Updated: 6/23/2005; 9:37:29 PM.


...giving birth to learning...
If you search for mathemagenic that has nothing to do with weblogs try this

Earlier | Home | Later

  Monday, March 01, 2004

  Metification and blog certificates.

My colleagues are moving into blogging :) One of them, Anjo Anjewierden starts with a couple of interesting ideas.


So, what is "metification"? Metification is the idea of taking a set of data resulting from a knowledge worker and representing it such that it stimulates new ideas or insights. The term "metification" originates from "meta-ideas" which got contracted to "meti".

I guess the example of e-mail visualisations in my previous post is a case of metification :)

Blog certificates

Such a certificate would present to the user (e.g. potential blog reader) in one glance some fundamental characteristics of the blog, comparable to certificates for movies. In order to avoid that a certificate has to be compiled manually the characteristics must be mechanically computable. An initial selection would be:

  • Frequency (average number of posts per day).
  • Length (average number of words per post).
  • Quotes (percentage of content that is quoted from elsewhere).
  • Self links (percentage of links to own blog).
  • Other blogs (percentage of links to others blogs).
  • Other links (percentage of links to other websites).

If we would have averages for the above and then compute relative values for a particular blog, the result might be useful. For example, a relatively high score on "Self links" points to an introspective blogger, and a relatively high score on "Other links" points to a blog that filters the web (also given in the cited paper).

This is something I'd like to have at least for my weblog. As I said in a previous post: I'm selfish :)

Specific comments:

1. Extracting quotes is not an easy task given that there is no common way of formatting them.

2. Introspection is not necessary revealed by high numbers of links to oneself, someone can write in a very self-reflecting mode without any links. What "self links" probably reveal is use of own weblog for connecting and organising ideas (~ personal information management flavour).

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  Personal visualisations of e-mail archives

Yesterday, taking a break from writing I was reading a paper about effects of visualising e-mail archives, Digital artifacts for remembering and storytelling: PostHistory and Social Network Fragments by Fernanda Viégas, danah boyd, David H. Nguyen, Jeffrey Potter, Judith Donath (try this or this if you don't have IEEE access).

As part of a long-term investigation into visualizing email, we have created two visualizations of email archives. One highlights social networks while the other depicts the temporal rhythms of interactions with individuals. While interviewing users of these systems, it became clear that the applications triggered recall of many personal events. One of the most striking and not entirely expected outcomes was that the visualizations motivated retelling stories from the users’ pasts to others. In this paper, we discuss the motivation and design of these projects and analyze their use as catalysts for personal narrative and recall.

Things to remember:

Example of SNA on e-mail data aimed to support individual and not corporate decision-makers. This makes me thinking about the potential "market" for tools aggregating and visualising data: may be they are more likely to be used by individuals to make sense of their own data, then by "someone" who wants to get a picture of what's going on in a company (example: my struggle to choose between liveTopics and k-collector). People are selfish: I care more about my own archives than about my company's :)

Inside the article there are some strong quotes on our dependence on external objects to think and to remember. I should expand on it one day, this is something that connects information and knowledge and explains why personal information management skills are important for a knowledge worker.

How much could be extracted only from e-mail headers, without any content analysis.

User reactions on interacting with systems visualising their e-mail archives:

  • recalling stories associated with patterns in e-mail change and being eager to share them with others ("Given the opportunity to gain meaningfull access to date about oneself, people want to explore it and then share it with others" p.9)
  • discoveries about oneself: e-mail use patterns, forgotten friends, connections between people, reflecting on relations

The most interesting finding in the paper is the fact that the users feel that visualisations themselves do not reveal stories behind them:

Some of the ways in which our users interacted with the visualizations are reminiscent of how people relate to photographs. People return to their photos to reflect on past experiences as well as to share aspects of their lives with others. Photographs themselves convey limited slices of the events they represent, but their presence allows the owner to convey as much or as little as they want in sharing the event represented. Although our stories are as deeply embedded in our email as they are in our photos, we rarely have access to any sort of "snapshot" of our email so as to have these deep reflections and storytelling opportunities. The higher-level view of our digital experiences is buried deep within the actual data. When users in our case studies began storytelling around the visualizations, we realized that these provided a missing link; they created a legible and accessible view for sharing and reflecting upon our digital experiences, without revealing too much. (p. 8)

Earlier | Home | Later

© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

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.

March 2004
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Feb   Apr

Edublog award 2004 as Best Research Based Blog. Click for more details...

Click to see the XML version of this web page. Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog. Please, make sure that I recognise your name or you have a nice autorisation message - I tend to decline calls from people I don't know ;)

Locations of visitors to this page