Ivan’s private site

May 10, 2007

WWW2007 Conference (1st and part of the 2nd day)

Filed under: Work Related — Ivan Herman @ 22:58

I have arrived to Banff last Saturday already (we had a W3C meeting before the WWW2007 conference). Absolutely beautiful place; I have some photos on the Web from an earlier visit, but I already have a set of additional ones on my machine (to update the photo site sometimes next week).

Meeting, seeing lots of people; I do not even want to make an attempt listing them, I am sure I would forget somebody. It is almost too much; there is no time to really sit down and have quality time with one person only…

I was at a Web Science panel yesterday morning, largely initiated by WSRI. It was a good panel with Peter Patel-Schneider, Danny Weitzner, and Nigel Shadbolt as panelists. This Web Science stuff may become really interesting. I think that the discussion on whether this is science or not is a bit sterile (I think it was Nigel who said that), what is really interesting (for me…) is that this can lead to a set of research by “soft” sciences on what the social effects of the Web are. And this is really exciting stuff. How does the Web change societies, politics, the way people interact with one another, the way they provide a common knowledge… Peter referred to this as cultural anthropology, which may be the right term; whatever it is, I think there are really lots of things to do there. It was interesting that the keynote presentation of today by Prabhakar Raghavan referred to the same issue; he spent a pretty large part of his (quite nice) keynote on the need to understand social behaviour, the social incentives mechanisms behind some social sites, etc. “Computing meets humanities like never before — sociology, economics, anthropology”, as he put it. Lots of things to keep an eye on…

I quite liked the paper on CSurf in the User Interface section. A nice way of analyzing web page links by building up the context around a link on the source and then analyzing the target page to match that context to have a quicker, more efficient non-visual browser. Great for blind people but, also, for mobile web usage (though the latter is not yet available publicly). This stuff is worth remembering.

Another paper on the same session was the GeoTracker: analyze the content of an RSS feed for possible clues for time and/or geographical location information, and then display the results on a map. Ie, instead of having a list of RSS feeds on the screen for, say, news items, I can have a map with little flags put on the location(s) of what the news item is all about. Cute stuff, though clearly not easy; this information can be very ambiguous (mainly in the US where city names are repeated in almost all states…). Nevertheless, exploring new user interfaces for RSS feed is always a nice thing to do…

Nice reception, again chatting with a huge number of people… I got exhausted at the end of the day. But it was worth it.

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