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Category Archives: web

David Weinberger has done it again. In a breezy, scholarly mix of insight and hard data, Weinberger show us how knowledge itself has lost currency to be replaced by knowledge-networks and webs of data.

Showing both the dark side of ubiquitous information as well as the promise of unfettered access to knowledge, Too Big To Know traces the path we have taken starting from the contained static published book to where we are now in the digital age.

Using his signature chatty, pithy style, Weinberger gives us a full view of the changes in online communication including the dangers of ‘echo chambers’ but also the explosion of scholarly communities which are now more broad and inclusive.

Check out a good review by Jeff Jarvis.

Of course an A. Weinberger’s a favorite of mine and this one does not disappoint.

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Clay Shirky’s most recent book highlights the power of social networks to enhance information and communication. Shirky is an engaging writer, conversational, and yet content rich. The book is peppered with lots of great examples. It’s a good read.

Solid A for content and readability

Peter Morville wrote one of the best introductions to digital IA, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. His most recent book, Ambient Findability, is a pleasant and entertaining jaunt through specific aspects of IA such as wayfinding, faceted browsing, semantics, metadata, and information hierarchies. What I particularly like is that Morville weaves in contributions from others in the field such as Clay Shirky and Dave Wienburg. This collaborative approach stands in stark contrast to Steve Johnson’s book Everything Bad is Good for You, which tackled the question of popular culture’s effects on educational development and literacy while completely¬† ignoring Neil Postman’s critical contributions to the topic. I was appalled at Johnson’s ignorance, and wondered how his editor ever let him publish a book with such shoddy scholarship.

Although Ambient Findability lacks a certain depth of original thought, Morville’s willingness to do his homework in regards to the other movers and shakers in his field goes far towards redeeming the book in my eyes.

My stamp of approval: A-

Its a good quick read! You can skim: he should’ve had a better editor. Its really about marketing – in lay terms – and what motivates people in their buying decisions, and how this knowledge is used to manipulate buyer behavior. It also covers social behavior and the underlying factors in the choices we make: and they’re not what you’d think.

He’s had an amazing life: suffered 3rd degree burns on 70% of his body when fifteen. He’s spent the past 30 years slowly reconstructing and healing, mainly through force of will and the simple desire to survive.

I say: A – (the minus for wordiness)

I’m taking advantage of quiet, uninterrupted time to read OUE and am enjoying the chapter by Chris Meckie. He talked about a variant of Open Source Software (OSS), called Community Source Software(CSS).

In the CSS model, universities band together and work cooperatively towards building a product (Sakai is a good example of this). With strict reporting structures and formalized commitments of staff and resources on the part of member institutions, this model is a welcome breath of fresh air. In our age where capitalism is in its apparent end-game, and continues poisoning the world with toxic fruits and vegetables born of unbridled greed and robs average citizens of their life savings through rogue banking practices, it seems that initiatives like CSS and related cooperative endeavors in other domains signal a post-capitalist ray of hope for the introduction of more evolved methods of creating value and managing commerce.

I can’t grade this book! (It just wouldn’t be right, Vijay Kumar is my boss, its a conflict of interest) but there is awesome content here!

This guy breaks the mold. He’s dead smart but talks plain English. He understands the intersection between analog and digital as it relates to information like nobody else. And he’s got wild ideas: the digital world has unleashed the constraints of physical organization, and thus allowed, for the first time, the “miscellaneous” to have a place at the table, so to speak. (for his idea of the miscellaneous think Chris Anderson’s Long Tail but not just commerce).

Check out excellent video at Google Tech Talks.

A ++ baby.

What would Google do?

Jarvis’s take on Google’s success is worth looking into.

The book is bouncy, spare and bright …. and he shows how Google turns the profit model on its head. Whether you like it or not, Google is the success model of the future. Check out what they’re doing. Open this book.

My score: A. Solid.