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Search at the Speed of Thought

A guiding principle in information technology has been to enable people to perform tasks at the “speed of thought”. The goal is not just to make people more efficient in our use of technology, but to remove the delays and distractions that make us focus on the technology rather than the tasks themselves. For example, […]

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SIGIR 2010: Day 1 Posters

The first day of SIGIR 2010 ended with a monster poster session–over 100 posters to see in 2 hours in a hall without air conditioning! I managed to see a handful: “Query Quality: User Ratings and System Predictions” by Claudia Hauff, Franciska de Jong, Diane Kelly, and Leif Azzopardi offered the startling (to me at […]

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The War on Attention Poverty: Measuring Twitter Authority

http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=waronattentionpoverty-100713213804-phpapp01&stripped_title=the-war-on-attention-poverty-measuring-twitter-authority I gave this presentation today at AT&T Labs, hosted by Stephen North of Graphviz fame. The talk was recorded, but I don’t know when the video will be available. In the mean time, here are the slides. The audience was very engaged and questioned just about all of the TunkRank model’s assumptions. I’m hopeful that […]

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Beyond Social Currency

A research study I like enough to have blogged about it a few times is Princeton sociologist Matt Salganik‘s dissertation work on music preferences and social contagion. For those unfamiliar with this work, here is the abstract of his Science article “Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market” (co-authored with Peter Dodds […]

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Can We Build a Distributed Trust Network?

http://blip.tv/play/AYHOqGwC Mathew Ingram posted an interview with Craig Newmark (the Craig of craigslist fame) in which the latter argued that what the web needs is a “distributed trust network” to manage our online reputations. As it happens, this is an idea that has occupied me for several years. So I figured it was about time that I shared my […]

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Is Spontaneity Overrated?

It used to be a surprise when people remembered our birthdays, but in the twenty-first century Facebook ensures that we will never forget a birthday. Does that make the happy birthday wishes any less sincere? Or is technology simply providing us with a cognitive assist and helping us express our sincere feelings? A related question is how […]

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Exploring Exploratory Search

Google’s recently released Image Swirl is slick. But I’ve been struggling to figure out whether it’s useful or simply a showcase for cool technology. And that’s prompted me to think about the overloaded term “exploratory search“. A while back, I tried to define exploratory search based on what it is not. This time, let me […]

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Software Patents: A Personal Story

Given the radioactive nature of this post’s subject matter, I feel the need to remind readers that this is not a corporate blog, and that the opinions expressed within are my personal opinions, not those of my employer. Also, please understand that I cannot comment on any intellectual property issues specifically related to my employer. […]

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Goby Goes Deep

At  the first HCIR workshop in 2007, Michael Stonebraker stood up in the middle of an open discussion session and told all assembled that we needed to be thinking about the deep web. I don’t know how much the audience took heed of his call, but he certainly followed his own advice. He and Endeca […]

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Finding, Locating, Discovering

Thanks to Tony Hollingsworth for alerting me to a post by Alex Campbell entitled “Stark realisation: I no longer depend on Google to find stuff“. The title is provocative link bait, but the take-away is very down to earth: Google is primarily useful for locating information than for discovering it. Library scientists make a distinction […]