Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Web 2.0 and 'Live' Videos

We've heard of real-time video, but this is really taking it to another level. Yahoo Live! might just be onto something here. In many ways, it combines all the elements of Web 2.0 PLUS being live. Think about it - you get to social network with friends (or at least users you permit to see you), you customize your own content, and it's dynamic with its imbedding and mashup capabilities with API coding. Watch New York City from sunrise to sunset -- 24/7.

Y! Live is a community of broadcasters. It’s a place to socialize around live video content through broadcasting, viewing, and embedding. These guidelines are a structure for maintaining the creative environment and positive community vibe of Y! Live.

Let's put aside the privacy issues for a moment. And think of all the marketing possibilities this offers. It's like . . . Facebook with real faces :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Minding the Planet

One of my favourite thinkers of the Web - Nova Spivaks, is a moderator of this panel of visionaries and experts and their ideas of the evolution of the Web.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cultural Diversity in a world of Web 2.0

We often forget that the Web is a multilingual, enriched with the different yet unique multilingual flavours of different nationalities and ethnicities all streamlined under the guise of a common language. But that is simply not the case. We mustn't forget that behind the layers of technology and programming are people: real human beings who navigate the web behind their own cultural lenses and perceptions. Patrick Chau's "Cultural Differences in Diffusion, Adoption, and Infusion" of Web 2.0 is certainly worth a read.

While most cross-cultural studies in information systems studies are based on Hofstede's cultural dimensions, not much -- if any -- has been inquired into the state of Web 2.0. This is particularly ironic considering Web 2.0 is pegged to be a "social web." How can that be? Chau delves into these issues and re-examines Hofstede's five dimensions between cultures that are individualistic (Western) and cultures that are collectivist (Eastern). It's certainly food for fodder for those of us mired in the enthusiasm of Web 2.0 and Semantic Web. While a great deal has been written about social networks geographically, not enough emphasis has been put on how transnational flows of people as global citizens vary in terms of their use of Web 2.0 technologies. Can they be measured? If so, how?

(1) Personality orientation - Idiocentric or allocentric?

(2) Self contstrual - Independent or interdependent?

(3) Communication style - Low-context communication or high context communication?

(4) Time orientation - monochrome or polychromic?

(5) Cultural Framework - Long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Portal Consultant, Anyone?

Every now and then, I look back upon my career, and reflect on how how the profession has changed, and what direction it will lead in the future. Am I going in this same direction? What is an "information professional?" What is a librarian? Clearly, the lines have blurred with the so-called traditional lines of our work. Take for example Accenture, a global management and technology consulting firm. It is a huge company, with branches in key places all over the world. As such, it requires a very streamlined, efficient, and networked content management system. It's also hiring. On the surface, this job posting seems appropriate for applicants with a business background. But is it really?

Information professionals have grown out of just the confines of OPACS and databases. Librarians and information professionals manage content management systems, develop web portals, and are the information architects of web projects. Many are leaders of Web 2.0 innovation and some are even dabbling in the next version of the Web. A great many more are adept with computer programming languages, XML, AJAX, Perl, PHP, etc. But there appears to be a disjunct. Why aren't information professionals and librarians moving into these positions? There is a market to be met; it's a matter of time. We should take advantage. Sooner or later, someone's going to notice. And they won't be disappointed at all.


Portals Consultant, Vancouver BC-00056637


If you join Accenture you can make great ideas happen for some of the world's most dynamic companies. With broad global resources and deep technical know-how, we collaborate with clients to cultivate ideas and deliver results. Choose a career at Accenture and enjoy an innovative environment where challenging and interesting work is part of daily life.

Accenture's Consulting workforce is involved in business consulting, process design work and the application of technologies to business. A career in Consulting is varied and stimulating because each project presents a new challenge and will give you exposure to new clients, business issues, technologies and people. We need people who are able to challenge conventional thought, offer unique perspectives and conceive more innovative solutions for our clients.

Working as a consultant with Accenture, you will build core business, technology and industry expertise helping to deliver world-class business and technology solutions that enable clients to become high performance businesses. Consultants must be professionals who have an interest in how business processes work and interact. In addition, consultants need to apply their skills in project and program management while exhibiting leadership in process re-engineering and implementation of process, technology, and organizational change. Finally, consultants also need to have a working knowledge of the industry and/or the functional areas they serve.

The Consulting workforce is made up of three groups: Management Consulting, Systems Integration Consulting and Technology Consulting. This consulting group structure provides outstanding opportunities to develop highly specialized skills that will help you advance your career.

Job Description

Systems Integration Consulting professionals are responsible for delivering large-scale, complex programs that marry processes with technology to help our clients achieve high performance.

Information Management professionals define, develop and deliver solutions that enable the collection, management and processing of information from one or more sources and delivery of information to audiences who have a stake in or right to that information.

Portals professionals design, develop and deliver solutions, typically Web based, that enable a company's employees, customers and/or business partners to search for and retrieve relevant corporate information from across various systems and databases.

Key responsibilities may include:
• Supervising process and functional design activities
• Creating functional requirements as an input to application design
• Developing and testing detailed functional designs for business solution components and prototypes
• Supervising application build, test, and deploy activities
• Planning and executing data conversion activities (e.g., test data)
• Driving test planning and execution


• Experience in Enterprise Portal - General, Portlets, Portal Installation and Configuration, Portal Development, Portal Scaling and Loading, Enterprise Intranet, Information Architecture / Site Taxonomy, BEA-WebLogic Portal, AquaLogic-User Interaction, Computer Associates-Cleverpath Portal, IBM-WebSphere-Process Server, Microsoft-SharePoint-Portal Server, Oracle-Portal, SAP-NetWeaver-Enterprise Portal, Sun Microsystems Java System Portal Server, Vignette-Application Portal, Adobe-Intelligent Document Platform, Day Software-Communique, EMC-Documentum-Web Publisher Portlet Builder, EMC-Documentum-Web Publisher Portlets, Open Text-Livelink Portal Integration Toolkit, Percussion-Rhytmyx Express Portal, IBM-FileNet-Portal Integration & Connectors, Oracle-WebCenter, Microsoft-Office SharePoint Server

• Ability to travel 100% of the time
• University level education is required

Professional Skill Requirements

• Proven success in contributing to a team-oriented environment
• Proven ability to work creatively and analytically in a problem-solving environment
• Desire to work in an information systems environment
• Excellent leadership, communication (written and oral) and interpersonal skills

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 170,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$19.70 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2007. Its home page is .
We are committed to employment equity. We encourage all people, including women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and persons of aboriginal descent to apply.


Systems Integration

Primary Location

Canada-British Columbia - Vancouver

Other Locations

Canada-Quebec - Montreal, Canada-Ontario - Toronto





Sunday, September 14, 2008

Four Ways to Handle the Third World Digital Disorder

A while back ago, I wrote a small review about Everything is Miscellaneous. It's not quite finished yet. Weinberger's such an enigmatic writer -- he's got a lot to say -- and so have I! I quite like his four viewpoints of this new disorder, which in many ways, is due to the information anarchy that is partly caused by Web 2.0. As an information professional, I find it highly engaging and thought-provoking:

(1) Filter on the Way out, Not the Way In - There's a lot of stuff on the Web which would never have made it in the physical realm (think New York Times). But that's okay. In the Web 2.0 universe, everything and everyone has a niche.

(2) Puch Each Leaf On as Many Branches As Possible - Think tagging. Unlike the HTML-world, it's an advantage to hang information from as many branches as possible in the Web 2.0 world. Think Craigslist.

(3) Everything is Metadata and Everything Has a Label - It's true. On Google, "To be or not to be" (in quotations, of course), is in fact a great piece of metadata. Type that and press enter, and you'll get Hamlet.

(4) Give Up Control - There's no point of trying to control it, just go with the flow. Information may not be easily findable, but at least it's easily searching. The finding part comes next.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Web 2.0 + Semantic Web = Web 3.0

Finally, the latest issue of Talis' Nodalities it out. One of the brightest minds of the SemWeb industry, Alex Iskold has written an article, Semantic Search: Myth and Reality, which is really worth the wait and the read. He argues that the SemWeb shouldn't about competing with Google since its algorithm has so successfully ruled the web for over a decade. Why fix something that's not broken?

Try typing in the query: "What is the capital of China?" And Google automatically spits out the answer. But when you need it to answer a question such as "What is the best vacation for me now?" and the answers that a search engine provides might not be so clear afterall; in fact, probably impossible. That is where the SemWeb comes in.

In analyzing SemWeb search engines such as Search Monkey, Freebase, Powerset, and Hakia, Iskold proposes that the SemWeb should be about solving problems that can't be solved by Google today. In fact, the search box must go, in order for the SemWeb to work.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Quantum Computer Reviewed

Back in the 80's, quantum computing was viewed as something of a futuristic scenario, something out of a sci-fi flick like Minority Report. However, in 1994, interest ameliorated immediately after Peter Shor, then at Bell Laboratories (now at MIT), published his famous quantum factoring algorithm capable of undermining widely used cryptosystems that relied on the difficulty of factoring large numbers.

Currently, there are physicists, computer sciencists, and engineers in more than 100 groups in universities, institutes, and companies around the world are exploring the frontiers of quantum information, encompassing quantum computing, as well as recently commercialized quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation communication techniques.

Ross and Oskin's Quantum Computing is definitely worth a read. Exponentially scalable computing power that could solve problems beyond the capabilities of conventional computers. The key is exploiting the superposition of quantum-entangled information units, or qubits. But the research challenges are daunting: How to create and reliably compute with the qubits, which require the seemingly mutually exclusive conditions of exquisite classical control while being isolated from any external influences that could destroy the entanglement.

What does this mean for information professionals? A lot. With Web 3.0 around the corner, information processing at high levels will be necessary. It's still cloudy as to how it will all look like. But with quantum computing, we're on the right track.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Third Digital (Dis)order

Just finished reading David Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. A terrific ideas-driven text, which proposes the idea that we have to relinquish the notion that there is one of way organization information hierarchies. From the Dewey Decimal System to the way we organize our CD collections, Weinberger critiques and takes a shot at everything along the way. But he does make an exellent argument: in the digital world the laws of physics no longer apply. Just take a look at your computer files, and you realize you can organize your music by any number of criteria -- artist, genre, song name, length, or price -- you name it, you've got it. Because the Web is a hyperlinked web of information that grows organically, it's really a mess out there. And Web 2.0 doesn't help at all with the glut that has emerged.

Weinberger proposes that in this new digital world, there are three planes to disorder:

(1) Physical Disorder - The natural state of disorder, when things are left as they are, disorder inevitably arises.

(2) Metadata Disorder - Because of this disorder -- lists, classification systems, hierarchies, taxonomies, ontologies, catalogues, ledgers, anything -- that brings order to the physical realm

(3) Digital Disorder - In the digital world, it makes bringing order that much more difficult, yet also that much more interesting and convenient. There are more ways than one to bring order to the chaos. Just look at Wikipedia.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Open Access: The Beginning of the End?

I jotted down a few ideas about open access, and wouldn't you know it, turned it into an article. OA's an interesting phenomenon. It's here, but not really. There is still so much skepticism regarding whether it'll work out that we just don't know whether it will make it. There are already textbooks that are mashed up using bits and pieces of many other textbooks for students to access digitally rather than buying the whole expensive mess at the beginning of every semester. Journals are starting to slip off in terms of purchases by libraries, especially the academic ones. With the rise of the Semantic Web, open access and open source must go hand-in-hand in order for them to collectively contribute to the new way of searching and organization online information. Librarians take heed? Peter Suber, are you listening?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A LEAP of Faith

One of the main tasks I do in my position is to evaluate digital technologies and how they fit into the Library model. I always am looking at how other organizations integrate emergent technologies into their webpages. One organization that has done a superb job is the Learning Enhancement Academic Partnership (LEAP) program at UBC. They really have some outstanding concepts. Libraries are increasingly moving towards the Library 2.0 (L2) model. Catalogues and homepages play only a part of the whole picture, but an important one. Here's why LEAP surpasses most library homepages by leaps and bounds. Here's hoping it catches on. And quick.

(1) User-generated content – As opposed to content posted solely by the site author(s), LEAP encourages user feedback, with things such as online surveys, polls, and student blogs.

(2) Treats users as co-developers of the site – The more people using the service, the better it becomes. LEAP treats this fundamental treatise to the core, encouraging student’s reviews, comments, and rants. Collective intelligence in its purest form.

(3) Customizable content and interface – LEAP allows students (and faculty) to merge their blog content to the

(4) Core application of the website runs through the browser and web serve – Rather than on a desk platform. We don’t need Dreamweaver. All we need is a freely downloadable open source software. LEAP uses Wordpress, a beautiful piece of work.

(5) Social software – the LEAP homepage is maximizes on this. Blogs, tagging, video and image sharing. You name it, they’ve got it. The whole Web 2.0 suite.

(6) Integration of emerging web technologies – LEAP uses this, building on AJAX, RSS, and using API’s for mashups.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

7 Ways to Better Teaching

Paul Axelrod’s Student Perspectives on Good Teaching: What History Reveals makes some perceptive insight into what makes a good teaching. As academic librarians, we teach almost as much as faculty. Many don't know about this seedy side of the profession. Axelrod puts things into perspective. Librarians need to take charge of instruction - it's an integral part of the profession. What good is technology if there's no one to translate it to users? Here are the top seven things a good teacher should have:

(1) Accessibility and Approachability

(2) Fairness

(3) Open-Mindedness

(4) Mastery and Delivery

(5) Enthusiasm

(6) Humour

(7) Knowledge and Inspiration Imparted

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Information Anarchy

I've just written a short piece about the Semantic Web. What is it? I know what it isn't. The current web is in many ways, an information anarchy, where the multitude of user acccounts and passwords coupled with the vast amount of similar operating web programs, have made online searching not only a difficult task at times, but confusing and frustrating most of the time. In my short article, I explain what the SemWeb proposes to do, and offer the famous seven layered cake as my model of grand understanding. As usual, comments are most welcomed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Five Weeks to a Semantic Web Class

Over at the Semantic Library, which I admire and follow religiously, Melissa is developing a Semantic Library course, very much in line with the 6 Weeks to a Social Library class by Meredith Farkas. What would I teach if I were involved in this very exciting initiative? Well, why don’t I just say right here?

(1) Standards – What is RDF? What kind of metadata is it? What does it have to do with librarians?

(2) Classification and Metadata – What does the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, Resource Description and Access, and MARC 21 have to do with the SemWeb?

(3) From HTML to AJAX to SPARQL – The evolution of programming has led to different versions of the same thing. Is SPARQL the key to unlocking the mystery of the SemWeb? Or are there alternatives?

(4) Realizing the two Tim’s – O’Reilly and Berners-Lee’s vision of the Web. Where we are and where we’re heading? Is Nova Spivak the answer?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Making Academic Web Sites Better

Shu Liu's Engaging Users: The Future of Academic Library Web Sites is an insightful analysis into the present situation of academic library homepages. Academic library websites are libraries' virtual presentation to the world. Liu argues for Web 2.0 concepts for library websites. I enjoyed this article tremendously. It lays out the vision that many websites can handily and readily use in the current landscape of the Web. Take a look, it's worth a read.

(1) User Focus - Focus on library users by presenting library resources in a targeted an customized manner

(2) Personalization - Recognize library users as individuals by giving them opportunities to configure their own library interfaces and to select tools and content based on personal needs

(3) User engagement - Provide sufficient tools to allow and encourage library users in content creation and exchange

(4) Online communities - Nurture the development of online communities by connecting individuals through online publishing, and sharing Web 2.0 tools

(5) Remixability - Employ a mashup approach to aggregate current and emerging information technologies to provide library users with opportunities to explore new possibilities of information resources.