I can’t seem to find

I can’t seem to find a friendly (no hacking required, simple installation, simple admin area) PHP script that:

– lets me gather a variety of RSS feeds
– lets me (optionally) organize them in categories
– displays them in an HTML page by category groups, entries mixed within a category by date
– let’s me adjust the template easily

How hard can it be? All I see is hundreds of script kiddie scripts in various stages of completion. Arg. Any tips?

Data Discussions – a Wilshire

Data Discussions – a Wilshire Conferences Interview with R.Todd Stephens: “R. Todd Stephens is the Director of the Metadata Services Group for the BellSouth Corporation, a role he established in 1999. One of the things that makes Todd particularly interesting as the subject of this discussion is that his laid-back personality and easy sense of humor disguise the driven man within – he’s a guy with both business acumen and serious technical smarts. AND he understands how to make himself and his department indispensable – he’s constantly increasing the value of his department by taking on new responsibilities and new technologies. At this stage his group is involved in architectural efforts that effect the development and implementation of database metadata, data transformation, components, XML, content, documentation, web services, messaging, metrics, interfaces, and the Enterprise Information Portal. Todd is setting an example for the next generation of corporate metadata management – he’s business-driven, financially accountable, technically savvy and most of all he’s wildly enthusiastic about what metadata can do for the organization.”

Old-school theory is a new

Old-school theory is a new force | CNET News.com: “Search giant Google and Autonomy, a company that sells information retrieval tools, both employ Bayesian principles to provide likely (but technically never exact) results to data searches. Researchers are also using Bayesian models to determine correlations between specific symptoms and diseases, create personal robots, and develop artificially intelligent devices that “think” by doing what data and experience tell them to do.

One of the more vocal Bayesian advocates is Microsoft. The company is employing ideas based on probability–or “probabilistic” principles–in its Notification Platform. The technology will be embedded in future Microsoft software and is intended to let computers and cell phones automatically filter messages, schedule meetings without their owners’ help and derive strategies for getting in touch with other people.

If successful, the technology will give rise to “context servers”–electronic butlers that will interpret people’s daily habits and organize their lives under constantly shifting circumstances. “

Cooper redesigned their website (Victor

Cooper redesigned their website (Victor noticed). A quick look at it: I like it except for the homepage. Darn. The old one was a lot nicer – I preferred to get a feel for the projects they’ve done straight up. Of course, the 1996 version is interesting as well :) One thing I notices about the new site is the very crips IA: everything is clearly divided into categories. However, that is a problem: often users need more than one type of information on a page (especially a homepage) – I feel there isn’t enough cross promotion going on on the site. For example, it takes a few clicks into the WHY COOPER section to learn about their experience. If you didn’t know them you could be excused for thinking they were the new kids on the block. And the dropdown menus suck. Jump around all over the place – at least on my machine. Enough complaining now!

Scientific American: Word ‘Bursts’ Could

Scientific American: Word ‘Bursts’ Could Help Refine Web Searches: “To test his approach, Kleinberg used the algorithm to scrutinize the full text of all the State of the Union addresses given since 1790. The “bursts” that the program identified matched important events occurring at the time certain speeches were delivered. For instance, in the aftermath of the American Revolution, “militia” and “British” were among the flagged words, whereas “atomic” displayed substantial “burst” between 1947 and 1959. Such trends are intuitive to people, Kleinberg notes, but a computer, which lacks historical context, still successfully identified them solely by scanning raw text. He posits that the new approach could help narrow web searches by better recognizing the time context of a query.”

livlab.com: Livia asks: “IA and

livlab.com: Livia asks: “IA and WU researches and practices seem to be very US-centric; What are people in Latin America doing then? There are loads of businesses online in the rest of America. Do they work? Could they be better? Are there cultural differences in the way Web projects are developed? Why is scientific production on these topics close to zero in Portuguese or Spanish?”

As a member of AIFIA,

As a member of AIFIA, I started an initiative to discuss information architecture in an international context. (the link goes to the mailing list). Especially if you have a blog or website that is not in English, feel free to link to it. A permanent link (like the one on the top of this page) would be even better, of course :) We are planning to discuss IA in an international context, and how AIFIA can help. What are the problems IA’s in face in places like South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, … What are the unique contributions they can make to the field? Let’s talk!

Joy joy – Victor seems

Joy joy – Victor seems to be blogging again, and asks: “It seems to me one of the big holes in our knowledge of information architecture, one of the main holes in fact, is how taxonomies become navigation. We’re starting to develop very good methods for arriving at taxonomies for modern websites, and we’re also getting better at determining what characteristics are apparent in successful navigation. But that junction of taxonomy and navigation still seems to be part of the black art of IA, the challenge of marrying the bottom-up to the top-down.”

Here’s my take: the disconnect between a taxonomy and a navigation on a site happens when taxonomies are designed without thinking through how they will be used. This ties in with the myth that you can design a taxonomy for something that is not influenced by its use (or its audience). Or even sillier: that there would be a taxonomy without bias. The idea of the objective taxonomy. It’s wrong. There is no such thing. So if you are designing a taxonomy without imagining how you will use it in the navigation, yes, it will be hard to turn it into navigation.

Another take: if you look at taxonomies as organization schemes (for example: Geographical, or By Product, or by Task), a general rule when turning taxonomies into navigation is: one navigation section per taxonomy. Avoid mixing them, except in the global navigation, where mixing navigation schemes is often a good thing. If you visually separate organization schemes it will be easier for the user to find the right one for them.
If you look at the structure of taxonomies (ontology vs. topicmap vs. simple hierarchy vs. facets vs. controlled vocab vs. …), you are thinking about how to design the actual navigation widgets. We know how to best navigate a simple hierarchy. Yahoo. We are learning how to best navigate a faceted structure. Flamenco. The more complex/rich the structure of the taxonomy gets, the more possibilities for creating complex navigation structures.

Adam about the Asilomar interview

Adam about the Asilomar interview feels the AIFIA hasn’t done a good job in communicating with their (potential) members: “Maybe they’re too close. From their perspective, the merits of such an institution may be so obvious that they admit to no further elucidation.” I agree (disclosure: I am on their leadership council). We haven’t done a great job.

Many people question the value of an organization like AIFIA. I did too, but I changed my mind. (Or maybe I just got assimilated) I am starting up a project to discuss and promote IA in an international context. I happen to think IA is too US focussed right now. Anyway, for a project like that to succeed, having an organisation like AIFIA to support it is very useful. Other projects that are in the works will benefit as well – people are working on ideas to promote IA, a job board, and more. It is getting interesting. If you have ideas for projects that can benefit IA in general, and you want AIFIA support, contact us and discuss it. Maybe we can help with something.

Sandstrom (via Tanya): “Picture yourself

Sandstrom (via Tanya): “Picture yourself a successful hunter-gatherer foraging in an uncertain environment, exploiting certain food resources and simply passing by others, all the while wary to avoid becoming prey yourself. In your daily forays you might sometimes forage like a generalist, consuming a wide array of resources. In other times and settings, you become more a specialist, ignoring plentiful foodstuffs in favor of some preferred prey type that, however rare, you invariably pursue and consume once you encounter it. What rules of thumb do human and animal subsistence foragers apply in choosing one resource and ignoring others? Why forage in one place and not another? How long should foragers remain in a particular microhabitat, and should they forage alone or in groups? What are the fitness consequences of different strategies?”