July 16, 2008
When I began to become enraptured with Web 2.0 I wanted to find ways to use intelligent, emerging instruments from the semantic web to continually improve findability and search optimization of resources I had gathered over many years, even if my own PC broke down and all my back up systems failed, and my own memory became faulty, or . . . I had hoped that blogging would help me remember where I put things that might someday be useful again.
The catalyst for “Folksonomy: optimizing soul searching” was a question regarding how absent categories impose their presence through their very absence. Faced with closed field category/subcategory options offered by Digg for example, under which I had to place my article, etc I struggled between philosophy or society, finance or economics, environment or politics.
I have also found it enlightening to find under which categories my own Creative Commons blogs, articles, posts and images might appear.
As my own sites grow organically, my categories and parent categories constantly need to be reformulated; new tags added and others deleted or merged. The goal is efficiency and elegance in the ungainly word of “findability” or search engine optimization, potent instruments in the semantic web.
At times I am frustrated by the absence of categories that exclude entire populations and conversations. Recently I came across a site hosted by the Washington Post. In their About page they describe how they use the limitless space of the online world to host a blog entitled “On Faith” which invites “intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful,fruitful, intriguing and constructive conversation-among specialists and generalists about the things that matter most, religion, the most ancient of forces, the most pervasive yet “least understood topic in global life.”
I read comments and the post from David Grant, a junior at Virginia Tech who commenting on his visit to the Baha’i gardens in Haifa,Israel-Palestine (which has recently been named as an International Heritage Site) remarking on the broad reach of the Baha’i religion. “Where else on Earth could you find a family from the Bible Belt, a pair of South Africans currently working in Japan, and a crew of Peruvians all heading to say their prayers at the same spot?”
I wanted to search “On Faith” for more strings on the Baha’i but realized that Baha’i World Faith was not offered in their pop-up menu of “List Posts by Topics” which did include: Anglican, Atheist/Agnostic, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Earth-based Spirituality, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Evangelical, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Mainline Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, Native American religion, Protestant, Quaker, Sikh, Taoist, Wiccan.
As of February 2008 there were 5,000,000 Baha’is in the world and 159,692 Baha’is in the United States. I couldn’t find a figure for either Taoist or Wiccans but one site at least claimed that in 2001 there were c. 34,000 Wiccans in the US.
Baha’is promote tolerance and moderation and are anxiously concerned with the social issues of the time in which they live. Baha’is around the globe contribute to civil society at locally, regionally, nationally levels on issues and programs related to World Religion Day, interfaith relations, religious freedom, Race Unity Day, race unity, elimination of prejudice, advancement of women (CEDAW), human rights, among others. Baha’is have offices at United Nations as NGO are are prominent in international forums as invited participants acknowledged for civil moderate behaviour in the most volatile situations. Recently the U.S. Bahá’í U.N. representative Jeffery Huffines received a Friendship Award for his work “promoting cultural understanding throughout the world and at the UN Headquarters” and for serving as a “positive, guiding force” to all. It is surprising that Baha’is seem to be largely absent from this forum.
The categories offered under “List Posts by Topics” are confusing since some are parent categories for the others. The Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants and Evangelical are all followers of Christ and are all therefore Christians. Which discussions take place solely under the name of Anglican, Mainline Protestants and Episcopal? In terms of the semantic web it would be far more useful to provide a theme-based “List of Topics” that is inclusive of all the groups and religions mentioned. Tags could be used to facilitate searches for a Quaker, Sikh or Baha’i or Catholic perspective, for example. I would recommend that the blog architects revisit and update their taxonomy using principles of folksonomy: what users do with words.
Years of working with research materials leads to a way of thinking with categories, subcategories; key words (tags); abstracts, descriptions, key concepts, timelines, references in .eml or similar formats. The semantic web revs up that process with powerful tools. So my blogs are always a work in progress, process works.
My own personal blogs are experimental and while I am very conscientious about what is here, I can claim no professional authority in any one field.
At this time in my life I feel as if I live outside linear time. Blog stats soar up suddenly for no apparent reason on a blog posted weeks or month ago. So I tidy it up a little. Then the graph drops sharply again with no apparent reason. I don’t need to try to control it.
Outside linear time, I could just pick up threads begun months ago on Milton Friedman, the social history of Inuit, media objectivity or what we do in the name of such concepts as “memory work” or “everyday life.” Through creative commons I could share all my teaching, learning and research resources without having to shorten them, tidy them up or make them ready for someone else’s deadline. Take what you need and leave the rest. I would still work as hard as I could to maintain my own standards particularly in investigating , acknowledging and referencing sources of information, images, etc.
As I am creating, writing, coding, snurling, twittering, blogging, and uploading to wikipedia, social bookmark accounts, my blogs or others’ etc I have absolutely no trust in anyone.
I post knowing that anything I have shared can be misinterpreted, misunderstood, misread. It can be rejected, ignored, criticized. It can be copied and pasted without my name attached. I license all my work under the Creative Commons License 3.0 SA-NC-BY but I know it cannot be enforced in most cases.
So why bother?
What I do is not based on my need to trust others in cyberspace. I do not feel as though I am an embodied link in an embodied network in linear time and space.
This is even more than that. If I use the semantic web effectively, a searcher who is not “now” from a geographic location that is not “here” can still find my arrows, my markers, hotwords and icons, index-mouse-clicks that might just help them a little in their search. Maybe I will be that searcher.
It is more important to me to work hard at providing information that is not misinformation, trying hard to be as close to the truth as is possible, to use the most powerful arguments from the most reliable texts available to me at any given time.
I am not an anthropologist nor a journalist; I am definitely not a churnalist. My responsibility to me and therefore to others in this network or not, is to post that which I believe to be useful in a way that allows others to follow a trail of truth claims should they choose.
Thirteen years ago Francis Fukuyama in Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity (1995) questioned predictions that the Internet, the computer to computer communication network, unleashed from restrictions imposed by its creator, the Department of Defense, would herald a new organizational network constituted by small firms and individuals that would prove to be superior to large, hierarchical corporations and anarchical market relationships (Fukuyama 1995:195). Fukuyama argued that network efficiency depended on reciprocal moral judgment , “a high level of trust and the existence of shared norms and ethical behaviour between network members (Fukuyama 1995:195).” He contrasted the necessity of that network users share social responsibilities and obligations with hackers and other users who were “free spirits hostile to any form of authority . . . vulnerable to certain forms of normlessness and asocial behaviour.”
Fukuyama furthered argued that the Internet is a community of shared values using the concept similar to Shumpei Kumon’s notion of “consensus/inducement-based exchange.” He felt that Internet users in the 1970s and 1980s (mainly government and academic researchers) internalized unquestioned shared values. The Internet could be kept low-cost if users respected certain ethical standards.
In 1994 two lawyers broke the Internet’s code of ethics and bombarded news groups with advertisements for their services (Fukuyama 1995:196). The lawyers were not breaking any written laws and were not shamed into retreat. However, the sheer quantity of hate mail they receive, forced their server shut down.
Although the monitization of all things Internet is well underway, there is also exponential growth in cyberworld capital  which like cultural capital or academic capital can facilitate access to certain privileges. I am aware of ways in which users of social networking sites strategize to optimize search engine findability, to increase their hits, statistics, and cyberworld capital.
I am not certain if the success in accumulating cyberworld capital or monitizing all things Internet is made more efficient by trust?
1. Fukuyama compares network as community concept to the Japanese concept of keiretsu and its western reincarnation in American conglomerates like Gulf + West + ITT. keiretsu depends on a high level of trust.
2. Some measure cyberworld capital in terms such as “authority” as with Technorati. Others self-identify as A1bloggers.
Filed in Blogosphere, ethics, Philosophy, philosophy and society, Religion, semantic web, social cohesion, society, Technology. Mind and Consciousness, Web 2.0
Tags: authority, Baha'i, categories, cyberworld capital, findability, folksonomy, network, on faith, Religion, search engine optimization, semantic web, SEO, social virtues, tagging, taxonomy, Trust
December 29, 2007
As I learn more about the ever-expanding potential of Web 2.0 I am working on my own personal use of folksonomy as a creative, organic, rhizomic, dynamic and growing mind map, a virtual memory palace. I need tools with codes that are generous, robust and designed to be inclusive and accessible. WordPress’ powerful folksonomy tools is enhanced by its connectivity with the Google search engine. Users can review detailed statistics of page views in stats > manage files > WordPress. By examining how viewers stumbled upon your content you can refine and improve both findability and content utility.
For over a decade I had used EndNote not only as a bibliographic database but a database of key concepts, acryonyms, timelines, biographies which gradually emerged as part of a digital mindmap. With versions from c. 2005 onwards EndNote became more and more proprietorial, very expensive and full of technical problems that could be resolved by purchasing an even newer version or spending hours on one small but essential detailed process.
Unfortunately since I stopped entering new data into EndNote two years ago in my search for a Web 2.0 open source solution, I miss EndNote and I am slowly beginning to use it again. I will develop it in tandem with the myriad of Open Source software available.
In an attempt to make more efficient use of hyperlinks I have started using anchors available under the “bookmarking” capacity in in my Google Docs as links between citations and bibliographic entries at the end of the document.
[Anchors are HTML coded inserts that are useful in linking footnotes and bibliographic citations in hypertext documents. I am experimenting with anchors again in WordPress at the same time. This document was published as a Google doc and then automatically sent to this blog. The Google doc anchors do not work in WordPress which is understandable since anchors are document url related. So I changed the Google Docs anchor HTML coded links to be compatible with the specific WordPress post url, then added the #aname code and link. So the full url of the anchored text in this post entitled "Mapping Your Mind as a Memory Palace using Folksonomy" is <a href=" http://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/2007/12/29/mapping-your-mind-as-a-memory-palace-using-folksonomy#collectiveconscience"> collective conscience </a>
The text can be anchored by using the simple HTML code <a name ="collectiveconscience">collective conscience</a> in the specfic section of the post that you want to link. So far I have only corrected the one anchor.]
My Google docs are an odd combination of timelines of the social history, a who’s who, bibliography and webliography, tag clouds of documents I have mined related to a phenomenon that is a sister node on the rhizome of my mind map.
CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Mapping Your Mind as a Memory Palace using Folksonomy.” December 28, 2007. http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_456kbxxr6fw
Filed in Academic Disciplines, democracy, folksonomy, governance, Memory Work, religion and politics, Tag Clouds, teaching learning and research, Technology and Software, Web 2.0
Tags: anchors, anchors in Wordpress, Derrida, Jacques, elite studies, EndNote, ethnoclassification, findability, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Memory Palace, modernity, Open Source, rhizome, search engine optimization, social cohesion, social exclusion, Tag Clouds, tagging
December 10, 2007
Schmap is the latest of the web 2.0 technologies that heighten my connectivity on the Internet. One of my Creative Commons Flickr photos of Calgary’s Nose Hill Park was picked up by Schmap through Flickr’s powerful Search Engine Optimized tagging tools – folksonomy for Flickr photo folks. We were planning a trip to the 12 Days of Christmas at Calgary’ Heritage Park. As I use Schmap to prepare for our outing this weekend, I feel somewhat like a 2.0 volunteer in my newly-adopted city.
North Carolina-based Schmap has been operating since 2004 providing free digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada (with Calgary as one of its highlighted cities), Australia and New Zealand.
They also offer an innovative technology that lets bloggers insert schmapplets – a range of fully customizable map mashups and map widgets on their personal blogs. I have tried to add the widget to Speechless but it didn’t work. Probably just as well as I am concerned that my WordPress blog is slow to open on machines that don’t have my images and files in cache.
Filed in Blogosphere, collaborative, everyday life, folksonomy, geotagging, slow world, virtual
Tags: bricoleuse, Calgary, Creative Commons, ethnoclassification, everyday.life, findability, flickr, Green Calgary, Learning from users, New generation social marketing, schmap, search engine optimization, SEO, tagging, wordpress
September 28, 2007
Speechless is now on WordPress’ list of Growing Blogs with 22,854 viewers. My first entry was entitled “Navigation Tools for the Blogosphere” and as I approach Speechless’ first anniversary I’ve just begun to use two new Open Source applications, CiteULike and Flexlists. I had attempted Zotero as a replacement for my huge EndNote library but I somehow lost the new library when I switched computers. CiteULike is all on-line and annotates references for me in formats used by academics. It also allows me to enter my CiteULike entries into my EndNote database. So far I’ve just been experimenting with compiling references on the concept of “memory work” in My Webliography and Bibliography. I have been contributing to building on-line resources of the concept “memory work” on wikipedia, deli.cio.us, WordPress, Googles Customized Search and Swicki.
I’ve also begun a list of key concepts on Flexlists which I prefer to call My Organic Glossary since it will mutate as my understanding of terms matures, deepens and develops through further teaching, learning and research.
I had attempted to use Babylon as an Open Source on-line build-your-own-glossary but realized that it is not actually free. It offers a limited introductory period followed by a pay-to-use plan. It would have been frustrating to invest time in building a glossary only to lose access to it!
I’ve started investing more time into my Google Customized Search on “Memory Work” and added Adsense. I have added refinements to it through labels: health, academic, article, museology, Inuit,
Filed in Blogosphere, collaborative, folksonomy, Memory Work, semantic web, Tag Clouds, teaching learning and research, Technology and Software, Web 2.0
Tags: blog stats, CiteULike, cyberdelirium, cyberworld nomad, del.icio.us, EndNote, EndNote 8, Ethical turn, flexlist, Google Customized Search, Halévy, Daniel, New generation social marketing, noise vs. pattern, Nora, Pierre, rapture of the deep internet, search engine optimization, SEO, social bookmarking, social.networks, Tag Clouds, tagging, taxonomy, zotero