September 2005

Ever had a site you were about to reference and found upon checking that it is no longer online? Increasingly this is a problem in a culture which is actively producing digital artefacts. If you have the URL you can always search the Internet Archive as it has been archiving parts of the web since 1996. The archive aims to preserve and make available digital documents for researchers, historians, and scholars. Since 1996 Alexa Internet has been crawling the web which has resulted in a massive library online.

You can search for sites which are no longer live as these may have been archived. In some cases you can trace back a number of versions of the site. For academics and writers the Internet archive can be used and referenced as you would any other site. For artists if your site has been archived you can identify copyrighted work that you claim if any infringement occurs.

You can the Alexa bot to crawl your site and usually within 8 weeks of submission your site will be indexed. Although the Internet archive contains approximately 1 petabyte of data and is growing by 20 terabytes a month unfortunately not all sites have been archived. This is because their automated crawlers may have missed them or are unaware of the site. More recently however dynamic content has caused problems as the Internet archive is an automated system and some dynamic sites break apart when archived. This happens when a page contains interactive elements which requires the originating server. Elements such as server side image maps, forms and some JavaScript all cause problems and will prevent the functionality of the site being preserved. So there is a lesson here, as for the moment is although the Internet Archive is able to store some dynamic content if you are interested having your site archived use HTML firstly because it is the easiest for automated systems to find but also it is the simplest to archive as well.

Blog finder is described as ” Technorati’s directory of blogs, organized by subject” Technorati auto classifies blogs based on the tags used by the author.

Life online increasingly involves some form of collaboration people meet, post, subscribe, annotate, but above all share.

Wikis are collaborative websites in which users can both read and write to the site. Another definition and yet another from the Wikipedia FAQ

All users can edit any page on a Wiki. At first glance this appears to invite vandalism, but in a Wiki the history of each document is stored. If someone trashes the place, anyone can restore to a previous version of the document.

When many people build a site together they draw on all their knowledge and experience in other word the knowledge base is wide.

Many see Wikis as an anarchistic publishing tool but they are proving to be very popular. The Wike most people have encountered is Wikipedia which has become a popular reference site on the Web and is now ranked as a top reference site . It also has increasing active contributors as these Wikapedia usage charts illustrate.

Recovery 2.0 is a new wiki which was started on September 9th. It aims to act as hub for disaster relief and assistance. The aim is to provide a site that helps people share information, report on what is happening, coordinate relief efforts, connect missing people and provide connections to assistance like housing and employment.

Nathan Matias of SitePoint has written a good article on What a Wiki is and how they help us think. Matias suggests using Notebook V2.1.3 is described as a personal notebook application. It is a personal Wiki with a Mac OS version to download.

TiddlyWiki is a fully-operational wiki designed to sit on your hard drive and even carry it around on a USB thumb in other words a “wiki on a stick”. Built by built by Jeremy Ruston it’s written in HTML, CSS and JavaScript to run on any modern browser. It is a simple to use, self-contained, client-side, personal publishing engine. It creates a single web page containing all the content you create and a way to link it all together. It’s fast, portable and is published under an Open Source License.

It is an ideal way to organize and keep track of notes and information you may not want to make public such as notes for essays, partly worked and unfinished assignments, bug lists, to do lists, planning projects, brains storming sessions and of course listing resources you commonly access. It can keep everything in one place in a practical and organized manner yet it is hyperlinked in a non linear rather than sequential structure. As a result it is an experimental medium for thinking and writing.

Adaptions of TiddlyWiki include
TagglyWiki has been adapted to be taggable. Another is TiddlyTagWiki which has Custom Style Sheet functionality and I like the tag cloud.

GTD TiddlyWiki Getting Things Done is a productivity tool which aims to give users a one stop shop for their To Do lists. There is an interesting conversation over on 43folders about how people are using this adaptation of TiddlyWiki.

Other adaptations include:
Joe Raii’s Siglet
Eric Shulman’s ELS Design
T’sWiki an adaptation that allows to save to a remote server
Simon Baird’s Monkey Pirate
TiddlyWiki CSS created by Tim Cuthbertson and Matt Giuca

A list of tiddlywiki adaptations is here.

Talwin Morris (1865-1911) was the Art Director for the publisher Blackie and Son. The image gallery houses an electronic catalogue of 60 images of designs. Anyone interested in book design and illustration in the Glasgow Style, which was a Scottish expression of Art Nouveau, will find this site of interest. Morris commissioned book designs. A key designer being Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The Book designs of Talwin Morris is a second site that explores the Glasgow style, along side information on bookbinding and a history of the publishing house Blackie and Sons.

This is a topic that arose in one of my classes this week as we were talking about users and thinking about they are trying to do on a site. This article is an oldie but goodie as it is an often cited article from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, March 3, 2002: Deep Linking is Good Linking “Links that go directly to a site’s interior pages enhance usability because, unlike generic links, they specifically relate to users’ goals. Websites should encourage deep linking and follow three guidelines to support its users.”

The Art Museum Community Cataloging Project is a prototype of a possible folksonomic tool which is under development. David Bearman and Jennifer Trant in Social Terminology Enhancement through Vernacular Engagement discuss the advantages of enabling the public to ‘tag’ museum collections. Recognising that the way archivists describe collections seldom meets the on-line needs of the broad public they suggest that a solution could be ‘tagging’. Bearman and Trant suggest that the public could engage with museum content using social software applications similar to and technorati, in the process also producing communities of practice around a museum collection.

Google has a blog search engine which obviously is a search engine just for blogs. Results are returned not just from Googles Blogger sites but all blogs including blogs written in languages other than English.

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