May 2009 Archives

Wolfram + Kosmix = Brains with Sensitivity...

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Hi Everyone,

I realize I have not posted in a while, but it's never too late to contribute. I have been working on a new digital media strategy, and thinking of a new ways to provide access to the University's media collections, as well as, some of the great media resources available on the "Internets". Well, two tools give me hope for the future, if not inspiration for the present. The first is Kosmix. Kosmix is a 3 year old, well capitilized, vertical search tool developed by the folks behind the shopping cart (and partially funded by Jeff Bezos). Kosmix is noted for the way that it aggregates and displays content in a media-rich context by dynamically comparing resources from a broad range of resources.

The second tool that excites me is Wolfram Alpha, from the makers of Mathematica (Stephen Wolfram). Wolfram Alpha's goal is for individuals to be able to aggregate, compare, and display results from data sets from disparate resources available on the Web. This tool, set to launch by the end of May, was demonstrated recently at the Berkman Center of Harvard Law.

In light of a recent discussion I had with a staff member from the U's Institute on the Environment about how media might be able to assist environmental policy students in bringing awareness to environment issues, in addition to how scientific researchers might be able to use media to better explain their findings; I started to think, "wouldn't it be amazing if we could combine the potential of Wolfram to make meaning and display data from disparate sources, with media related to the components of those resources."

Take this example:

data set (a)= unemployment figures for a city
data set (b)= use of food banks for a city

a correlation might be determined.

text, video, images, and audio (i.e.,podcast) of various media resources discussing the matter could also be displayed and user generated content, "mashed up" to tell a story.

Now that would be a teaching and learning experience for all parties involved! Not quite utopian semantic web, but much better than current data discoverability and display experience.

Please share your thoughts..


Extra! Extra! DMCA Hearings - Get it While Its Hot!


Just a heads up, the DMCA tri-annual hearings (section 1201) were held this past week beginning at Stanford and moving to Washington D.C. For most, this is hardly noteworthy, simple routine democracy in action. For media professionals, this is indeed dramatic theater, pointed out by Wendy Seltzer. UofM's own (Morris) Prof. Tisha Turk referred to as a "remix artist" also testified. A decision on DMCA exemption is expected from LOC Librarian, James Billington, by October, 28 2009. I am anxiously awaiting the ruling, as we deal with digital media copyright/fair use issues on a regular basis.

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