Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Multilingual tags and the language of LO

I've looked into tagging in different languages before. An interesting thing came out of our little pilot: teachers, non of whom mother tongue was English, still had about 20-30% of tags in English. We had two different thoughts on this,
  • either tag is in English because teacher wanted to share these tags with other teachers, or
  • tag was in English because it is related to the language of the learning resources that was bookmarked
I was now interested in the second possibility, and took a look at a sample of 136 bookmarks with tags in multiple languages related to them.
  • The LOs were in English, Hungarian, Polish and Estonian.
  • The users (43) were Hungarian, Polish, Estonian and Lithuanian
Fair enough, all the English tags were related to the English resources! In close to 30% bookmarks (39 out of 136) this was the case (which also means that 30% of LOs were in English).

Moreover, it seems that for about 1/3 of the times the language of the LO was the same as that of the tag, whereas 2/3 of the cases it varies according to the language of the user. In about 3% of bookmarks one was able to observe multi-lingual tags.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Radioheads making €, good for them

Cutting the record lable out of the equation seems to be a good deal. I'm glad to see the bold decision to go directly to fans has not only shown a great example, but also proved profitable! I've always liked the idea of Magnatune.com, although never bought anything..
En trois jours, Radiohead avait vendu 1,3 millions d’albums. Le prix moyen aurait été de 6 euros - un chiffre qui semble être tombé à 4 euros après que les premiers fans aient passé commande. Avec l’élargissement de l’audience a un plus grand public, la moyenne du prix d’achat s’est tassé : on estime entre 1/4 et 1/3 le nombre d’internautes qui auraient choisis de ne rien débourser. Wired estime néanmoins que le groupe aurait déjà pu récolter entre 4 et 8 millions de d’euros.

Même avec une moyenne basse de près de 3 euros par album vendu souligne Guillaume Champeau sur Ratiatum, c’est près de 4 millions d’euros que le groupe aurait gagné en quelques jours. A une dizaine de pourcent de rémunération par album, “dans les circuits classiques, Radiohead aurait du vendre 2,5 millions d’albums pour gagner l’équivalent”. Internet actu

Friday, October 19, 2007

what every PhD should know: dinner discussion with a google guy

Just barely hanging out there. Today was lots of serious fun and intellectual challenges at the RecSys 2007 Doctoral Consortium . Interestingly, all the participants came from lots of different backgrounds from computer science, information retrieval to me from education. I think the diversity of backgrounds and focuses of studies represent the growth of the Field of Recommenders, it's not only about the best algorithm anymore, but a plethora of questions around.

Anyway, being somewhat a newbie here (yeah, I do not know all the people or study areas here, very eye opening!), it makes me think that all the PhD students should be exposed to the question " If you were to have dinner next to a main researcher in Google/Yahoo/or any other big name, what would you want to talk about?".

Well, as it happens to be, I never thought of that before. Neither was I prepped for that by my study programme. Nevertheless, I just spent my dinner next to Krishna Bharat, you know, the guy who greated Google News, nothing less, nothing more. Probably tomorrow I'll have like ten things I want to ask from him with no chance to get his attention anymore.

Bottom line: it is not only about the 1 minute elevator pitch, but about the life and such in general.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New acquitance: Semiotic Dynamics

Pretty exiting, I came across this new area of Semiotic Dynamics, which is described as "a new field that studies how semiotic relations can originate, spread, and evolve over time in populations, by combining recent advances in linguistics and cognitive science with methodological and theoretical tools from complex systems and computer science." One topic of this study field is folksonomies, which draw my attention. The stuff can look like this.

Everyone nowadays repeat the same mantra of web 2.0, but somehow this project managed to say things sets it apart:

..users are no longer limited to consuming or creating online content, they also provide the semantic scaffolding holding together such content, thus taking on an active role in shaping the architecture of online information. The collaborative character underlying many Web 2.0 applications puts them in the spotlight of complex systems science,..

"Semantic scaffolding holding together .. content", that's a pretty awesome way to put it!

The paper "Vocabulary growth in collaborative tagging systems" investigates the temporal evolution of a tagging vocabulary size (of delicious) both on a
  • global level (the number of distinct tags in the entire system) and
  • local level (the growth of the number of distinct tags used in the context of a given resource or user).
It asks questions like how does the number of tags grow?; what is the rate of invention of new tags? is the asymptotic number of tags finite (uugh, a nice way to say it)? etc...

The paper finds out that the growth behaviours are remarkably regular throughout the entire history of the system with power-law behaviours with exponent smaller than one (non of that "fat head and long thing tail"!) and across very different resources being bookmarked.

Moreover, they find that there are some intrinsic characteristics of the system which do not depend strongly on the size of the dataset, like that the average number of tags is about 3.4 (local level). If I get it all right, they conclude on this that on the local scale (resource or user) "all curves tend to lie along a "universal" growth curve with an exponent close to 2/3".

The authors of this paper also highlight that the tools and concepts from complex system science may prove valuable for understanding the structure and dynamics of folksonomies.

Some interesting papers towards this direction: http://www.furl.net/members/vuorikari/semiotic_dynamics

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Google goes micro-blogging

All the roads lead to ...Google. I guess we could re-phrase the old saying. Just received a notification from Jaiku that they are joining Google. In the other words, Google acquired them. Good for those guys, I hope. I wonder how many Finnish SMEs have become part of Google in the past?

I kinda enjoy Jaiku even if I don't micro-blog from my phone. I like it as an aggregator of feeds and to check what my pals are doing. Unfortunately the Facebook app. does not work that well, but hey, maybe Google will fix this one?