Connecting 131016

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I saw a Frances Bell tweet a couple of days ago.

She linked to a post by Martin Hall at Salford University.

In his post, Martin shared the impact of a presentation made by Helen Keegan:

# changes everything by serving as a readily available aggregator across the massive, dynamic database that is connected together through Twitter.

I enjoyed learning about a collaborative program, Entertainment Lab for the Very Small Screen (ELVSS12). I noted Michael’s observation:

Look for ELVSS12 with a conventional search engine and you wont find very much.  But use #ELVSS12 in Twitter and a wealth of live links comes together, with comment, critique and direct links to the films that can, in turn, be shared with anyone else across a global network.

This reminded me of a presentation I made to a Computer Science in Sport Conference in 2009. I used #IACSS09 as the title. My hope then was to encourage discussion about how we create and share resources. I thought (and do think) that # gives enormous scope for the development of a folksonomy to support open access.

In preparation for the 2009 presentation, I was delighted to find the elegance of Thomas Vander Wal’s writing about Folksonomy in his 2007 document (“a static permanent web document … written to provide a place to cite the coinage of folksonomy … (it) pulls together bits of conversations and ideas I wrote regarding folksonomy on listserves, e-mail, in my blogs and in blog comments on other’s sites in 2004”).

Thomas suggests:

  • “Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one’s own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). Folksonomy is created from the act of tagging by the person consuming the information.”
  • “The value in this external tagging is derived from people using their own vocabulary and adding explicit meaning, which may come from inferred understanding of the information/object. People are not so much categorizing, as providing a means to connect items (placing hooks) to provide their meaning in their own understanding.”

I think my presentation had very little impact with my computer science colleagues but I have persisted. Like Helen and Michael, I see immense benefits in using tags. One of the maxims of the digital age is “capture once, use infinitely”. Tagging at the point of production helps us create, share, aggregate and curate with a small investment in #.

Serendipitously, Zach Steward has posted this week about the first ever hashtag, @-reply and retweet, as twitter users invented them. Hashtags became an official Twitter feature in July 2009, just two months before my presentation.

Earlier this week, in another Connecting post, I mentioned Tom Standage’s discussion of Cicero. When I visited Tom’s blog, I was delighted to see his use of a London underground tube map to illustrate the diffusion of a shared book. I think it is a great way to share a journey.

cicero-map-2

Last year, my son Sam redesigned Clyde Street with a transport map theme. He wrote about this process earlier this year. He came up with the following ideas:

  • Simple – Clyde Street is a place where people come to read. The articles vary in length and complexity so we needed to make the layout uncluttered and the reading experience as nice as possible.
  • Modern – As an “educational technologist”, Keith’s blog needed to utilise current web standards (such as html 5 and css 3) as well as embrace open source tools.
  • Reflect – I have often heard people say that this blog was a “journey of discovery”. Prior to the redesign it had very little personality in terms of branding to reflect this. Without going overboard we wanted to change that.

I welcomed his observation that “In the end, a blog is driven by its content, people do not keep coming back to see a fancy design, they keep coming back to read new ideas. My aim was to make it is as easy as possible for people to get to those ideas”.

I have been wondering of late if the impetus for my writing is to be a cartographer of the changing landscape of connecting and sharing. I do think I need to have some disciplined approach to curation to make this mapping possible.

Steve Rosenbaum has written this week about the Curation Economy. He postulates five laws of this economy:

1. People don’t want more content, they want less. We’re overwhelmed in raw, unfiltered, context-free data. Humans want it to stop.

2. Curators come in three shapes.

  • Experts — people whose background and depth of understanding makes their curatorial choices valid.
  • Editors, who manage the voice and the collections of the publications and sites they organize.
  • Passion-Driven who love their particular area of focus and attention and bring that single-minded focus to every piece of content they touch.

3. Curation isn’t a hobby, it’s both a profession and a calling.

4.
Curation requires technology and tools to find, filter, and validate content at the speed of the real-time web.

5. Curation within narrow, focused, high-quality categories will emerge to compete with the mass-media copycats who are filling the curation space with lists, cat videos, and meme links.

With regard to the Fourth Law, I do use aggregation tools. I enjoy the alerts I receive too through Stephen Downes’ OLDaily. Today I was linked to Stian Håklev’s post on R.

I have started following Ben Mayhew’s visualisations of football performance through my paper.li aggregator. I thought that he and Stian might have some fascinating conversations about outliers in data sets.

I am mindful that my Connecting posts are very personal curations. I remain intrigued that much of what I can access is triggered by someone’s willingness to use a symbol (#) to help share their insights or to do so openly in blog posts.

Photo Credit

Crossroads (Joseph, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Book Journey (Tom Standage)

ProCurate

I wrote a post about voluntary and professional associations yesterday.

In the post I quoted Steve Rosenbaum:

Associations are a veritable content creation machine. These groups of thought leaders are blogging, tweeting, meeting, and plugging in to social media with innovation and enthusiasm that in many ways surpasses many of the media organizations.

While media is suffering from audience erosion, as the web gives readers and viewers and ever widening array of choices — association membership remains strong and solid. Why? Because professionals need access to high quality information, professional networking, and professional development resources that a consortium of their fellow members can provide.

I have been writing about curation and aggregation in this blog and am always delighted to find discussions about activities that I see as central to communities of practice.

I am a great fan of Produsage.

This has prompted me to think about an activity that might be called ProCurate. I see this as the collection of digital information with the aim of making it available openly for others to find and develop. I think it is a conscious and deliberate activity infused with reciprocal altruism.

A post by Deanna Dahlsad focused my thinking today (I had missed this earlier post). She proposes that:

Content curation is the process of sorting, arranging, and publishing information that already exists. Like any collector or museum curator, content curators identify and define their topics, select which items to include (and often how they are displayed), while providing the context, annotations, and proper credits which not only assist their readers but identify themselves as more than interested but invested; a leader or an authority.

It seems to me that curation is an act of commitment too.

I liked her comparison of blogging and curation:

Many bloggers spend their time selecting what they consider the best of what other people have created on the web and post it at their own sites, just like a magazine or newspaper. Or they provide a mix of this along with writing or otherwise creating their own content.  Not to split hairs, but curation involves less creation and more searching and sifting; curation’s more a matter of focused filtering than it is writing.

Shortly after reading Deanna’s post a tweet led me to Paul Wallbank’s post about Managing your digital estate. He observes that:

Dealing with the passing of a loved one is always difficult but today we have an added complexity of dealing with the online problems of social media sites suggesting people still “like” the deceased or valuable documents locked into cloud computing services.

With more of us storing information into cloud computing services, having important data locked away becomes a real risk and how online storage or software companies deal with deceased estates becomes important.

Paul’s post summarises policies for dealing with a deceased’s profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon and PayPal. He points to Mashable’s post 7 Resources for Handling Digital Life After Death. In that post Erica Swallow observes:

After someone passes away, their digital assets live on in the form of computer files and data online. For some, that’s not a big deal. But for others, the thought of leaving digital assets unattended for eternity after death is unthinkable.

I had not seen the seven resources Erica mentions. As a result of Paul and Erica’s posts I see the activity of ProCuration as a custos role too.

This custos role is being exemplified for me at the moment with the Paralympic Wikipedia project.

Photo Credits

Library

Scrapbook

Voluntary and Professional Associations: Signal and Noise

I receive regular blog post alerts from the Scholarly Kitchen.

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) established the Scholarly Kitchen blog in 2008.

SSP’s mission is:

To advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking.

The Scholarly Kitchen, a moderated and independent blog, aims “to help fulfill this mission by bringing together differing opinions, commentary, and ideas, and presenting them openly”.

I admire the way The Scholarly Kitchen goes about sharing openly. I have linked to their posts in a number of my posts.

This morning Kent Anderson has a stimulating post about associations. In his introductory comments he observes:

It’s no secret that associations and membership organizations are facing generational, attitudinal, practical, and economic challenges simultaneously. Many things are going on, but a sampling shows how profound the challenge is becoming:

  • Younger people don’t want to join organizations they see as either irrelevant to them or as fusty leftovers of their parents’ or grandparents’ generation.
  • Organizations haven’t shifted their value propositions sufficiently — they haven’t trimmed benefits to match their members’ needs or added the right new benefits, which means they have value propositions that are hard to explain or just plain wrong.
  • Time pressures are everywhere but associations and societies have bylaws, structures, and practices that demand a lot of time and commitment. You have to work your way up to Board work; there is only one big meeting per year; or all meetings demand travel and multiple days away.
  • Dues are expensive relative to other things competing for the same money — as much as a new iPad or an airplane ticket. All these things compete for money, and there is less discretionary income at the same time.

These trends seem to be cultural universals for voluntary organisations as well as professional associations.

In his discussion of these trends, Kent links to Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers’ 2011 book Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations. He links to a Steve Rosenbaum post too.

Harrison and Mary suggest that relevant associations:

  1. Have a small, competent Board
  2. Empower staff and the CEO
  3. Examine membership categories
  4. Rationalize programs
  5. Build a framework for the future

In his discussion of the framework for the future, Kent links to Steve Rosenbaum and the role of associations in information filtering at a time of digital overload.

Steve suggests that:

Associations are a veritable content creation machine. These groups of thought leaders are blogging, tweeting, meeting, and plugging in to social media with innovation and enthusiasm that in many ways surpasses many of the media organizations.

While media is suffering from audience erosion, as the web gives readers and viewers and ever widening array of choices — association membership remains strong and solid. Why? Because professionals need access to high quality information, professional networking, and professional development resources that a consortium of their fellow members can provide.

Steve adds that:

Professionals need access to high quality information, professional networking, and professional development resources that a consortium of their fellow members can provide.

I am fascinated by how individuals and groups share (or do not share) information. Much of my thinking these days is related to open sharing and the flourishing that is possible through such sharing.

I appreciated Kent’s discussion of relevant associations and am grateful to him for the links to Harrison, Mary and Steve. I believe that knowledge and learning organisations can help distinguish signal from noise and do so in a ubiquitous and asynchronous way.

It necessitates addressing a clear point made by Steve:

So thinking about how to share information from other sources, and how to walk the line between making members aware of other voices without necessarily endorsing them is a complex bit of content calculus.

I think it is trust that can address this complexity. I see trusted collaboration as both energy giving and energy saving. I see this becoming increasingly personalised too.

Photo Credits

Curation Nation Book Party

Woman sitting on a beached boat reading a book

Share @ Mehanata Bulgarian Bar, NYC