Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dive In.

Ok, so bear with me.  All this stuff is well-connected and making sense in my head, but I can already tell it's going to be hard to translate that to the written word.

So, I finished Born Digital from John Palfrey and Urs Gasser.  Lots of good stuff in there, some of which I may write about later, but one thing that struck me was their description of how "digital natives" gather information on the web.  A multistep process:

1. Grazing
2. The "deep dive."
3. The feedback loop - blog posts, vlogs, online commenting, passing along through email, etc.  An interaction with the information. 

I found this to be quite accurate, personally.  The one thing I've noticed though, in my experience in both work and school, is the wide variance between where one person's 'grazing' ends and their "deep dive" begins.  Usually, my grazing is looking about Wikis and Google results, so that by the time I get to my "deep dive," I have an extensive enough background on a topic to know how and what to search for in the deeper parts of the Web.  I'm also fortunate to have several resources at my disposal, including my membership and the university's library databases (which I plan to keep by staying in school forever).  

So thinking about that "deep net," the area often left unexplored, I stumbled across last week's NY Times article on the "deep Web" and the new technologies popping up around the idea, which led me to more reading on the idea of Web 3.0 and the "semantic web."  

A lot of the articles (including the Wiki) on the idea of the semantic web are too jargon-y for my tastes, but the best understanding I have of the concept is a shift toward making computers more..., well, human - in the sense that the computers will begin to make meaning out of all this information.  (Although I should point out that it seems there are as many different definitions of Web 3.0 as articles on the subject.)  Some say it will be similar to a personal assistant, learning your interests/dislikes/likes/hobbies/etc and assessing and providing information based on that. A more dynamic way of surfing the net.  

It seems to me that much of this is likely to be deeply connected to Web 2.0, with sites like Twine - which work through a combination of human and artificial intelligence. Which, I have to admit, seems pretty cool after watching Iron Man last night and watching him talk to all his computers.  ;)

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