December 2004 Archives

The magic that makes Google tick - a little Google arrogance?

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The magic that makes Google tick, an article worth reading if you are interested to learn how things work behind the scenes before and after you type your query into Google's search box.

Among the nicely said things in the article, here is a quote that is a bit sarcastic and arrogant:

The job is not helped by the nature of the Web. "In academia," said Hölzle, "the information retrieval field has been around for years, but that is for books in libraries. On the Web, content is not nicely written -- there are many different grades of quality."

Surely Google has done a lots of progress in implementing IR knowledge to a very practical problem, but isn't it a show or arrogance to claim that academia has not helped (directly or indirectly) Google with their search technology?

In A prologue in form of a dialog between a Student and his (somewhat) Socratic Professor, Latour presents some basic but very important ideas, and clarifies some misconceptions and misunderstanding about what actor-network and/or ANT is and is not, and what and what not it can do for you.

The dialog is philosophical at times, brings forth challenges for all of those who deal with actor-network/ANT in some shape of form. It does not seem that Latour answers the question posited at the beginning about what actor-network can do for you, but it certainly tells you what it cannot and what it is not.

In any case, whether you agree or not with Latour's take on what actor-network/ANT should be and what seems to have become, this reading will certainly clarify and reinforce your way of thinking about this theory and methodology.

The Role of RSS in Science Publishing

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December's Issue of D-Lib Magazine brings and interesting article regarding the implication of RSS in the science and research publishing. The Role of RSS in Science Publishing is worth reading. Yet another practical example of how blogs have brought forth a tool that can change the nature of the web as it is traditionally known. Website are no longer the static domains, RSS helps the sites be distributed widely, most importantly as a two-way communication.

The following few paragraphs where prompted from a discussion with a colleague of mine about the philosophical link to/from information science.

Well, I think that any practical disciplines or field of study is definitely informed by some philosophical discourse, even when the discipline itself does not acknowledge it, or does not seem to see it. In this sense, the field of Information Science(s)/Studies seems to lack an acknowledged philosophical grounding, even thought there are some obvious links of philosophical discourse. Imagine, many books and articles regarding information science do not emphasize the philosophical links (or if they do, they do so scantly, superficially and individualistically), or just start with practical issues, as if the phenomena treated by information science become part of the discourse just like that? Part of the phenomena treated by a discipline or field of study do emerge from practical problem, however, we should not neglect the phenomena that could arise from the philosophical discourse. The philosophical link might not be an obvious one, or it might not seem as a valuable enterprise worth research, thus, what would be the point in pursuing such a link for scholarly work. However, there could as well be very beneficial links.

Understanding the philosophical fundamentals/groundings that have informed and are informing information science/studies (implicitly or explicitly) might lead to a better understanding of the common elements that give rise (or are constitutive elements) to the phenomena treated by information science, thus, might provide us with a more coherent framework to treat such phenomena... to be continued...

By Mentor Cana, PhD
more info at LinkedIn
email: mcana {[at]} kmentor {[dot]} com

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