging seems closer to broadcasting: 'hello world' , here are my thoughts, reply if you must otherwise move along, I get my biggest rewards from just organizing my thinking!

Somehow this approach seems to bypass the magic of dialog, the power of engagement, the synergy of connecting and reflecting. There is greater value I believe in 'thinking' together, than in publishing alone.

Probably I can't explain it yet, but for me "the magic of dialog, the power of engagement, the synergy of connecting and reflecting" of blogging is stronger than the same feelings of on-line conferences I visit (face-to-face conversations are out of scope). I guess my main problem with those conferences is that there I don't have established "identity, a history of reciprocity, a context and knowledge of the audience" and joining in on the way costs too much.

I feel that somehow blogs provide better context for deep reflective discussions. I find it difficult to explain, but probably Spike Hall explains it better.  Somehow he extracts things that I can hardly make explicit :)

There's lots more to think about here. For example, the idea of context that Lilia has named is deeper than the social, interpersonal context I referred to above. The kind of contextual analysis she describes could allow the really good respondent to find the intended idea even when only partially expressed in the message itself. Hmmmm!!!

My guess would be to look at blogs as digital apprenticeship tools: somehow regular reading of someone's blog gives you (at least me!) better context than participating in on-line discussion.

PS Dear Denham, I'm glad that you are challenging blogging - I guess many of us are trying to access its value for learning and knowledge sharing.

I know that you have the blog, but this is not a true blog: you don't have RSS feed, so other bloggers can't read you regularly and engage in a conversation, so you see mainly the "publishing" side of it. I also guess that most likely you don't use news aggregator, so you miss the experience of day-to-day following of someone's thoughts.

I would say that regular reading (you invite others with RSS and you read them with news aggregator) is essential for understanding the conversational power of blogging.

You could give it a try, starting simple Blogger (or better Radio) blog on "Critical look on blogs as conversation environment" (I would love to see your other thoughts too!). Your ideas are worth reading by more bloggers, but I'm afraid the only way to engage them in a conversation is to start blogging :)))

More on: bloggers motivation 

  e-Learning Curu

E-mail brings an invitation from Kevin Kruse to join e-Learning Guru. I didn't have much time to browse the site, but there are a couple of topic that I'd like to check later:

More on: e-learning motivation 

  Monday, February 10, 2003

  Power laws vs. quality blogging

George Siemens on Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality by Clay Shirky:

This article is probably an accurate depiction of the difficulty facing bloggers who blog in order to be widely read. I think a more accurate image of blogging in the future will be millions of bloggers with a handful of readers each. For example, I would love to have wide readership...but that is secondary to the main reason I blog - to learn, grow, share, express, reflect, create a history of thought (mainly for myself), etc. If my goal for blogs is readership, Clay Shirkly's article is accurate. If my goal is to use blogging as a learning tool for myself and a few others, then this assessment of blogging is not relevant.

I share the same feeling: what if you blog not for quantity, but for quality? I don't care how many people read my blog if I get a few with insightful comments.

PS The article is a good read.

More on: blog ecosystem 

  You never know where you can find your own words :)

Funny. In referrer logs I found a strange copy of my blog. Tracing it back I found that this is part of the course assignment by Sean Mulcahy from University College Cork, Computer Science Department.

More on: blogs 

  Why I blog more than write scientific papers

As a follow-up thinking to why I blog more than use discussion tools: why I blog more than write scientific papers (or why I'm more motivated to blog :)

Because I get timely and so-needed feedback on my ideas.

It's also something to do with my intrinsic motivation to write and to get feedback rather than formal performance appraisal thing - "published so many papers". Probably if I become well-known and widely published scientist I will enjoy writing papers more. But not now :)

More on: bloggers motivation 

  Why I blog more than use discussion tools

Denham Grey  continues doubting about blogs (in this comment to this post; some context is here; the discussion is disrtibuted over several places):

We have different views on posting in web conferences I think. I hardly ever consider 'overload' in this context as it is so easy to skip posts (or people) that do not interest you.

The aspect of ownership is interesting - sometimes I honestly think bloggers do not want feedback / pushback they are happy to have everything their way and are not looking for disagreement - in fact avoiding confrontation may be one of the primary reasons for blogging in the first place.

I feel that blogging ideas makes them more open for a commentary than posting them to a discussion. In the second case readership is limited by the discussion audience, but with blogs you never know who may comment on it (and you can do nothing if they disagree - the best things would be to continue with new arguments). And this whole "discussion" can be very visible because of ways how search engines index blogs.

Blogging may look like "avoiding confrontation" at your own web-site, but this is not true as well: readers can use comments and in some cases you also can do nothing about it (e.g. with my current software I can't even delete comments if I don't like them).

Now to the more general point: blogging vs. discussion boards. There is a comparison here, but I'd like to focus on more personal feelings about it.

I need a conversation to grow my ideas, to be more specific I need a deep reflective conversation for it. In this conversation context means a lot, especially knowing why someone comments in a specific way. In academic writings you can trace it a bit with references, in informal coffee-table discussions you trace it with your knowledge about person's background and work. So, guess what is my problem with most of on-line discussions? I find it difficult to learn about context.

Some of on-line discussions are perfect for "going in and out", getting feedback on a small question (e.g. BRINT), but I want more. Other discussions, usually more private and often closed are better for reflective conversations, but in this case there is a "newcomer" problem: if you join in the middle of the discussion it takes a lot to recreate the context and to be able to join in (then I say - I don't have time for it).

So, I choose blogging. It gives me nonintrusive access to people I don't know personally. Blogs gives a better feeling of their authors thinking and reasoning than discussion boards. Probably those "distributed conversations" in blogs are not so easy to overview, but given a combination of RSS, news aggregator, referrer logs, Technorati and other tools it's not so difficult to trace it. And, bonus! as it's so difficult to overview many bloggers tend to summarise it - one thing which is not easy to get in on-line discussions.

Later: See also George Siemens about wikis and blogs in educational context (thanks to Albert Delgado)
Wiki link to blogging: I've found that I'm willing to collaborate once I have an identity...and that my collaboration will not minimize my identity (i.e. I won't disappear as a unique, personal entity into a nameless part of the larger whole). Blogging is the forum where I become/express my identity. Once this home base is established, I can begin to collaborate. So, set up blogs first...then move to wikis...and back to blogs. This is much like classrooms - start with where I'm at...discuss publicly...take public discussion and reflect personally. Wikis and blogs, therefore, are both unique elements in the larger territory of communication/learning. Different tools...different tasks.

  Reading papers outside

It's so sunny and fresh outside... It makes me feeling like putting something "reading papers outside" in my schedule. But I guess it's a bit too cold to read outside.

I wonder how much we are loosing growing our ideas inside buildings while nature gives us so many insights and inspirations. One might say that we need a concentration, which could be easier inside (no sun flashes!), but if it's true that Newton was sitting under an apple tree...

I wish I would have a job flexible enough to give me an opportunity to enjoy nature and produce results in the same time. We are getting wireless, so from technical perspective this shouldn't be a big deal.

  Saturday, February 08, 2003

  No support for Cyrillic in Userland products

One more funny thing about Cyrillic in Userland products: it is not supported (strangely encoded) by weblogs.com (same problem exist while posting in Radio, as well as in Radio new aggregator and Manila).

For last couple of weeks I saw more interesting blogs in Russian. Most of them were using MT.

I posted this to Radio discussion as well.
More on: Radio Russia 

  Friday, February 07, 2003

  Bibliography on social networks

One more from paper hunting search: Social Network References (Academic Bibliography)

  IBM research papers on communities, learning and more

Trying to find a paper on-line gives you a lot of other interesting things. So, I came accross public papers of IBM Watson Research Center. These are some I'd like to check out:

  • 02-07 Understanding the Individual, Community and Organizational Benefits of Work-Based Communities
  • 02-01 Understanding the Benefits and Costs of Communities of Practice
  • 01-06 The Dynamics of Social Interaction in a Geography-based Online Community
  • 01-03 Social Construction of Knowledge and Authority in Business Communities and Organizations
  • 00-07 Coming to the Crossroads of Knowledge, Learning, and Technology: Integrating Knowledge Management and Workplace Learning
  • 00-06 New Workplace Learning Technologies: Activities and Exemplars
  • 00-05 Designing Learning: Cognitive Science Principles for the Innovative Organization

  Blogging for money?

Denham Grey comments on Matching?:

Blogging for money, love, attention and branding misses the sweet spot IMO.

Somehow using blogging for personal branding does not seem very ethical or authentic in the long term.

Posting links, original commentary, personal thoughts and reflections with the intention of helping others and in the true spirit of knowledge sharing, seems a more valuable exercise.

I agree that best blogs I read are written "in the true spirit of knowledge sharing", do it's not very likely that blogs with main goals of making money woud catch a lot of attention. But what's wrong with branding or money as a side effect? Blogging is not pushing, but giving others an opportunity to pull and make their choices.

Terry Frazier adds (see comments to this post):
More importantly, blogging is painfully transparent and self-limiting in regard to how self-serving it can be. A few short posts can reveal the underlying approach of the author. Those who fail to add value are unlikely to gain a helpful brand, love, or anything else they seek.
More on: blogging etiquette 

  Thursday, February 06, 2003

  Public vs. private discussions in communities: research implications

I'm thinking about the impact of public and private discussions in communities ideas for my PhD. One of the challenges I have is to measure knowledge sharing and learning as invisible part of knowledge work. I thought that looking for technology-mediated settings would be one of possible solutions.

But it seems that if I study knowledge sharing in virtual community by analysing on-line discussions I'll miss 70% of what I want to study. Probably blogs would give a better number, but it will never be 100% - we still mail to other bloggers and hope for face-to-face meetings. So, I have to invent something else :)

More on: measurement PhD 

  Public vs. private discussions in communities

I came back from the workshop for Knowledge Board SIG leaders (I'm a member of Quaerere interface team). This was good learning and networking event.

Somehow I realised only now that I'm in "community leader" role, which feels quite strange. I wouldn't say that I've learnt many new things about supporting a community, but face-to-face discussions definitely have raised the level of my motivation. I hope this will help me to overcome lack of time problem :) I believe in learning that comes out of actions, so this is a great opportunity for learning-by-doing about communities of practice.

One of the most interesting for me things was a discussion about public vs. private discussions in communities. Richard McDermott (he was facilitating the workshop) gave a number that 70% of CoP communication happens in a private space (e.g. e-mail, phone, face-to-face) and then suggested that outcomes of those private discussions can be posted back to a community. 

But my mind is triggered by another question: Why this private space is needed? In the Quaerere group we use several ways to communicate: SIG area at KnowledgeBoard, boogie web-site, closed QuickSpace site, e-mail, phone, face-to-face... I believe that most of our discussions outside of KB SIG area could be interesting for a wider audience, so I thought of several reasons to stay "private":

  • trust and safety - even if you talk about "open for everyone" things, it's much easier to talk to the audience you know.
  • speed and easy-to-do - we all busy and we jump into using tools that save us time without even thinking that it could be more beneficial to have public discussion.
  • ownership - like with blogging, we want to be sure that nobody can take it from us.

The funny thing is that Angela is talking about something similar suggesting a combination of formal and informal KnowledgeBoard.

I would love to see some studies on this...

More on: communities Quaerere tools 

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This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Last update: 1/19/2006; 9:35:06 PM.