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Reflections on iConference08 at UCLA

Over a month ago (how did that happen already?), I attended the iConference at UCLA and had a great time. I spent three nights and four days in a blur of activity and ideas. Over my time in Los Angeles, I visited Kinko’s twice, generated three presentations, gave three presentations, and had fancy finger-foods at the Getty Center (and Research Institute and Museum) (which has one of the most stunning architectural layouts I’ve ever seen).

Doctoral Colloquium
I spoke about my ongoing progress towards my dissertation topic of Contextual Authority Tagging and laid out my most recent plan of attack (pdf 736kB). I can see how the pieces are fitting together now and did my best to convey a few years of work into 10 minutes. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m getting better at it. Practice definitely helps.

Poster Session
The next day, I shared my newest results concerning and its use for seeing the tags used on a group of items change over time. This was the first time in public for this data and these views, and I received some wonderful feedback regarding periodicity (and the potential predictive power of these graphs) as well as generalizability.

Watching Organizational Opinion via Social Tagging (pdf 424kB)

It turns out, if I can describe the type of data I’m graphing better – others may be able to push their data into and see how their own data is changing over time. This is very exciting as it opens up many potential collaborations – with people and datasets I’d otherwise not have an opportunity to see.

Panel Session
The third day of my whirlwind week was an early-morning presentation of the contribution that may have the most impact on others doing research. Tag Decay (pdf 176kB). I posit that by adding time to the tagging ‘triumvirate’, we add a fourth dimension.


The feedback for this talk was very strong and I have a couple good ideas moving forward, if only I can get some time to get a bit of code working.

Plane Home
One last little note. On the flight home, I was able to get the engine to parse and process data from Connotea in addition to the native tagging sets I’ve been using. This means there’s hope for multiple parsers to be designed/coded in the wild. Cloudy may have its day, yet!

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