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Christina's LIS Rant
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
  ASIST2006: Personal Digital Collections
Personal Digital Collections
8:30am Wednesday

Personal Digital Libraries and Scientific Data
Christine Borgman
UCLA
(Scholarship In The Digital Age – new book forthcoming from MIT Press)
CENS Data Management Team (Center for Embedded Networked Sensing)
Sensing, terrestrial, contaminant transport, aquatic
“programmable, distributed, multi-modal, multi-scale, multiuse observatories to address compelling science and engineering issues” – data to be repurposed, fused, compared over time.

Incentives not to share vs. open science
Documentation problems
- heterogeneous data types and precisions/accuracies
- data in different states (from raw sensor data to processed, processed in various proprietary analysis tools)

Personal digital libraries can help
- build in access controls
- automatic metadata
- tools that simplify documentation process

The idea that if they can help individual scientists and teams manage data, then that will enable better sharing.

Personal Information for a World as We Want it to Be
William Jones
Washington
People don’t collect – information collects; people dream and hope but how do we make dreams and plans real.
Making a plan more “real” in an external representation
- visible intentional spaces allow us to see inconsistency and do better planning
- allow for serendipity (Seifert & Patalano, 2001)
- better memory for better finding if we file more deeply (?)

People don’t want to be librarians and collect and manage data -- if we can help people reify these dreams it will help

Personal Digital Collection: A Long-Term Perspective
Catherine Marshall
Microsoft/Texas A&M
We *are* our digital stuff
Why can’t we rely on benign neglect? Like photographs in a cardboard box in the basement.
(OT: I’m migrating to a new system at work and am trying to make sure the Adobe Suite can transfer the license, all of my firefox plugins get transferred, my favorites get transferred… argh Not trivial to re-install and set up Crossfire Commander, etc)

(My problem with this part of the talk is that I totally appreciate the problem, I’m ready for a solution to be proposed)
PIM strategies
- keep everything (but forgetting is important)
- central and unify
- personal info mgmt tools
- desktop search (have to know that it exists and maybe about the context)

(but none of these are adequate)

Personal Ontologies
Luz Quiroga
Hawaii

Assumption: that we feel the need to organize our digital collections, that desktop searching isn’t enough because people want to browse sometimes, and that learning how to organize personal information is part of information literacy research (huh.)

Organizing personal collections also enable sharing like for sharing bookmarks and collaborative filtering.

Ontology is a “community mediated and accepted description of the kind of entities that are in a domain of discourse and how they are related”. Can personal ontologies be dynamic because organization is context-related.

Deborah Barreau
UNC

Premise: people do create collections from their digital stuff. The creative process of selection and grouping helps recall.
“Personal digital portfolio” – group of digital artifacts selected, placed in context, within a tool (sounds like some of my argument for personal knowledge management blogging)

Problems that these personal portfolios overlook are how to extract info from personal space which can be chaotic, or can contain “invisible” content. How can these tools support how people think.

Experiment to enhance recall and support reflection in a local flora class - MyLifeBits software from MS.
- too much data – particularly camera data
- interface incompatible with how people relate to their files
- the tool for building collections and adding annotations were most useful
- multiple views to analyze and make assessments
- fraction of personal workspace which ignores the complexity of real life use with multiple personalities and tasks
- while people don’t like to organize stuff, they *do* organize as they need to

Comments from audience:
We're stuck in the metaphors to physical space like rooms, folders, desktops, etc.
WJ - label this vs. filing into folders, physical organization metaphor like in second life
CM - ability to re-encounter, relies on a sense of space, spatial hypertext is one way to think about it. How else can we localize things on a computer so that we may re-encounter
Nick Belkin (from the audience) - lack of physicality which reinforces our memories if we have a sense of place, we haven't investigated whether we can simulate physicality in virtual environments

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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