October 25, 2010
ASIST conference 2010, Pittsburgh Day 1
Keynote Speaker: Lucy Suchman: Restoring Information's Body
I love when people from all types of study and specialties can come together to talk about shared dilemmas and issues & seem to actually be speaking the same language. Lucy Suchman is a professor of anthropology of science and technology at Lancaster University and also has twenty years experience as a researcher at Xerox's Research Center. While her talk did focus around her research in technology design and use, she spoke to larger issues of information access, use and structure. She brought up many underlying issues, How do we convey meaning in design?; How do we assign meaning and how do our respective roles/job titles/areas of expertise factor into our analysis of meaning? (She used an example of a photo- In one context, it was a woman holding a very particular group of flowers, while in another (w/out the caption or implied meaning, assumably), it was just a woman holding a bouquet of flowers. We provide the meaning, order and assign importance.
But what deems meaning of content? We can make independent inference of a thing on its own, but it is the associate, validated text that really gives meaning. Another independent application of another piece of knowledge, particularly in images. We provide order and meaning, but how do we create consistent dialogue? There seems to always be a level of human interaction and inference at any level (example of color matching of a soil sample in the sciences [Munsell color chart]- like relatively subjective, since color is relative to the beholder)
Technologies as "materialized figurations"
What is an object w/out meaning? (example of NRA slogan: guns don't kill people, people kill people) A gun in a drawer or a pocket is just a gun, but a gun in a hand implies intent. Suchman is very interested in the relationships of technology + human use.
Her more recent research is looking at both warfare and healthcare
Lucy's reading list:
How we became posthuman (N. Katherine Hayles)
Pandora's hope: essays on the reality of social science
Modest witness: Haraway
Acting in Anesthesia: Dawn Goodwin
Performance artist Stelarc- 2003 computer interactive likeness of artist- interacting through text between user and computer. Programmed to respond- Suchman asked computer about philosophy, life, poetry
Silenced work and invisible dialogues in knowledge representation: Susan Leigh Star
3:30 session- Knowledge Organization: Evaluating Foundation and Function in the Information Ecosystem
HIVE (Helping Interdisciplinary Vocabulary Engineering) s an IMLS funded project involving the Metadata Research Center and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is a way to integrate multiple controlled vocabularies. Since many disciplines require different ways of describing things (and will likely never merge into a singular "uber" list of terms, or at least anytime soon), there has to be a way to correlate terms and draw relations. Currently many of the widely known systems (LCSH, TGN, MeSH, etc) are in the project (10 total vocabs)
A concept browser has been experimented with to show related terms. Kea indexer being used in this project. Still needs research for front end usability and back-end performance issues.
Denise Bedford (World Bank/Kent State)- Has spent many years on the World Bank thesaurus- less on the mechanic end, but as a thesaurus creator. She sought out other organizations with similar projects to work collaboratively on these unique business geared models. (Noted that many of these projects at other organizations were eventually dropped due to the time and labor intensive work/lack of funds to sustain/database hard to manage after people retired, moved jobs, etc)
Talked about attempting to merge some of these efforts, but since each thesaurus is so specific to the organization, difficult to merge the efforts. She also noted that in her experience and research, that she feels that crosswalks rarely work, and are not worth the time. She has recently been looking at how to use these thesauri more effectively and how to increase the value of the work. She stressed the importance of the early meetings to negotiate meaning early on in the process, and not as the last step (lesson learned). She also stressed the importance of working at the entity level, and not the concept level, as tempting as it may be.
Bedfore is looking also at how these different systems/software can work together in a meaningful way. Also mentioned the Open Ontology Repository
Gail Hodge (Information International Associates, Inc. Trouble with terms with multiple meanings, esp. across disciplines (basic example of the word 'flow' in different sciences)
How does this compound with multiple languages?
Can we link the specific terms to the broader concepts successfully? (18 broad categories have already given some problems. How can we both offer the specificity for breadth while also catering to multiple disciplines in a single search mechanism or schema? (comment on whether we are looking at system-based problems or human based issues. Does a high level facet approach of an integrated modeling of database solve our issues? probably not- still boils down to the user and the purpose of search.
Should be looking to NISO, ISO and W3C for guidance
Posted by vad17 at October 25, 2010 12:48 PM
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Posted by: oslmiyuxqo at October 25, 2010 06:05 PM
Great article with useful information. What determines the validated text?
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