The tax

I was IM’ing with my cousin in India, showing her to use She just started her first job as a researcher and needs to keep track of various research services she uses. I explained to her all about tags, and how you can see what others thought of same url. After she had saved a few urls and some oohs and aahs over tags and watching others, she asks – “and how do I remember this url? it is really hard to remember!”

What delicious irony in that the url we use to remember our other urls is so hard to remember. Its almost as if some of the mental energy freed up by offloading all other urls is taken up by remembering how to spell Its the tax! I for one am glad to pay it.

My slides for IA Summit panel and talk

Some of you asked me for the slides for the IA Summit presentations – Here they are. I had a great time at the panel – lots of questions. Seemed like people in the room enjoyed themselves. The sldies for the panel are similar enough to SXSW, so just download that. I am working on a detailed writeup of my contribution to the panel, and will try to post that as well.

And here are the slides from my talk: Sorting, Tagging and Social Information Architecture. The talk was somewhat rambling – I tried to put into perspective the recent disenchantment with hierarchies, the rise of tagging, and how many current trends show the need for IA’s to focus on Social Information Architecture.

Update: Christian Crumlish did an excellent job of taking notes on my talk.

Continue reading

Off to IA Summit

I am posting this from the airport – heading to Vancouver for the IA Summit just as soon as the airplane starts boarding. This is my first time at Vancouver which I am very much looking forward to. And apart from any talks that I might attend, IA Summit is a time for meeting friends and catching up. Its the conference I know the most people at and feel the most home at.

I have two events that I will be participating in. One is a panel on Tagging and Beyond: Personal, Social and Collaborative Information Architecture. I will be participating with people whose views I respect a great deal: Gene Smith, Danah Boyd, Scott Golder and Mimi Yin. I will be talking about the issues I talked about at SXSW.

My other event is a talk. I submitted it as “Sorting in an age of tagging“, but its subtitle could be “A Social Manifesto for Information Architecture” or “The missing chapter in the Polar Bear book”. I am still putting the talk together, but mostly I want to talk about how the “social” is such a crucial part of information architecture, and how the web is not just about designers creation information structures that users navigate, but also about groups of people creating a social reality together. Their exploration and play happens in these worlds that they create and inhabit. How does the role of the designer change? What are the information architecture problems and solutions?

For once I am planning to blog from the conference. So wait for some posts on the weekend.

My slides for Tagging 2.0 panel at SXSW

Just wrapped up with the Tagging panel at SXSW. I talked about “Tagging: From Personal to Social”. I was the last speaker, and there were only 10 minutes left for my presentation. I spoke really fast but managed to get through most of the presentation. You can find the Powerpoint file for my presentation here. Not sure how much sense it makes without the talk, but several people asked me for it, so here it is. Thanks to everyone who came up and gave feedback. And feel free to followup here if you did not get a chance to ask questions.

Off to SXSW!

Just heading off to the airport to catch a flight to Austin. This is my first time at SXSW. Really excited to go there finally. I will be participating in a panel on Tagging. The panel is on Sunday March 12th, 11.30 AM to 12.30 PM in Ballroom E.

Other participants are
Don Turnbull, Univ of Texas at Austin
Adina Levin, Socialtext
Prentiss Riddle,
Thomas Vander Wal, InfoCloud Solutions Inc

Don Turnbull, Univ of Texas at Austin

I am going to talk about tagging as the intersection of the personal and the social. And how tagging approximates the wisdom of crowds better than many other social systems on the web. And some things that designers of tagging systems should keep in mind.

Come by and say hello if you are headed there as well. I will probably be feeling a litle lost since I have not been there before!

Four things…

Blame Joe Lamantia. Not quite sure why I am doing this or why anyone will want to read it, but heck this is the web – I can say what I want!

Four Jobs I’ve Had
1. Teaching Assistant
2. Researcher
3. Teacher
4. Entrepreneur
(never worked for the man!)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Pyasa
3. Beautiful Girls
4. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Four Books I recently enjoyed
1. Life of Pi

2. The Wisdom of Crowds
3. Interpreter of Maladies
4. The man who mistook his wife for a hat

Continue reading

Interesting talk by Google research scientist “Improving search by divining intent”

Terry Winograd runs an excellent seminar focused on HCI (at Stanford). I just saw from the mailing list announcement that this Friday (March 10th), the speaker is from Google. Dan Russell who used to be at IBM, is now a research scientist focused on the area of “search quality and user experience” at Google. He will talk about divining searcher intention. In recent months, Yahoo has made a series of high profile hirings of HCI researchers (Marc Davis comes to mind). I had not realized Google was making similar hirings. (I might be wrong here – please correct me if I am).

Continue reading