Content Inventory follow up: if

Content Inventory follow up: if you want to make a local copy of a site (really useful for working from home, on the train, or just having fast access), Offline Explorer is the best product I’ve found. It works through https, through a VPN, you name it, and the tech support is pretty good. And it’s $50 per user.

At a discussion with a

At a discussion with a bunch of smart IA’s a few days ago it was mentioned that IA’s often have lots of ideas but aren’t very good programmers (that’s often why they became IA’s – I know I did). So they can’t experiment much in real life, and ideas stay in that fuzzy cool idea-without-real-life-feedback stage.

I have the same problem developing Taxomita: I have a beta going but my coding isn’t top. So now I am experimenting with the old have-a-programmer-in-a-cheap-country approach. I will blog on my experiences, but Joel on Software is proving to be a great resource to set this up.

Other people keep doing a

Other people keep doing a better job of explaining XFML than I do:
Simon Willison: “Mark Pilgrim has discovered XFML. He provides an excellent description of the standard, but fails to mention XFML’s most powerful ability; sharing metadata. (I believe Simon means connecting metadata) Here’s how it works: (follows excellent and succinct description)
[…]
This is just the tip of the iceberg – apply the creative global mindset that is the blogging community and who knows what will happen :)”

*Market Research*: “‘Market Research’ is

*Market Research*: “‘Market Research’ is an ongoing project that captures footage by deploying smart cameras — sensors, cameras and transmitters — within products in the ‘market’. The camera systems are triggered by the interactions of the user with the device — systematically collecting ‘evidence’ of the actual conditions of use. Once captured, footage used to evaluate assumptions embedded in the design of the products and the conceptualization of the market.”

Mark’s clear explanation of XFML

Mark’s clear explanation of XFML got people thinking. I realize now I never did a great job of explaining it.

asterisk*: Yet another interesting technology…XFML: “But I’ll need to explore it more. That or have Brian, the Web producer of our team, who is great at researching this kind of thing, do the rest of the leg work for me.”

Webgraphics: “Mark explains XFML in the clear, cohesive manner that makes his site one of the best.”

Gimle: ‘[…] RDF for example is a very effective and powerful tool. The problem is that it’s too effective and powerful for what I want.
The cool bit only struck me today as I was browsing Dive Into Mark.
XFML.
Classic lightbulb scenario.
The XFML format provides you with an easy way of creating conceptual categories and topics for your website and then associate your webpages with the various topics it touches upon.” Clifton really gets it when discussing the topic linking capabilities of XFML: “That’s what I’d call proper intertextual contextualisation. This is classic Yin kind of power. Introverted, the primary focus is to know yourself (marking your data up properly, thoroughly and with care, this part can’t really be automated). Once that is done, the rest is easier and can be automated much more effectively than the content part.”

Jonathan Delacour: “Wouldn’t it be neat to have a central registry of Myers-Briggs Type Indicators for the inhabitants of our little corner of Blogaria? If you know your Myers-Briggs type, why not reveal it in a comment or send me an email? If you don’t yet know your type, you can take the Typology Test. I could create a MySQL database that stored each blogger’s name, URL, email address, and an entirely subjective description of their blogging style then create a PHP page to list the results. Perhaps Mark Pilgrim could summarize the hierarchical faceted metadata using XFML.”

Marek: “Mark Pilgrim shares an xfmllib library for Python, and explains XFML in a way that a human can understand.”

Problems with internalizing/socializing classification systems

Even when a company creates a well thought out classification system, things often still go wrong. People put stuff in the wrong place, add a bunch of personal folders somewhere, and at the end of the day, a lot of stuff still can’t be found because it’s been misclassified or the classification system has been corrupted. Old style classification in real cabinets had the same problem: companies addressed this by making someone responsible for classifying all incoming documents, even though everyone had free access to take stuff out. How do we model a system so that things don’t get misclassified into an (otherwise) nice classification system?

My view: categories get internalized only by using them, or even better, creating them yourself. When you create a category chances are you’ll use it more or less correctly. When someone else creates one, the probablility of correct filing drops steeply. And the mental effort it takes to understand this categorization approach is big, especially because there are no direct rewards for you.

One approach that may work is distributed metadata. But that idea is in its infancy. So what do we do?

Amazon.com : Price “Too Low

Amazon.com : Price “Too Low to Display” Explained: “this discount is calculated in the Shopping Cart”. Yeah right. Amazon is its usual nice self having a link to an explanation next to the marketing ploy “add to your shopping basket to see price”, but why then do they give us a dodgy lie: “Is calculated in the shopping basket”? Why don’t they just say it increases conversion rates – I’m cool with that.

Mark Pilgrim’s XFML Python library

Mark Pilgrim is writing a python library for XFML: dive into mark – xfmllib: “XFML is a new format for providing hierarchical faceted metadata. Think of it as a way of expressing all the different cross-sections of a site. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it until a kind soul came along and mocked up an XFML representation of Dive Into Accessibility, my tutorial on web accessibility techniques. Then it all became clear.
[…]
You see, each tip in Dive Into Accessibility discusses a specific technique, the general design principles the technique embodies, the types of disabilities (expressed in the form of character sketches) that would benefit from its implementation, the web browsers involved, and (in some cases) specific instructions for implementing the tip in various publishing tools.

To express this in XFML, we first define six top-level facets: person, physical disability, technological disability, design principle, web browser, and publishing tool.

Within the person facet, we define topics: Jackie, Michael, Bill, Lillian, Marcus, and also Google, since many accessibility techniques directly impact search engine placement, and Google’s spidering bot can be thought of as a blind reader (a really, really voracious reader).
[…]
Now feed it into a portal-making script and it looks like a portal. Or feed it into a search-engine-making script and it looks like a search engine. That’s wicked cool.”