Internet Librarian: morville on "ambient findability"

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Yes! A Boingo/DeepBlueWireless hotspot in the conference center. Hate to pay another $9/day for access (since I'm already paying in my hotel), but it's worth it to me to be able to blog the conference.

Peter Morville is kicking off the "searching" track with a talk on "ambient findability."

Interesting graphic showing "cells" of characteristics. Usable, Useful, Dedsirable, Valuable, Accessible, Creditble, and Findable. He wrote an article called The Age of Findability ("just Google it," he says). Shows a great quote from a response to his article: "[This is] a case of librarians trying to muscle intot he usability field with their own spin...findability is just a subset of user-centered design."

Great example of searches for information on cancer. Most people don't search on "cancer" (which would bring up NIC in top results), they search on a specific type of cancer, like "melanoma." NIC needs to figure out how to make their site "findable" for searches like these.

Amazing slide where he shows Launchcast, and says "what happens if you take away the words on this interface?"--then shows it. It becomes unusable. Wonderful way to show the importance of interface cues, as well as the importance of the text itself. Fascinating.

Quote from Herb Simon: "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention."

Mentions the study I wrote about last year.

Talks about Ambient Devices--they create items that respond to data inputs. Orbs, pinwheels, etc. Make the pinwheel spin faster as you get more urgent emails!

Talks about things like "child tracking" armbands. (Missed the company name.) "We are not trying to sell this product based on the fear of parents," claims the CEO. (Peter pauses for effect; audience laughs...)

We're putting more information about the physical world into the digital world, and the reverse. Ah, yes. My favorite topic--blurring boundaries.

Tells "story of the three stone cutters." When asked what they're doing in a quarry, the three respond differently:
1) I'm making a living.
2) I'm doing the best stone-cutting that anyone could do.
3) I'm building a cathedral.

As information professionals, we can think of ourselves as "building cathedrals" of content and information.

"What Amazon has done has create a 'participation economy.'" (Top reviewer at Amazon is a former acquisitions librarian...)

Talks about Amazon's "search inside the book" feature. Calls it a "major event in the information landscape." Says that preliminary info shows that books with the search are selling at a higher rate than those without. (The skeptic in me notes that the causality could be reversed; better-selling books could well have been included in full-text first.)

Again, the boundary-blurring between the physical and the digital worlds. This is how we have to think about content integration!

(Another note to self: Must start reading Boxes and Arrows again. Somehow that dropped off my list.)

In response to an inaudible audience question, Peter says "There are things we know about libraries--as distance (ie 'ease of use) increases, library use drops off sharply. One reason Google has been so successful is it is so 'close'--so easy to use."

This talk was a great example of how a good presentation can be done without succumbing to the "cognitive style of powerpoint." It is Powerpoint, but extremely well done. At the end, he provides a link to the presentation file.

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Our director of distance learning is there, and said he found free wifi at the Monterey Peninsula Community College Library, FYI. (well, free with $1 parking.)

Sounds like both of you are having a blast...I'm super-jealous. ;)




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 3, 2003 1:47 PM.

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