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04 DECEMBER 2014

Michael Seemann: Knowing Is Asking the Right Questions

"Proposition: In the Old Game, it was important who was storing which information and to what purpose. But what counts in the New Game, by that measure, is how information is retrieved. This shift of focus does not only change our attitude towards knowledge, but also touches on the power structures inherent in any kind of knowledge."

(Michael Seemann, 2014, p.25)

Michael Seemann (2014). 'Digital Tailspin: Ten Rules for the Internet After Snowden'



2014 • ableism • algorithmic transparency • algorithmically filtered content • Angelina Atanasova • antifragility • bad ass mother fucker • big datacommon good • control over the digital world • Costanza Hermanin • culture of the query • data • data commons • database programmes • digital tailspin • distributed realities • Edward SnowdenEli PariserEvan Rotheveryday racism • Facebook timeline • fhashtag revolutions • filter bubbles • filter sovereignty • flash mobsflexibility • Hadoop • individual standpoints • information retrieval • Jane Bambauer • knowledge is power • Kontrollverlust • loss of control • MapReduce • Michael Seemann • Open Data City • open source softwareopenness • our attitude towards knowledge • political power of data analysis • power structures • query algorithm • radical new ethics • Roland Fryer • search • search field • self-affirmative echo chamber • self-determination • selfish participants • spontaneous network phenomena • Steven Levitt • tailspin • top-down hierarchies • tragedy of the commonstransparency


Simon Perkins

Horizon: The defenders of anonymity on the internet

"Yet while anonymity offers a potential bulwark against surveillance, for those who do not wish to be watched, it has also helped in the development of that part of the online world known as the dark web.

Sites on the dark web like Silk Road have used Tor technology to hide their location and yet still be available to users who wish to visit them.

The dark web has now become a focus for law enforcement officers who believe it is facilitating a variety of illegal activities including financial crime and child abuse."

(Mike Radford, 3 September 2014, BBC News)

Fig.1 "Inside the Dark Web" 2014, television programme, BBC Two – Horizon, Series 51, Episode 4, first broadcast: 3 September 2014.




2014 • anonymising networks • anonymity • anonymous communication • anonymous protocol • anonymous system • anonymous web browsing • BBC Twobitcoin • black market • Chelsea Manning • child abusecommunications monitoring • controversial technology • crime evasion • criminal actscryptographycybercrime • dark internet • dark web • data securityDavid Chaum • deep web • deepnet • detection • digital realm • dissidents • distributed filesharing network • distributed network • Edward Snowden • encryption • file sharing • financial crime • free market economy • GCHQ • government agencies • hidden network • hidden web • Horizon (BBC TV series) • I2P • information flowsinformation retrieval • information use • Internet • Interpol • invisible web • Jacob Appelbaum • Joss Wright • Julian Assangelaw enforcement • Mix Network • monitoring • National Security Agency • NSAonline activities • online marketplace • online space • Oxford Internet Institute • privacy and security • search engines • Silk Road (marketplace) • surface web • surveillancetelecommunicationsTim Berners-LeeTortraffic analysis • Troels Oerting • US Naval Research Laboratory Tor • Wikileaksworld wide web


Simon Perkins
17 APRIL 2011

Folksonomies: improving tagging technique

"Here are some of the techniques used by professionals:

Universe – knowing the complete vocabulary, so you know what categories are available

Synonyms – that one of the meanins of ultrasound is the same as sonography.

Hierarchy – a Volvo is a kind of car, is a kind of transportation device.

So here are some ideas for how we could improve folksonomy software to make us better at this, without involving any editors.

Suggest tags for me. A Google Suggest–style interface will help familiarize people with the universe of existing tags, so you can use an existing tag rather than invent your own, when the existing tag applies equally well. It would also reduce typos and inconsistencies, like 'blog' vs. 'blogs', and it might serve as inspiration to get past the obvious tags. The pool of tags suggested from could be a weighted list of my own tags, my friends' tags, all tags, and tags other people have already used for this link.

Find synonyms automatically. In the browsing interface, Flickr is pretty good about showing related tags. Why not show these related tags when I am tagging a photo, thus making it easy for me to just add the ones that apply. They could even do a quick lookup on WordNet for more synonyms. Since the related tags in the browsing interface feeds off of tags used on the same images on the input side, this would also help make strong links stronger.

Help me know what tags other people use. When doing both the Google Suggest and the synonyms above, show the most used tags in a larger size than less used tags. There is value in people using the same tag for the same thing, and we want to encourage that, without in any way preventing people from choosing different tag if they want to.

Infer hiearchy from the tags. I have a habit of using multiword tags, so instead of saying 'socialsoftware' like you're supposed to on delicious, I say 'social software', which really makes it two separate tags. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. If this habit is generally applied, we could look at home many links that are tagged with 'social' are also tagged 'software', and maybe infer that 'social' is frequently used in conjunction with 'software', and thus might imply a special kind of software (or the other way around, that software is a special kind of social), thus offering the combined tag 'social software' to contain links that are tagged with both. A different example would be items tagged 'volvo car'. If most of the time something is tagged 'volvo', it is also tagged 'car', we might infer that volvo is a kind of car.

Make it easy to adjust tags on old content. If the above and other ideas work, people's tagging skills should improve over time. So why not augment the browsing interface so that it's very easy for me to add or remove tags from my iamges or links right there, e.g. from a list of suggested tags on the page, and I'm sure that sometimes, someone would use it. Another incentive to retag my content is if I'm searching for a link on Buenos Aires, but the link wasn't tagged with 'buenosaires', so I find it under 'argentina', say, it should be very easy to add the 'buenosaires' tag to that item."

(Lars Pind, 23 January 2005)


road folksonomies • browsing interfacecategory • conjunction • contentDeliciousFlickrfolksonomy • folksonomy software • Google Suggesthabithierarchyinconsistencies • infer hiearchy • information retrieval • interpersonal information retrieval • intersubjective meaning • link strength • lookup • multiword tags • prompting • related tags • retag • searching • social softwaresoftware • synonym • tag quality • tag suggestion • tagging skills • tags • tags other people • typos • valid tags • vocabulary • WordNet


Simon Perkins
18 FEBRUARY 2011

Semantic Web: integration through abstraction and standardisation

"The Semantic Web is about two things. It is about common formats for integration and combination of data drawn from diverse sources, where on the original Web mainly concentrated on the interchange of documents. It is also about language for recording how the data relates to real world objects. That allows a person, or a machine, to start off in one database, and then move through an unending set of databases which are connected not by wires but by being about the same thing."



abstractionAPIbusiness rulescomputer sciencecontextconvergencedatadata accessdata contextdata integrationdata interchange • description resources • documentsenabling technologiesformatHTMLHTML5informationinformation retrievalintegrationinteroperabilitymachinesmetadataontologyorderingprotocol • R2RML • RDFreal world objects • Resource Description Framework • rule systemschemasemantic websolutionspecificationstandardisationstructurestructured datatechnologyunificationusabilityW3Cweb • XHTML5 • XML


Simon Perkins
25 MAY 2010

From Digital Libraries to Knowledge Commons

"Digital Libraries began as systems whose goal was to simulate the operation of traditional libraries for books and other text documents in digital form. Significant developments have been made since then, and Digital Libraries are now on their way to becoming 'Knowledge Commons'. These are pervasive systems at the centre of intellectual activity, facilitating communication and collaboration among scientists or the general public and synthesizing distributed multimedia documents, sensor data, and other information.

Digital Libraries represent the confluence of a variety of technical areas both within the field of informatics (eg data management and information retrieval), and outside it (eg library sciences and sociology). Early Digital Library efforts mostly focused on bridging some of the gaps between the constituent fields, defining `digital library functionality', and integrating solutions from each field into systems that support such functionality. These have resulted in several successful systems: researchers, educators, students and members of other communities now continuously search Digital Libraries for information as part of their daily routines, decision–making processes, or entertainment.

Most current Digital Library systems share certain characteristics. They are content–centric, motivated by the need to organize and provide access to data and information. They concentrate on storage–centric functionality, mainly offering static storage and retrieval of information. They are specialized systems, built from scratch and tailored to the particular needs and characteristics of the data and users of their target environment, with little provision for generalization. They tend to operate in isolation, limiting the opportunities for large–scale analysis and global–scale information availability. Finally, they concentrate on material that is traditionally found in libraries, mostly related to cultural heritage. Hence, despite the undisputed advantages that current Digital Library systems offer compared to the pre–1990s era, the above restrictions limit the role that Digital Libraries can play in Knowledge Societies, which will serve as important educational nuclei in the future.

Together with the general community, the DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries has initiated a long journey from current Digital Libraries towards the vision of 'Knowledge Commons'. These will be environments that will impose no conceptual, logical, physical, temporal or personal borders or barriers on content. They will be the universal knowledge repositories and communication conduits of the future, common vehicles by which everyone will access, analyse, evaluate, enhance and exchange all forms of information. They will be indispensable tools in the daily personal and professional lives of people, allowing everyone to advance their knowledge, professions and roles in society. They will be accessible at any time and from anywhere, and will offer a user–friendly, multi–modal, efficient and effective interaction and exploration environment.

Achieving this requires significant changes to be made to past development strategies, which shaped the functionality, operational environment and other aspects of Digital Libraries. Knowledge Commons will have different characteristics. They will be person–centric, motivated by needs to provide novel, sophisticated, and personalized experiences to users. They will concentrate on communication and collaboration functionality, facilitating intellectual interactions on themes that are pertinent to their contents, with storage and retrieval being only a small part of such functionality. They will remain specialized systems that will nevertheless be built on top of widely–available, industrial–strength, generic management systems, offering all typically required functionality. In general, they will be managed by globally distributed systems, through which information sources across the world will exchange and integrate their contents. Finally, they will be characterized by universality of information and application, serving all applications and comprehensively managing all forms of content."

(Yannis Ioannidis)


access to informationcollaborationconduitconfluence • content-centric • DELOS • digital library • distributed multimedia • distributed systeminformaticsinformationinformation retrievalintegration • intellectual interactions on themes • knowledge commonsknowledge construction • knowledge repositories • knowledge society • library • library sciences • Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries • person-centric • personalised experiencepervasiverepository • retrieval • storage • storage-centric


Simon Perkins

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