Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Automated Folksonomy Creation

David HawkingAt the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Sydney, David Hawking, Funnelback founder and Chief Scientist at CSIRO ICT Centre talked about how a web search system could add user generated tags automatically. This does not involve the user entering the tags, or even knowing they are doing it. Instead the search interface notes the words the user searches for and the documents they then select.

It would be interesting to see how well the Funnleback search system works on Web 2.0 content, rather than neat government reports and scientific research reports. Perhaps the search system could participate in discussions as an intelligent information source.

The conference ends today. I am on a discussion panel in the afternoon at the conference having given my presentation yesterday on "Enterprise 2.0 Providing Solutions to Wider Business Needs".

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Linnaeus the blogger?

Professor Sverker Sörlin, of the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, talked about Carolus Linnaeus on Sunday at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Linnaeus proposed a biological classification system, still used today. Some of the ways used to classify data on the web have similarities.

Professor Sörlin showed an excerpt from Linné - An Ordered Mind a docudrama by Otto Fagerstedt, made to commenorate the 300th anniversary of Linnaeus' birth (a preview is available from Swedish TV). He suggested the ABC might like to broadcast the series, but perhaps it would suit SBS TV better.

Professor Sörlin was not completely positive about Linnaeus, suggesting he exploited his students by sending them on dangerous expeditions around the world (half the students did not return) with little or no pay and then taking credit for their research results. The question as to how much of their intellectual property students own, is still an issue in universities today. He commented that Linnaeus was as much interested in finding plants and other resources which Sweden could exploit, as in scientific knowledge. He suggested that Linnaeus' accounts of his journeys were somewhat exaggerated (like the average travel blog today). He also pointed out how Linnaeus artfully promoted expeditions to government and business. In a way Linnaeus was a prototype for the modern university Professor, who is more business person than academic.

One interesting point for Australia is that Dr. Daniel Solander, one of Linnaeus' estranged students, accompanied Joseph Banks on Cook's Endeavour voyage around the world.

On display outside the Museum was a biofuel Saab car, designed to run on alcohol.

ps: At the Web Standards Group Meeting in Canberra 26 July, 2007 on Social computing for government and business, one of the audience commented that creating taxonomies of information was not something newly invited for the web, but had been done by Linnaeus, 300 years before.

See also:

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