Sunday, April 27, 2008

More on Twine

I'm still playing with Twine, and it's growing on me. It's like on steroids.

So, I've started a twine called The Examined Web, where I'm going to collect stories about the social, economic and political impacts of Web 2.0 / the Semantic Web / [insert other Web-related buzzwords here]. That means that I probably won't be doing Link Roundups here anymore, unless I've got a group of stories that I want to comment on and not just point people to. So if you're interested in that kind of stuff, join the twine! You have to join Twine itself first, but I've got 10 invitations for it, so leave a comment here or e-mail me and I will make sure you get one if you need it.

And by the way, if you're interested in the technical side of the Semantic Web and you're planning on joining Twine, you should check out Apps :: On Semantic Web & Related Applications. They've got some great stuff.

(Update: links to the twines added, although I'm not sure what happens if you click on those links and you haven't joined Twine yet....)

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Cult of the Amateur Blogger Makes a Comeback!

I know I've argued that blogs deserve more respect than they get from some people, but even I think that this is going a bit too far.

The Cult of the Amateur Blogger No More?

Some people have been arguing that blogging is going to kill traditional journalism because free bloggers will undercut paid journalists.

Today, Megan McArdle points out that most of the good amateur bloggers have now been hired by one media corporation or another.

Anecdotes != data, but it's an interesting anecdote none the less.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Six months ago I posted about how Twine was going to make my life easier, once I got my beta invitation.

Well, it finally came today, and I've spent the past hour and a half poking around in it.

It's definitely still in beta (real beta, not Google's "beta-in-perpetuity" beta), and the algorithms they're using to pull metadata out of free text still need some work, but I can definitely see the potential in it. But I'm not sure that I see as much potential as the stories from 6 months ago were promising. For what I'd primarily be using it for (organizing my personal research/bookmarks), Zotero has it beat by a mile at this point—and that will jump to about 10 miles once Zotero gets around to launching the server sync and recommender services that they're promising.

Ah well. I will probably play around with it a little further, as it moves out of beta into something that's actually supposed to be fully functional, to see how it winds up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Access to Information in the Third World

There's a nice article in this weekend's New York Times Magazine about how enhanced access to information improves living conditions in the third world. "Ah hah," I'm sure all of you librarians out there are now thinking, "Further proof of how wonderful libraries are!" Actually, no: the story is about how cellphones allow the global poor easy access to information that was either completely unavailable or prohibitively expensive before. (It's an interesting mental exercise for a librarian, actually, to read this article and try to figure out how a library could function to meet the sorts of information needs that are featured in it.)

By the way, the article mentions in passing the story of the fishermen of Kerala, India, who provided some of the first evidence of how important access to information is for the global poor. That story by itself is fascinating. If you're interested, here are a paper from the Quarterly Journal of Economics and a Washington Post article about the research that has been done on these fishermen.

(Yes, I am aware that it's been almost a month since I updated this blog. Yes, I am aware that this makes me a bad blogger. Blogging will become more regular once I finish packing up all of the junk I've acquired in the past 6.5 years and moving it 500 miles.)