28 February, 2005 at 04:35 Leave a comment

Subscribe, Tag, Discover Philosophy for Information Discovery

Greg Linden writes about the problem of an ‘Incremental Web’:
“…Search has become the dominant navigational paradigm for goal-directed reference queries. But search is a poor way to stream new developments around a topic…”
“…it’s not appropriate to try to stream this incremental info with keyword searches. It just doesn’t work. Say you want a feed of interesting news about Google. A while back I posted something on this blog about Google which you’d probably want to see in such a feed. But the rest of the articles here are not about Google. So you don’t want to subscribe to blog.topix if you just want news about Google. But a keyword search for “google” isn’t going to deliver a useful experience either — there are far too many stray mentions of “google” on the web every day. To get a relevant news feed about Google, you either have to have people read everything for you and edit away all the junk, or find an algorithmic technique to do the same…”
“For new information, relevance = freshness X personal context
PageRank doesn’t work for incremental data. News by definition is new, and links take time to accrue. So if you’re waiting for the web to vote up a new piece of information before you’ll see it, you’ll lag behind other news services that can recognize important information the instant it’s published. Relevence for a news item is about the importance of the event, the timeliness of notification, and relevance to a topic. This personal context is hard to derive by keyword…”
“…even if you monitor just a few tens of sources, you are facing a daily stream of hundreds or thousands of articles. It’s a painful, overwhelming task to manually skim it hunting for relevant content. There is precious little discovery in the current model…”
And Rajesh Jain puts this as a reaction/comment to this article –
“What we need is STD – a mix of Subscriptions, Tags and Discovery”
Very true…

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