SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: Insight moves sight to the
Re: SIGIA-L: Insight moves sight to the site
From: Ziya Oz (ZiyaOz_at_earthlink.net)
Date: Sun Feb 10 2002 - 00:08:40 EST
James Weinheimer wrote:
> I agree that there are millions of ways of organizing an information source
> when you are beginning. But once you have decided how to organize it, you
> must continue to follow that method.
I have no qualms with consistency. I wish the world was more consistent. I
wish all children were above average like those at Lake Wobegan. But the
commercial market place is significantly different than the mostly
non-profit library system. The goals and prevailing pressures are vastly
divergent. Profits trump compatibility.
Compatibility is great but only to the extent that it adds to the bottom
line. Sure, I want a vibrant market around me, but beyond that, I pretty
much want my commercial competitors dead.
We saw the most exaggerated rendition of this mindset during the dotcom
bubble years. A lot of the B2B private and public exchanges were driven by
the desire to establish (first proprietary then begrudgingly public)
'standards' to broker information among participants. They saw their way of
organizing brokerage info as their ticket to becoming toll-takers.
But the fact remains: if the 'standard' CEO has to choose between
compatibility and profit (or optimization, efficiency, competitive
advantage, denial of the market to others, etc.), it's clear what the choice
> ...All must describe it as the first one was described. No one cannot decide
> to describe it in any other way because in this case, when users find the
> first one, they will be guaranteed not to find the others.
Technology doesn't quite work that way. It creatively and disruptively
destroys precedent to create something new. Sure, it borrows and builds upon
precedent, but the goal of technical innovation is not *solely* to be
On the web, the HTTP protocol, for instance, completely shattered the
always-connected client/server model in place for many years. In terms of
how you develop, it's a *huge* disruption to adopt to a sessionless
architecture, but the simplicity and scalability of the new approach was so
great that a mass conversion has been taking place for half a decade.
> The "algorithms that can relate seemingly disparate data in multi-dimensions
> to 'discover' order and organization, undetectable by manual methods or
> prior arrangement" is keyword searching,
Not really. Last summer, I evaluated two nascent technologies (one American
and the other British) that let you get amazingly good results from millions
of documents within seconds *without* prior indexing, keywords or manual
work of any kind. (I'm sorry I can't say more about them due to NDAs.)
But suppose a company has several million pages of info sitting in their
archives. You go in there and propose to painstakingly and consistently
catalog them. Then I go in there and offer this (let's call it an
optimizable) 'search engine' that can find complex relationships, patterns,
matches, etc., without having to index or do any prior work -- now. (This
requires no pre-rendered interface, navigation or structuring.) Market
dynamics would most likely favor the latter.
As I have previously stated, I believe in the judgment of human beings and,
having spent many years automating stuff, I recognize the fragility of total
automation, but I also know that the technological trends are there.
> But aside from matters of internal consistency, websites will force users to
> learn each site separately and as a result, users will not be able to find
> much at all.
Where's Jacob Nielsen when you need him :-) I'm very much against
reinventing the wheel all the time. But technologist live to reinvent and
without them pushing the envelop with don't get new stuff. And in technology
they are the drivers.
> Libraries were this way for hundreds (thousands) of years until
> they realized that sharing their methods helped both themselves and their
Libraries are not trying to put each other out of business. In the online
world, if you are not performing by the next funding cycle or the IPO, you
might as well pack up and retire.
> Do I think it will happen?
You are referring to 50-year cycles. Others have made 20-year predictions
here about IA; I'm just not that smart. I'd doubt anybody who predicts stuff
5-10 years into the future of technology.
There's a trend in UDDI and WSDL to bring consistency and compatibility to
the market place. But for every proponent of those, there's an equal number
who oppose the idea of homogeneity, warn against domination by big players
and remain skeptical of the practicality of very disparate players giving up
their own real or perceived advantage for compatibility. Some of this stuff
is pretty novel and we just don't know how it'll all turn out,
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:55:02 EST