Category Archives: Conferences

Radio Gaga: Spectrograms + Cover Songs

eyeoThanks for coming to my site!

I gave a quick Ignite at EyEO this week.

Some wiser person once told me to never give a talk that should have been a blog post. So to solve for that I’m doing both; less is more just less. There’s always so much to say in presentations, regardless of the constraints (5min time limit, frozen audience, IT issues), and some of those things can best be said when you’ve had the opportunity to reset sanity off-stage. This will be a quick post about what I did for the talk, how I did it, and why. I put the links at the top, so you don’t have to read everything.

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Read on below!

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Crowd-ed + Coordinated: FOSS in Africa

“There’s no more powerful force in modern society than the news. It shapes how we see the world, what we judge to be good or bad, important or silly, right or wrong.”
~ Alain de Botton, “Have you Heard the News?” Psychologies, 4/2014

In the April 2014 issue of Psychologies Magazine, Alain de Botton’s interview discusses his new book The News: A User’s Manual, and his philosophical reading of the news as trending toward more personal, more philosophically predictable. It’s perhaps significant that I’m reading this article in an airport news stand out of a pop magazine, rather than reading his book. More on this trend in abbreviated news ingest later…but for now, his points about our pot-boiler appetite for the news does well to introduce some of my recent professional happenings, perspectives on crowd-driven data journalism, and particular perspective on crowd-data programs in Africa.

Nairobi - Crowdmap of Tweets

In Nairobi, while the news has been of late focused on other topics, the last two weeks IDLELO Conference Badgesof my workflow concentrated on two conferences, a IDLELO: FOSS conference and a Global Innovation Competition for citizen-driven government initiatives; they share crowdsourcing and open journalism as themes. I had the pleasure of speaking at the IDLELO-06 conference, supporting Ms. Angela Odour’s talk on Ushahidi prior to preparing my own with James Raterno and Daniel Cheseret of Internews-KE. Of the few journalism organizations presenting, we applied the free-and-open-source-software (FOSS) theme to investigative news reporting and interactive political commentary. Our talk was a case study in health projects, demoing three interactive news stories from this past year at Internews-Kenya. Each interactive delved into some aspect of health monitoring in Kenya, spanning a spectrum of topics from medical services availability to mapping the outposts and effects of extractive industry across the country. While the details and data behind these stories are important and interesting, the presentation in each case was paramount; TL;DR the realities of healthcare and economic/industrial health of the nation were best communicated via interactive charts, and Internews’ series of Data Dredger infographics. The refrain of this and de Botton’s Psychologies perspective persists: attractive and interactive stories, stories that engage with personal, psychological topics, stories that illustrate rather than allude to data are driving our journalism programs and our teams.

Crowdsourcing Comic - XKCDAnd part of that means democratizing the newsroom to a broader population of citizen journalists and crowdsourced contributors, part of this also means broadening our view of where data journalism trendsetting is happening in our world, but to persist on these points, let’s move off the African continent briefly.  Among the most popular articles in the NY Times last year were approachable, interactive pieces; it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the appetite for news often bends to people’s visceral interests, regional perspectives and even “popular biases” as de Botton suggests in his Psychologies interview. Likewise, the Guardian’s 2013 popular titles for most popular articles (among Snowden and the Boston bombing coverage) include the following:

  • Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?
    3.2m page views, 1,263 comments
  • Michael Douglas: Oral sex caused my cancer
    2.0m page views
  • Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a boy – live
    1.5m page views

Global Innovation Challenge CrowdThis is not to suggest that the most popular news publications follow predominantly potboiler subject lines, but rather to note that there is a persistent appetite for pop culture throughout all news sources and dissemination platforms, irrespective of reputation. Mixed in with the seriousness and severity of crises worldwide, the presence of pop culture news commands significant attention; perhaps Global Innovation Challenge Collab - Nairobi, KEreflecting an appetite for popular and approachable media. When de Botton claims that “the ideal news would take into account people’s natural inclinations…it wouldn’t start with the wise, good, or serious outlooks,” I thought the judgement was a bit unfair and dismissive of journalism’s future, but maybe, on reflection, not so removed from reality in journalism’s present (Psychologies Magazine, 54).

This media appetite is agnostic to journalism hierarchies, persistently attracted to KE-MAVC8personalized stories, that show how one girl lives in NYC projects, or how a population’s accent differs according to regional divisions. We crave a personalized experience with the news even in the most distinguished publications, we crave a flat structure of open contribution, where the stories are interactive, where we can comment publicly in the thread following each post, where the content is sometimes crowdsourced, and the platforms are participatory. Our appetite for pop culture parallels publication output. In a digital media landscape where everyone from Buzzfeed to Fbook to O.K. Cupid have a data science team, our population of increasingly connected readers is interested in the personalized analytics of their networks, in the data science that drives our personal lives and pop culture as much as our professional publication platforms, and sometimes, in how all of these data fuse.Lagos - Crowdmap of Tweets

One way to adapt to this is to invite more contributors into the news reporting community from the reported community; to flatten the reporting structure, to amplify the data-driven projects that drive the page view counts often used to index our community impact. Promoting “popular” media isn’t just about echoing celebrity gossip and simplified story-lines but rather developing a sensitive authoring practice, crafting stories that readers can identify and interact with, and this trend is carrying into bootstrapped newsrooms across the African continent and throughout the world. In supplement to interviews, we crowdsource data collection in the way of Ushahidi, instead of lone-wolf work of an re-located investigative journalist, we train teams of indigenous journalists to report on their own local communities in the way of Internews. I’m privileged to work with organizations actively contributing to this type of globalized citizen journalism and crowd-reporting, likewise privileged to work with journalists when I am at best an “outsider-[FOSS]-artist.”

This is not new science of course, most established papers have a data teams these days, and it’s not uncommon for teams of developer-journalists to collaborate on investigative pieces, but to recognize the trends as reflective of an interest in crowd-driven projects, and citizen-journalism engagement globally is perhaps important and worth considering as we re-evaluate where journalism is, and where it is going.

Accra - Crowdmap of TweetsCrowd-sourcing information, crowd-funding and crowd-feedback loops in the journalism community are more popular, and not just in the USA. Analytics permit us to track what our crowd of readers actually reads (or at least what they click on), to adapt our stories and investigative practice to suit those interests. Though we still have a rockstar reporter hall-of-fame that celebrates individuals and their contributions to the industry, with data-driven projects, we can now appreciate more than ever, that often, and maybe always, the byline includes a team, a small crowd of developers-journalists-researchers working on a comprehensive and data-informed investigation.

“I doubt if it makes much difference, frankly, but at the margin I think that we’re moving to a kind of journalism that is more casual, more informal, more personal, and a very formal byline seems as out of place as a three-piece suit in the newsroom.”
~ Nicholas Kristof, “What’s Missing in my Byline,” New York Times: Opinion Pages, 1/2014

Tunis - Crowdmap of TweetsAnd this isn’t only happening at the New York Times or The Economist, it’s happening in Africa too. This brings me to the second conference happening of the past two weeks of work. At this week’s Global Innovation Challenge week in Nairobi, we’ve been working with teams of selected delegates from 10 countries around the world, teams who are working to connect their citizens more directly with their governments and foster policy change through open data. This type of effort can read as a quixotic ambition, but with developer and data-driven programs, it is possible. Johannesburg - Crowdmap of Tweets

Further, it’s noteworthy that all of the delegates are paired teams, not-lone crusaders, these efforts are built on partnerships between multiple contributors (developers, political activists) and multiple institutions, on crowd-driven programs meant to collect a maximum of opinion and surface a population of opinions from a representative sample of constituents. Supported by Ushahidi and hosted by iHub, this week of conference talks, pitches and programs is designed to foster more crowd and community driven data reporting across the globe, and model the crowd-centric trends so observable in our increasingly personalized and popular media.

Crowd-driven journalism and FOSS initiatives have in one respect opened the community to a broader population of self-taught developers and scrappy reporters, and also broadened the potential for citizen-sourced, -funded, -voted journalism projects. The crowd will doubtless drive even more data projects in the future, and craft a more personalized and popular media with a global scope. Crowd + Africa doesn’t have to mean crisis mapping or violence, it can mean participatory reporting and progressive reform, it can mean a program of re:activism, or react-ivism, piloted by a crowd of programmers and a ragtag group of pirates and outsider journo-artists. We’re working to amplify the crowd, and data-driven newsrooms internationally, in keeping with up the [journalism] Joneses.

Ushahidi Ecosphere Diagram

To that end, and in conclusion, I leave you with a link to our Ushahidi community survey, an effort on our part to make crowdsourcing a part of our own analytics and feature development workflow. Please fill it out so that we might improve our software and help other investigative journalists spin up custom instances of geo-local data collection all over the world:



Recent Happenings:


Images in this post courtesy of XKCD, IDLELO06, Global Innovation Competition, and (African tweetmaps)


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Archival Impulses

Lida Moser_Judy and the BoysAs a librarian, it’s rare the occasion when I don’t have archives on the brain. Personal or public, self-maintained or crowdsourced collections have become an almost unconscious substrate of our technological interactions. Any collections management software or CMS from commercial entities like Etsy, to institutional ones like Collection Space or  Collective Access  to social ones like Pinterest or the Retronaut cut from a similar archival cloth.
JamelShabazz_22Inspired by an impulse to preserve, capture and coordinate our collections in an online environment, each of these examples performs an archival function even when privileging contemporary content (re: commercial shopping sights, pinterests, instagram, umpteen social networks). And I’m not complaining, just collating. We’ve developed software to help us manage the overwhelming information on the internet without necessarily acknowledging the dept that practice bears to archival impulse. We’ve adapted social media outlets like Facebook and twitter to record our thoughts and internet actions on a trackable timeline to trace our trajectory from digital birth to present day. So here’s some examples of how we archive in a local context, kind of a hodge-podgey list with a personal bias. To couple with this them and locality, I’ve added some photos from Lida Moser’s (namesake whoot) and Jamal Shabazz’s work (which I had the privilege of cataloging at the Brooklyn Public Library), archives FTW.
Jamal ShabazzThesis: So i finished my thesis, yay, and promised to push it to public criticism, creative commons, accolades (probably !). The title and topic is related to archives, predictably, So feel free to browse it on Git Hub and pull request some suggestions. It’s a bit of a tome, appropriate for somnambulant wanderings into Archival Ether.
Radio Show Wrapup: Last week I also wrapped up the second season of my radio show, Stereo Semantics. Check out the archived episodes, tracklists, and semantic node-edge maps for season 2 here and for season 1 here. Stay tuned for Algorhythmic (a math rock and generative music show) and, my upcoming shows. Props to @jakeporwary for the Math Rock push.
emptiness-undated-001Rhizome 7 on 7 Conference: Each year rhizome teams artists and technologists for a day of conversation and innovation, and this year produced some slick archival projects. Read the editorial here. Anyway, friendfracker was a provocative project about automated deleting a bit of your social footprint, Dabit was an admirable donation project soliciitng voluntary charitable donations in a kind of lottery system that caches the donations for the day and awards on random volunteer half of the proceeds (the other half going to charity). For even more peripheral archival talk, one project addressed information “obesity” and “overload” and another called out the “loop” as an attractive and cathartic paradigm in contemporary culture, perhaps one worth investigating as it pertains to how we plan for posterity, how we catalog and store our digital selves.
LISA: the recent Leaders in Software and Art meetups introduced me to some stellar social archives. Exemplary of this, Nick Dangerfield of Part/Particle demoed  a chrome-based creative collage and stencil app called It’s beta but if you’re interested you can create an account here: Images and gifs can be dropped from the library or desktop, altered or instagrammed into stencils, music from desktop and video from vimeo/youtube.You can create and share boards, and they’re adding features. I made one to show my apartment to potential viewers, adding in some cat gifs, it’s like dragndrop myspace retro fetishism.
Likewise, Paolo Cirio had a few interesting “disruptive” projects manipulating public data so as to point to that status of privacy in our wwworld.
 jamel_shabazz_boys of brooklyn
Past Perfect: This year’s Tribeca Hacks Festival revealed an ongoing archival project about capturing memories and visually rendering them in an online video archive. Entitled Past Perfect, the project solicits “memories” from craigslist volunteers and then visually rendered them in video form. Check out the project to schedule a memory consultation here.
I love your work: Last week I had a blissful 24hours access to an archive of human emotions courtesy of 6+ hours of footage about nine women who make lesbian porn. A catalogue interviews with these women coupled with an exquisite UI, ‘I love your work‘ made for a really polished web archive. I wish I had a few more hours to explore, and a faceted browse function, but otherwies, I recommend the project, pairs well with Cowbird.
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Science Studio: A recent project I’m proud to have kickstarted, Science Studio provides an archive of science-related multimedia content on the web. I’ve been enjoying the upvoted and crowdsourced podcasts and music selections over my coffitivity since launch. This one was particularly touching about parasites and “holes in the net,” however you might interpret it.
 LidaMoser_alt Judy and the Boys
ITP Spring Show: Lots of rad projects were on display at the typically eclectic, variably impressive NYU ITP Show this year. One of my favorites (#typical) was Matt Epler’s Kinograph film preservation project. Impressive for its utility as much as it’s stellar execution, Epler designed and built a way to affordably digitize film frame by frame.
23 and Me: My long awaited results for 23andMe arrived, clocking me at an X2b genomic profile on my materal side and an “unknown” on my paternal. :/ Perhaps one of the more disappointing personal archives I’ve explored this week, though, the labs projects included a downloadable sonification of my genome, which is now my ringtone.
Patents and IP Protection: Maybe one of the more yawn-worthy topics for most, the evolution of software patents and cyber security kind of settle at the same part in my brain where archival impulses incubate. I’m pretty preoccupied by cyber secu and citizen (computer) science. While I won’t bore you as I’ve blogged about this before for Girl Develop It, I think it’s worth mentioning here that our we’re at this beautiful precipice in the reconciling of intellectual ingenuity and open source ethos in developing software. I’m looking forward to participating in conversations about this topic and further witnessing developing  as regulations and practices codify. For a glimpse of internet security history look here. For further research on algorhythmic patenting and happenings, retro-follow the Governing Algorithms conference (and a few of my below-captioned tweets from last week).  And for a way to involve yourself in the immediate, peruse this past week’s happenings here:
Lida Moser_Street Scene

UpcomingWorld Science Festival inaugurates a summer of promise to bring more exciting things in the coming week.  I’ll also be attending Siggraph-LA and OFFF in the coming months. Looking forward to those post-scripts as they come. 🙂 Thanks for reading. PPS: see public service message below.

The Lab for Robotics Education is hosting a free summer robotics program for high school students in NYC! Applications are now open, for more details visit

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Absentee Archiving: why autumn is the most Occupied of seasons

Apologies, I’ve been an absentee archivist for the past month, overwhelmed as I am with all of the new excitement that the Fall semester brings. I’m writing now in brief to announce a brief blog hiatus thanks to my thesis (yikes!) and guest blogging activity, which will now be absorbing writing precedence until I submit in (gasp) December. A big part of my recent activity has been some fumble attempts at front end programming and some event planning for Girl Develop It, the non-profit I volunteer for that teaches women how to code in low-cost classes; accordingly, I’ve peppered this post with graphs I’ve charted (thank you Michael for showing me the magic of HighCharts) and female dev-ful events I’ve hosted. As this is an all-over-the-place post, I’ve tagged it up with some tagging refs. If you’ve been following this blog *applause*, you will know my affinity for tags (these, and these, and these) in all of  their semantic iterations (as per previous blog post). What follows are some bulleted updates on upcoming excitement.

  • Archives Documentary: Thanks to some friends and recent side projects, I’m increasingly fascinated by 3rd party archive projects. A friend at Eyebeam is on residency to create a documentary around themes of preservation of internet memory (and meme-ory). I recently gave a tour of the internet, and have been following the blog ( If you dig data you should too.

  • Radio Show: My show is now underway *whoot*. Look under the projects tab (Projects > Radio) to find my archived episodes throughout the next few months. Inspired by the Semantic Web and that 70s show Connections, I DJ Stereo Semantics, an experiment in sonic degrees of degrees of separation. Sundays – 9-10pm EST.
  • Art/Education Projects: Game of Phones; I’ve been the lucky lady added to the Game of Phones queue and now that I’m oh man it’s addictive. Rather refreshing to watch actual phone use supersede all of the killer apps that now bog my “smart[er?]” phone (thanks David Lublin). Inspired by some cool open data postings on the ArtSec (Art + Security, you’ll know if from #artstech fame) google Group, I worked with a Miso/High Charts Stack to visualize some Graffiti tagging data from the NYC open data portal (thanks Michael Keller for the R aid). I’ve captioned a few vis examples and am looking forward to plotting this on a map soon.
  • 3rd Party Blogs: Control Group, Girl Develop It. Check out my recent posts @ControlGroup and @GDI: Technology for all: It’s a Gal++ World, relative to my Women in Tech volunteer projects. IA few weeks ago, I had the privilege Todd Park, CTO of the US, to discuss policy related to Women in Technology and their Presidential Fellows program (a fellowship which attracts a paucity of female applicants), with NY Tech Meetup and representatives of women and tech initiatives around NYC. Working with GDI and Hack n’Jill to promote a more egalitarian techscape is ever-fulfilling and certainly an important building block of brilliant and beautiful products in STEM fields. I’m happy to be a part of it.

  • Metadata Course: However under qualified I may be, I’m also assisting with a Metadata course at Pratt on Saturday mornings, designing excercises and curricula to compliment a syllabus of mainly XML implementations of metadata schemas. Of late, I’m a bit frustrated with the kludgyness of the Moodle microblogging system that’s baked into Pratt’s course enrollment and learning management software, so I’ll be migrating class content and posts to a WordPress Blog (to flesh out slowly, stay tuned!).

  • Hackathons: Data Kind/Occupy Hackathon/Hack n’ Jill. While I rarely have adequate bandwidth or energy on my weekends, I recently had the pleasure of contributing remotely to an Occupy Hackathon aimed at making use of the rich data collected throughout Occupy and its affiliated movements. Likewise, I was fortunate enough to learn from the Data Kind Data Dive, visualizing NYC Parks Data a few weeks ago; this introduced me to a pretty brilliant assortment of geo-vis tech stacks, and CartoDB, which I have become subsequently obsessed with and will happily share with whomever I can: My company and Girl Develop It are also partnering with Hack n’ Jill  to host a 2 day Hacksgiving at Etsy.

Sign up here: and come out the weekend of November 9-10th to see some rad hacks!

  • Conferences: LISA, Strata, Visualized, SIGGRAPH-Asia. If you’re in NYC and want to catch me at some conferences, I’ll be volunteering at LISA and Visualized. I’ll be attending the big data nerd conf in NYC in two weeks: And I have been graciously awarded funding to participate in Siggraph Asia 2012, so I’ll be off to Singapore in a wee few weeks (h1ph1ph00ray):

So those are the haps! Oh and I was also featured in these random but delightful things: MSN Glo article, librarian conference article. Thanks for reading, friends, join me at any of the upcoming events above, and send in your radio show rec’s to!

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Let’s all go to the ZUI

For about two weeks, I’ve been mulling over a best of blogpost for SxSW;  I attended the ending awards show and thought why don’t I try to do this better? But some of the best ofs have morphed into tweets and internet babble so I thought I’d issue another shoutout to Sx (but the 2011 version): in praise of the ZUI (zooo-ee). Remember It was a Sx experiment a bit back, which allowed for some JS and CSS transform magic to make for a limitless dive into cool content, and its zoom functionality has been on my radar of late.

In sweeping generalities, the ZUI (Zoom User Interface) is a vector graphic environment that allows users to approach and access content in a fluid sequence of zoom and pan through a seemingly infinite internet space. I’ve captioned David DeSandro’s GitHub mockups to illustrate the type of code layering patterns it uses executed through CSS scaled transforms among other masterful flourishes. Golly it’s cool, and before I get all-gooey-(or all-GUI? too much?)-gush about how brilliant it is when the content auto-adjusts to fit the resized container objects (semantic zooming *swoon*), let me stumble through some examples…
  • ChronoZoom: I tweeted this a while ago…visually stunning
  • 3D Topiscape: Personal knowledge management, filemapping in vis.
  • Scale of the Universe: Also tweeted, shameless replug.
  • Piccolo: Historic Java/C# toolkit that now operates/updates with small-scale upkeep. Long-live piccolo.
  • Impress.js: Prezi optimized for CSS3 transforms and more modern browsers.
  • Prezi: I’ve always found the Prezi to be a particularly engaging. The swoop and zoom function has real potential to mask even unimpressive content. It’s rather immersive, like an IMAX movie v.s. a Netflix download. In fact, I just staged a GoogleFight between Prezi and ppt. and hot damn if it didn’t own Office like WHOA.

Tertiary, but maybe worthwhile is an <aside> on the application of the ZUI to mobile devices and media. The agreeable tactility of a touch interface gives the ZUI more gestural bang for its buck: pinch to shrink, spread to expand, jump on the scroll event in JS and go wild….seemless, genius, when your code doesn’t break. #notthatihavethisproblem

Fusing ZUIs with the architecture of a mobile app demands a kind of immediacy in feedback that we are increasingly demanding as users. With dialup and the rainbow spinner roll, we were forced to support delays. Now if some JS or fancy Flash takes more than 2 seconds to load, I’ll close the tab and work on one of the 4 (read: 10) other browser windows i’m paging through.   With mobile, it seems we have 0 willingness to wait. When we navigate with our fingertips, feedback must be continuous for morale to improve. HTML5 echoes back with some pretty impressive support for meh computers with fancy graphics/vid cards (AKA mobile devices!), and the kind of global visualization and manipulation capabilities of WebGL lend themselves to the propagation of the ZUI. Ultimately, adding transforms and scaling = math that I am not prepared to execute but am happy to consume. The layering is learnable though, githubable, so I’m going to pencil it in for my pockets of “fun” time in the future. For now, I’ll start brainstorming means of sustainability and preservation as art installs migrate from the gallery to the ZUI. AND what if our pinterest boards could be revisualized as networked swatch samples in a ZUI? Or our Flickr accts could be nested into piles of photographs browseable in zoom.
Oh the places we’ll go!
And thus the ZUI becomes the big-kid zoo of overstimulation in an interface where there are no “documents” “or windows” because the objects are live and mobile and moving, and we’ve this intimate scope with our antelope. Our virtual zu-scapes are immersive. and so the kind of gated interface that we’ve maintained with windows no longer keeps us from a diving (or div-ing – see caption code #shameless); in sum, we’re not prisoners of our position (outside the zoo or in). And though we’re probably not at the Command-line ->Graphical UI precipice with the GUI->ZUI gravitation, we’re pretty close to considering the technology of the ZUI as integral to our demands of daily mobility and device dependence.
Some space ZUI’s, befitting our final (?) frontier….
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Antidisciplinary Ambient Technology: Graphical Libraries and Data Vi[ral]ization

Inspired by a rather appropriate infographic introduced in a data vis sesh at SxSW, I will amend my Woo Visualizationprevious posting to include some other trends populating presentations of the past two days. In collaboration with the Harvard Libraries, Rosten Woo of discussed his employment of a circulation history dataset from Harvard’s libraries tracking use of the collection by a color-coded system of subject-heading classifications. The graph dynamically maps use of particular subsets of the collection to track check-out rates for book subjects with cascading specificity categorized by color, all in the name of mapping collection popularity by topic. This outshows our rather unattractive CountUse manual scan function in Millenium currently in use at work. Both attractive and useful from a collection development standpoint, Woo’s project overlaps issues of datavisualization and more seemless technological integration of graphical representations, large data sets and our increasing attraction to mapping and charting information. Given its popularity throughout the conference, I thought I would discuss some of the more fascinating presentations.

Good Mag InfographicOn the art side, myriad presentations discussed graphic design and infographic impulse for journalists and media specialists across disciplinary platforms. A Sunday keynote addressed the idea of “ambient technology” and on more than one occasion, I heard authors of infographics cite “anti-disiplinary” efforts to fluidly integrate creative and coding energies and to create collaborative information designs. Coordinating a more composite relationship between human and computer processing of a dataset through graphic representations attempts to allow multiple disciplines to collaborate on providing visualizations of information. Informed by art and computer development, collaborative “antidisciplinary” information processing units are at present working together to create more useable, visible and applicable data, examples showcased in the user-friendly visualizations of and in this year’s Visualization Marathon sponsored by Seed and Eyebeam among others:

View the vid

On the tech side,  a code-heavy but creative presentation on the potential of WebGL (Web-Based Graphics Library) and Html5 to transform the representational capability and rendering of interactives echoes some of my quoting of Chrome’s Wilderness Downtown project (re: previous post), while also introducing me to additional experiments courtesy of Google (slides available here: Among these, Chrome Experiments’ WebGL interactive globe enables geographic data mapping of WebGL projects that encourages users to add data and actively manipulate and move the globe in the same way that their collab Rome video popculture-izes the “movement” toward a more webGL enabled online environment like last year’s Arcade Fire video partnership. The code is pretty cool, Chrome-enabled and built on the broadly defined principles of WebGL which conflates our client-side connection to (formerly) more “inaccessible” code: creating a frictionless hardware and software already embedded in browser to permit users to interact with visual representations online and engage in 3-D rendering, rotation, and contribution to content like never before.

This aligns comfortably with the prior keynote on “ambient technology.” The idea being that the best data and code is invisible, that infoprojects have become increasingly integral to our systems such that they are no longer physical and tactile products but WebGLUniverserather interactive interfaces with a fluid and atmospheric quality. No longer in the domain of rational or Cartesian graphics to compliment our information, we have entered the realm of sensitive cohesion with our techverse (not “I think, therefore I am” but “I sense therefore I am”), with our presence codified in a personalized cartography defined by the datasets and infographs that chart and map our media output online/otherwise.

As a friend and fellow librarian once mentioned to me, we will soon be the voices of nostalgia when we recount our use of barcodes and cards for access to our account information at libraries and in life, as we witness the more progressive development of chip implants embedded with our unique IDs and access codes. And yet, the popularity of 3-D design and printing capabilities developed through Web GL and creatively customized by coders at MIT or Chrome experiments suggests that we harbor a persistent attachment to rendering these virtual developments in tactile and physical products, digitally designed but printed in 3-D. As I opened with Woo’s data visualization of CountUse data at Harvard’s libraries, I’ll close with Chrome Experiment’s graphic interactive of Google Books in an online “Bookcase” library.  Browser embedded and browseable for users, the bookcase presents a coded to cool digital collection. Along with other infographics at 2012’s SxSW, we thus witness the development of graphics libraries, and interactives that blur code and creativity in human-computer cohesive interface.

Some valuable links:

Cool Map Book connecting emotions to visualizations:

Data Vis for SxSW site

Woo’s Graphics

Good Magazine’s Graphics for visualizing your data:

Cool stuff w/Web GL: your own robot printed jewelry Experiments Rome Video

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Social [h]Activism and Digital Democracy: creating code for the crowdsourced masses

There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world; and that is an idea whose time has come.”

– Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

It seems my previous post was more apropos than I imagined. Most of day 1 at SxSW (only slightly sidetracked by the swarm of the swelling crowds) was spent in a scramble to score my access pass and manage my limited schedule projections, I can business-school bullet-point some important takeaways augmented by typical <asides>.

A major motive of the sessions I’ve attended has been creating a digital democracy through code projects, whether related to Don Tapscott’s “Rethinking Civilization for the Social Age” which dealt with the macrowikinomics of crowdsourced slacktivism in our “age of networked intelligence” or MIT Media Lab’s “antidisciplinary” ecosystems of collective intellectual effort online. In treating the ideology of Web 2.0 Taxonomies and citing some networked digital projects aimed at activism through online awareness, Tapscott punctuated a really powerful talk with some punchy ideas about digital brainstorming for philanthropic programs like Habitat Jam or Taking it global and Gladwellian concepts like “the revolution will not be tweeted.” It seems the ideas across sessions are trending to “massing” digital culture power and augmenting social programs through optimizing public presence online.

For libraries, this can iterate into plans for web 2.0 optimization and digital collection development. Embracing the trend terms of content strategy and information architecture for analog records migrating to digital culls from the tech world and creates more usesable, crowdsourced, and captivating content that has potential for as much social media motive as social good. As curators of a cultured networked intelligence, we have an obligation to embrace the perspectives of our app-minded patrons, and activate the rhizomatic avenues of our collections for optimal online exploration. As always, we are the intellectual social workers with the potential as arbiters of the digital world among the hoipolloi populace of our public library venues. We have an obligation to #occupy collective intelligence as activists and advocates of intelligent interaction online.

Crowd[something]As a conclusion, I’ll close with a concept that’s been “viral” in the small session program I’ve built over the past few days. Apparently an analog for the mass culture swarm and mob-digital power of our “intellectual networked age” is defined by a natural phenomenon called “murmurations”: the swarm of starlings who are incidently the stars of southby. Starlings swarm formation culture was documented by Don Tapscott and cited by BBC’s transmedia specialist Adrian Hon as a fascinating natural formation of coordinated effort and cloud interdependence. It echoes the Wilderness Downtown HTML5 buildout of last year and also, oddly, my twitter background which each feature swirling digital drawings of black birds. It seems I’ve found my niche in the crowdsourced collective. Murmurations of data geeks will be witnessed, updates and col-laboratory musings forthcoming.

Some cool hotlinks to paw-through…

Highlighting (the social app of southby):

Social Good Collectives:

Storytelling/Collab Projects:

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