Peter Morville @ NASIG

Liveblogging Peter Morville keynote at NASIG

Information Architecture – Combination of organization, labeling, search, navigation – art + science.  Can learn from related fields like HCI but not sufficient. Still emerging discipline.  Done by many people who don’t know the term.

3 common lessons for many of his clients:

  • Multiple ways to find the same information. (e.g. Stanford Academic Programs page)
  • Bubbling up information by surfacing sample subcategories… increasing scent of information
  • Organization systems and taxonomies for a particular audience – one size doesn’t fit all

Showing Jesse James Garrett (?) Elements of User Experience diagram – many different elements and types of professionals – visual design, interaction, functional specs, etc.

Morville’s honeycomb diagram – he got sick of word usability. Clients say they want their site to be more “usable” – what does that mean? it’s become conflated with quality.  So – what does it mean?

valuable, desirable, findable, accessible, credible, usable, useful

Still need to do user testing, but can’t stop there.

Desirability – Don Norman’s work showing attractive things work better – make people happy – happy people work better. 🙂

Findability – Can users find our website? Can they find their way around? Can they find our products and services despite our website

Accessibility – people coming in with alternate devices besides big desktop

Credibility – visual design affects credibility

Example – cancer.gov redesign: wanted to reduce clicks to get to needed information. vast majority of users citizens recently diagnosed and their friends, family. multiple cancer-type homepages, want to get people to them. assumed people were finding their site to begin with, #1 site for query “cancer” but searches on specific cancer types led to other sites. needed to focus on getting to the site to begin with, in addition to navigation of site itself.

Shifting to the future… how do we position ourselves, our careers, for the future. what trends should inform the work we are doing now?

Moving into a mobile age. Intersection of internet and ubiquitous computing. Ambient findability: ability to find anything anywhere at anytime.

From books chained to desks to drowning in information.

He’s working on a new book on search.

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate Economist

When we can pick and choose our information sources how does this affect the way we learn? Ambient Devices company: Ambient Orb, Ambient Pinwheel.

Going way beyond even smart phones to devices that are internet enabled. Recommends book “The Transparent Society”

How do we create bigger needles for our haystacks? Skeptical of AI and information visualization. Metadata? Tagging? Shouldn’t be forced to choose between controlled metadata and tagging. Cites Etsy as good example of both. “Doing it right” – evolve taxonomy based on tagging.

Future of findability: 5-10 years still start with keyword search. Still need to worry about browsing, navigation, because search is the early stage. move between modes of search and browse. search is a complex adaptive system. how to improve? not just about the software. careful thought about users and their needs. need to help not just get started but help when they get stuck.

Library of search patterns on Flickr, also working on behavior patterns. “Pearl growing” – finding one relevant doc and using its metadata to find other things. how do we help users do that? Best bets, users also used….  Metasearch, federated search, need to continue trying to solve the problem of search across sources and types. Example: worked with CSA on Illumina for better interface for most users. (AB: wow, i forgot how bad the old CSA interface was)

Faceted navigation. Allows people to formulate very sophisticated boolean queries in an easy way. Provides a customized map of their results and helps them understand the information space better. NCSU has shared a lot of their research they did to get their faceted navigation interface. VW has nice and attractive site with faceted navigation.

Social search. adds lots of relevant data to the pool of metadata to increase relevant hits.

More examples of interesting search interfaces.

“Conspicuous experience” – sharing information on, for example, running history.

Recommended reading – couldn’t get all these but slides are on his website

Ingenta Shares Holdings with Google Scholar

This little note was squeezed into the middle of an All My Eye entry about Ingenta at the Frankfurt Book Fair:

We’ve been working closely with Google for over 2 years now, and the latest development is that we will be making our library holdings data available to Google Scholar’s Library Links program.

The full press release is dated September 25 and I’m surprised I haven’t heard about it before today.

So scholars within an institution’s IP range (on campus or using proxied Scholar links) will get appropriate copy links to Ingenta content without an intermediate OpenURL layer; Ingenta presumably gets its contented highlighted in some way; and Google gets data about library holdings, which it may already have in the case of libraries who participate in the Library Links program. The downside is that the scholar may have no idea why he or she is entitled to the full text, unless the library ponies up for IngentaConnect Premium, which adds branding to the Ingenta site.

It is unclear to me what the user will see for content the library doesn’t license and how the distinction will be made. All in all, an interesting development and one to watch.

NYT Site Search

At least library catalogs aren’t the only search tools with problems:

When I search for “A Food Website Spiced with Attitude”, the NYT’s search engine should take a wild, off-the-wall guess about what article I might be looking for, and not return zero results.

At This is Broken

An interesting discussion ensues concerning what search engines should and shouldn’t be expected to do.

Windows Live Academic Launched

Microsoft has launched Windows Live Academic. According to the site it “currently indexes content related to computer science, physics, electrical engineering, and related subject areas.”

The results interface has some interesting features, including a split panel that shows results on the left and an abstract or more info about one citation on the right, as well as a slider that allows you to see more or less information about each citation and therefore more or fewer citations in the results list.