Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Combining Social Networking and Traditional Web Search

We are already waiting quite a while for Google (or Yahoo) to incorporate social networking technology into their web search services. Personalization of search results (as already being offered -- of course in some limited way) as a very first step towards the right direction has become part of traditional web search. The next step should include not only search results from personal resources but also from resources being available within your personal social network. Seems to be straight forward...?!

First thing, include all resources that I have tagged (you can also distinguish between resources that are yours and resources owned by others that you have tagged). In addition to the traditional hyperlink graph of the web (as it is used by the PageRank algorithm), new (weighted and labelled) arcs have to be inserted connecting your homepage (site/blog or whatever) with all the resources (own and foreign) that have been tagged by you.
Ok, now let's consider that everybody's tag-links are inserted into the hyperlink webgraph. Next thing is to insert (weighted and labelled) arcs from your homepage to the homepages of all your friends (according to your personal social network).
You will end up with a graph that includes (a) traditional hyperlinks, (b) personal tagged + weigthed links to resources, and (c) personal tagged + weigthed links to other users. This composite social webgraph should be sufficient for extending the traditional PageRank algorithm to include social networking information.
Of course (and I'm pretty sure of that and I don't go into details now) a lot of adjustments concerning the weights and the use of tags/labels for indexing have to be considered. But, I think it should be possible...

To some extend, a similar approach has been implemented by lijit. lijit is a personalized search engine that makes use of all your available social networking information. At registration, besides your homepage (or blog ... unfortunately you can not manage several different blogs) you pass over your username for several bookmarking/social networking services as well as the URLs of (a) content provided by you and (b) websites (blogs) of your friends. lijit creates a searchable webgraph covering all the resources and networking information that you have provided. Therefore, searching with lijit comes close to a rather personal variant of searching your very own web-universe.

Social Graph Based Search is also the topic of a video podcast from Scobleizer. Although I can't follow his argument that the social networking companies will kick Google's butt in four years (he states that Google's PageRank algorithm cannot be adapted to include social networking least not in a way scalable for Google's purposes and also not with the current business modell of today's SEOs [=Search Engine Optimizers]), I agree to the way how to include social networking information into traditional web search.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Conspiracies ahead - The Google Masterplan

Did you ever wonder what Google is doing with all the terabytes and petabytes of information they collect....? Almost everybody is using any of the services offered by Google. And they keep track of what you are searching (and doing). Do you think they do it merely for placing some (more or less well suited) text ads??

This short video clip from Özan Halici und Jürgen Mayer presented at the EMERGEANDSEE Festival Berlin 07 is raising the same (more or less rhetorical) questions. See for yourself...

[via 'Die ZEIT']

Monday, August 27, 2007

50 years Saarland - 50 Joor Saarland

Did I mention that I received my PhD at the University of Trier...
In Trier -- btw it is the oldest city of Germany with more than 2000 years of history ... everytime in your garden, if you dig a hole deeper than half a meter ( ca. 1.5 feet) you will find some Roman relics -- you meet a lot of people coming from the Saarland (which is the southern neighbor of Rheinlandpfalz). Ofcourse 'Pfälzer' (being the name of the folk living there ... o.k. don't beat me ... that's not really correct because in Trier there should be the 'Treverer') have certain prejudices concerning 'Saarländer' (being the inhabitants of the Saarland), but I don't want to go into details ;-)
Saarland is the youngest of the federal states of Germany and this year, it celebrates 50 years of existence.

If you want to learn more about this genuine little country and its inhabitants, there is a wonderful animated video clip created by Stefan Abendschön from HBK Saar.

[via Glückauf! - Andreas sein weblog]

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Blog....

I decided to split my blog into a (a) scientific blog (...more semantic!) and (b) a more private blog, where I will write about one of my favourite occupations......literature!

The new blog has the name BIBLIONOMICON. There you can read all of my new book reviews and anything else related to books and literature. The very first article is on Susanna Clark's 'Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell' that I've read recently.

In the new blog, I will write preferably in German (because most of the book I'm reading are also in German...).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Do Students really appreciate online lecture recordings...??

For another paper I was doing some research on how students are using online lecture recordings. I started with asking Google about studies and evaluations on the topic. But, as I had to find out, there are only some primitive evaluations (with a small number of participating students often limited to a spectial course or a single university) as to the satisfaction of the students -- often with 'overwhelming' results (as for advertising the used lecture recording technology...).

Here you may find a few examples (recent evaluations with more than 100 students seem to be rare...):

  • Maree Gosper, Margot McNeill, Karen Woo et. al.: Web-based Lecture Recording Technologies: Do Students Learn From Them?, in In. Adelaide: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, 2007.
    (interesting summary of several surveys down under in Australia with Lectopia/iLectures, more than 10.000 students addressed but only about 800 answered...)

  • Marc Krüger: Pädagogische Betrachtungen zu Vortragsaufzeichnungen (eLectures), in i-com, Zeitschrift für interaktive und kooperative Medien, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag 3 56--60 (2005).
    (first try of a more general study...)

I was not able to find a more general, summarizing report dealing with a variety of scenarios and clustering the results (inluding methodological soundness and decent empirical basis).

So...first thing -- if you know about any study or evaluation (with significant empirical basis), please write a comment with a link to the source (!)
Second -- I know that this will also only be a rather limited and primitive poll -- please fill out the small poll below. Maybe we gain a little bit more insight on student's satisfaction concerning online lecture recordings -- not only restricted to a single course or a single university....

Monday, August 06, 2007

DVDs zur Vorlesung

Nach Abschluss des Semesters möchte ich auch an dieser Stelle auf unsere DVD mit allen Vorlesungsaufzeichnungen und Materialien zur Vorlesung 'Informatik der digitalen Medien' an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena hinweisen. Die Vorlesung umfasst 2 SWS (12 aufgezeichnete Lehrveranstaltungen á 90 Minuten). Zusätzlich befinden sich auf der DVD sämtliche Handouts sowie ein Großteil der auf der Webseite zur Vorlesung verlinkten Materialien (der Rest, der aus Aktualitätsgründen bzw. aufgrund des Copyrights nicht mit auf die DVD durfte, ist entsprechend verlinkt....). Softwarevoraussetzung zur Wiedergabe der DVD sind ein ganz normaler Web-Browser und zum Abspielen der Videos eine aktuelle Version des RealPlayers (getestet unter Windows, Linux und MacOSX).

Ebenso gibt es auch DVDs zu den Vorlesungen 'Informatik der digitalen Medien, Wintersemester 2005/06', sowie 'Webtechnologien, Sommersemester 2006'.

Die DVDs können jeweils für einen Unkostenbeitrag von 4,50 Euro + 2,50 Euro Versandkosten erworben werden. Schreiben Sie mir dazu einfach eine E-Mail an sack(AT) (ersetzen Sie das (AT) dabei durch das @-Zeichen) und geben Sie den Titel und das jeweilige Semester der Vorlesung (also hier z.B. 'Informatik der digitalen Medien', Sommersemester 2007) mit an.