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  Donnerstag, 23. Mai 2002

Departement It had to happen ...

google-set-vistaRSS 1.0 Modules.

Or, to be more specific, Top: Reference: Libraries: Library and Information Science: Technical Services: Cataloguing: Metadata: Resource Description Framework - RDF: Applications: RSS: Specifications: RSS1.0 Modules.Trotz dem horriblen Ocker: Lesen.peterme.com/archives/00000207.html

alex_s 7435 days AGO
You're the man Chris! I love the fact that the shorter labels for the set items display much better then page titles, the way they are displayed in the not yet publicised TGGoogleBrowser I don't know how generic I can make this type of applet since every application seems to demand it's own set of features. For instance for the GoogleBrowser it makes sence to have a filer to display just the first N links returned.

For the google-set-vista, I was thinking that a neat feature would be to add memory of the previously selected node to the query. Basically, when someone starts with REBOL, and then double clicks on Python, the query sent to google should include both the terms. Then, when someone clicks on the next link, Python should be included as the other search term. Perhaps you only need to do this if the first and second term are connected by an edge.

The other question is how best to display the terms. It seems that a method that you should consider for the Two-word seed, is to create an anonimous node between the two that would have short edges going out to the two seed terms, and longer ones to the rest of the members in the set. This might be too complex though (though not undoably complex), so I guess that just adding the edges to the secont term clicked would be ok.

You joke, but I am thinking of serious applications here. Now I just have to figure out what they are :) Seriously though, I am sure that there are plenty.

--Alex (alex_s)

chris 7435 days AGO
Carrying-through the start word is certainly a great idea in order to disambiguate, on the other hand I find the overlaps rather interesting ;-) Sometimes at least.

Ahhhh, TouchGraph rocks. I think the "auto-mapping" that's visible when "locality" is set to maximum bears the greatest potential, especially when connected with usage-derived data sources like the Google Sets or Amazon's CF. The only problem I can see is that TouchGraph quickly becomes unusable for enjoyable interactive use with big graphs.

For "serious applications" I guess you'll have to work with your potential customers directly, as I can see numerous analytic applications of graph-based UI technology.

alex_s 7434 days AGO
Well, I don't know if my plan would eliminate overlaps, but on further thought I think that it might be too complicated.

I found a real fun use for the set browser that works well without it, Names! Movies + TV shows work ok too, but there there seems to be too much noise. With people it's there too, but it tends to be funny. Try starting with Hillary Clinton! Also, a search for Bill Clinton links to "Slease" and funnier still is that "Slease" Links back to Bill Clinton!

What I was thinking though is that it would be nice if you could set the initial locality to 3 or 4 instead of 2. This way people would not have to go through the confusion of finding the locality scroll bar behind the zoom one.

Also, retrieving the search results seems to work pretty fast. Why not retrive them at radius 2, the way the GoogleBrowser does it?

--Alex (alex_s)

David Ness 7434 days AGO
I remain skeptical of the Touch Graph (and its like) approach to display, particularly in contrast with a simple straightforward text display. But rather than trying to go into them here, I've added them to the top of the pile in `Piled Higher and Deeper' on my home page. (http://mywebpages.comcast.net/dness)

It is hard for me to know whether I am (a) missing the point; or (b) just disagreeing about the likely prospects for this technology, so any comments on my note, whether here or directly would be appreciated.

alex_s 7434 days AGO
Hi David. I'm glad that this technology has roused you to a responce, but I am not so happy that you did not provide any links to TouchGraph or Langreiter.com (opinions expressed are my own) in your article, so I am choosing to respond here rather then on your homepage.

It would have been an especially good idea for you to provide back links since you are clearly NOT writing about TopicMaps, but rather about conceptual Maps souch as the ones featured on the above sites.

Contrary to what one might come to believe from only reading the initial quote 2002-05-22-tmTao, Topic Maps don't actually have much to do with real Maps. They are not a visual concept, and all the popular implementations do in fact use "straightforward text displays".

So on to your argument.

Your statement that "I used to use maps a lot, but have found lately that I use them less and less." just does not seem to be a good argument against maps. Even if one could make an analogy between "text based directions":"directions on a map", and "an index":"a touchgraph type map", I think that you would have to concede that still makes TouchGraph a very usefull technology. But the thing is, both real maps, and information maps are usefull for a lot more then just giving directions, so the advantages gained by using maps rather then directions is even greater then in this analogy.

Real maps give you a sence of the overall picture. Without maps you would never know the shape of any continent, since it is impossible to experience this in any other way then looking at a scaled down model. And think of the process of communicating to a tourist the sites to see in a city. You can't give directions from every point to every other point, but this information can be consicely communicated by a map.

As for defending visualizations of concepts + other entities, I think that this was well commented on by Chris: comment-2002-04-22-3 "they help broaden my short-term memory 'horizon' while looking at them, they help me discover relationships I wouldn't have thought existed and let me discover patterns where none were expected." I think that this more then justifies their existance.

--Alex (alex_s)

chris 7433 days AGO
Topic Maps indeed do not have any inherent visual appearance, so the specific point is void (tho it is to be conceded that the name is probably somewhat misleading). I think Alex summarizes my thinking with "without maps you would never know the shape of any continent" very well.

Maps simply give you a cognitive handle on large-scale relationships where no straightforwardly obvious one is attainable by looking at the constituents alone. My interest in maps and visualizations, however, does not at all imply that I'm not interested in "better text displays". Indeed I think that a flexible combination of map-like displays (big picture), concordances (mid-size picture, revealing more contextual detail) and detail views are a very powerful combination.

I'm currently reading up on how visualizing and actively exploring data can enhance learning, and many reports so far suggest that indeed people at all ages benefit from such techniques when acquiring new knowledge.

Thanks for making us think harder, as always ;-)

chris 7433 days AGO
David, as soon as the "The Space of Ideas" section of your PHD posting is complete, I'll comment more.

traumwind 7430 days AGO
just to chime in here... I myself don't have maps in my mind either. But that due to the fact that I have a very, very bnad sense of orientation altogether, and not the usefullness of maps per se.

If one states that 'maps' (or TG like visualisations) are a sub-optimal representation of the underlying relationships - because of the misleading nature of their visual representation - then why should a textual representation be superior?

Expressing relationships in words has very often lead to more confusion than it was any good. 'I don't have words' is a very comon saying when we are dealing with dificult concepts, be it emotions or be it multidimensional relations.

I'd conclude with saying: each representation has its very own strenghts and weaknesses. Depending on the intended use one might be superior to the other.
Let's just always keep in mind that a representation is exactly that, and not the thing itself.

David Ness 7429 days AGO
Alex_S, Chris and Traumwind raise interesting points that (a) deserve answer, but (b) I'm not quite sure if long answers fit well into this format. So I'll make my remarks terse, not out of disrespect for the points, but just to avoid going `on and on'.

Alex_S and Chris both set me right about using `TopicMaps' as a generic category when it actually refers to something quite specific. I changed my paper to refer to `maps of topics' (hopefully clearly generic) instead. My remarks about the `TAO of TopicMaps' I let stand because they were about the general subject of mapping.

Alex_S suggested I should have provided more links. I'm not sure if the suggestion was specific to the situation or more general. In any case I do not like links when matters are being written about `in depth'. Links are wonderful, of course, in a Blog like Chris', where an important part of the objective is, presumably, to act as a `gatekeeper' to other material. However, I find them distractive and desultory when attempting to deal with matters in depth. _All_ of the good journalists that I regularly read on the Net make scant use of links. And I think they're right.

Alex_S seems to want to put words in my mouth with things like `I think that you would have to concede that still makes TouchGraph a very usefull technology.' But I don't. For the life of me, I can't figure out anything useful whatever about it.

Again: `Real maps give you a sence of the overall picture. Without maps you would never know the shape of any continent' Has knowing the `shape of any continent' ever been of any use to you? It surely hasn't to me, and indeed the `sense of shape' that I get from maps has, I find, led to gross misunderstandings about relative size and direction.

Finally, `religious testimonial' responses are (mildly) interesting but not, in my experience anyway, of much real help. `They help me discover relationships' is a statement that I wouldn't challenge. But then if someone said `Looking at the sky on a cloudy day helps me discover relationships' I wouldn't argue with them either.

What _would_ be helpful is a more detailed description of some of the things that were `discovered' and what the `process of discovering them' was like. So far what I have seen is at levels of generality and non-specificness far removed from that.

As to Traumwind's question: `If one states that 'maps' (or TG like visualisations) are a sub- optimal representation of the underlying relationships - because of the misleading nature of their visual representation - then why should a textual representation be superior?' I guess my response would be that textual representations allow for conceptual complexity that we simply have no clue about how to present in any pictoral form. Painting `love' is hard enough. Painting more complex concepts (like `referential transperency' perhaps?) is mind-bogglingly difficult.

And while I would agree with Traumwind that `Expressing relationships in words has very often lead to more confusion than it was any good. 'I don't have words' is a very comon saying when we are dealing with dificult concepts, be it emotions or be it multidimensional relations.' I would suggest that---for the most part---trying to describe them any other way is _even harder_.

`I'd conclude with saying: each representation has its very own strenghts and weaknesses. Depending on the intended use one might be superior to the other.
Let's just always keep in mind that a representation is exactly that, and not the thing itself.' And I'd agree with that, particularly if we add the caveat that what is `superiority' may also depend on the individual.

traumwind 7429 days AGO
@David: I do appreciate your way of stating things in a 'terse' form here.

But I must disagree with your statement, that puting something into pictures might be even harder than putting it to words.
'A picture says more than a thousand words'. But of course this is not true for all cases as is is not true in reverse.

David Ness 7429 days AGO
I guess we must disagree. For example, I'd have a _much_ greater problem putting the concept of `a prime number' into a picture than I have putting it into words...

traumwind 7429 days AGO
point taken ;)
as we do agree, it's the question of what we want to 'illiustrate'

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