Information Design Watch

April 7, 2005, 1:37 pm

The Committee of Experts Search Engine (in French!)

By d/D

Alarmed by Google’s plan to index scholarly texts, French President Jacques Chirac has proposed a national search-engine to handle the job for French universities:

“Why not let Google do the job? Its French version is used for 74% of internet searches in France. The answer is the vulgar criteria it uses to rank results. ‘I do not believe’, wrote Mr Donnedieu de Vabres in Le Monde, ‘that the only key to access our culture should be the automatic ranking by popularity, which has been behind Google’s success.’”

What Mr. Jeanneney proposes instead — rankings by a committee of experts — is not necessarily a bad idea, despite the fun The Economist has with the concept. The key, of course, is in the algorithm that would create such a “committee” out of citations, bibliographies, and other expert resources.

http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3819169

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Implementation

April 7, 2005, 1:34 pm

The Case for a $100 Laptop

By d/D

In this interesting article on Nicholas Negroponte’s concept of a cheap, WiFi-based laptop, the “how” is almost as thought-provoking as the “why”:

“By using 1 gigabyte of solid-state memory to store software and data, ‘We’re thinking maybe you won’t need a hard disk drive,’ he says. And instead of expensive batteries, the $100 laptop could come with less-capable batteries and a hand crank for juicing them back up, like a radio on M*A*S*H.”

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/maney/2005-02-08-maney_x.htm

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Implementation, Technology

April 7, 2005, 1:32 pm

The New York Public Library Digital Gallery

By d/D

In a triumph of open access, the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery delivers a huge number of historic and cultural images from the library’s collections to the Web:

“There are over two hundred thousand individual items now and growing, for many collections are still in production and/or development. The goal is half a million images and more, though they will still represent but a fraction of the Research Libraries’ overall visual holdings….The low-resolution images available on the website provide good-quality reference copies for a wide range of educational, creative, and research purposes.”

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Scholarly Publishing

April 7, 2005, 1:31 pm

Earthquakes in Near Real Time

By d/D

This online seismic monitor presents a wealth of information in both global and regional views. Updated every 20 minutes, the monitor draws earthquakes by magnitude as they happen. Below the overlap of recent earthquakes, historical data effectively show the edges of the earth’s tectonic plates:

http://www.iris.edu/seismon/

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Visual Explanation

April 7, 2005, 1:27 pm

Game Flows and Shot Charts

By d/D

The sports pages have long inspired dense presentations of information, most uniquely in the form of the box score. Now, many online sports venues are turning statistics into interactive charts and visuals. Consider the “Game Flow” chart in this recap of the recent NCAA Division I College Basketball Championship (scroll down and mouse over):

http://sports-att.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=254000063

Another example is the interactive shot chart that ESPN creates for each National Basketball Association game:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=250403002

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Comments (0) | Filed under: Information Design, Sports, Visual Explanation