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Google Notebook

Google Notebook is an annotation tool that allows users to clip excerpts of text or image from the web, comment upon them, tag them, and organize them into notebooks. Notebooks can be shared with other users or published as public web pages. The user may also use the notebook to type in their own notes.

Text in notebooks can be formatted using a rich-text editor, allowing the easy addition of links, formatting, etc. Notes can be re-organized via drag-and-drop and can be sorted according to tags. Browser extensions for Internet Explorer and Firefox allow access to notebooks from a corner of the browser window and allow the user to add content to a notebook with just a right mouse-click.

Starter Links: Google Notebook Tour | Announcement on Google Blog

CommentPress Transliteracies Research Report

Developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book, CommentPress “is an open source theme for the WordPress blogging engine that allows readers to comment paragraph by paragraph in the margins of a text. Annotate, gloss, workshop, debate: with CommentPress you can do all of these things on a finer-grained level, turning a document into a conversation. It can be applied to a fixed document (paper/essay/book etc.) or to a running blog.” (CommentPress home page)

Starter Links: CommentPress home page | Institute for the Future of the Book | Examples of CommentPress in action

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

Google’s OpenSocial

“The web is more interesting when you can build apps that easily interact with your friends and colleagues. But with the trend towards more social applications also comes a growing list of site-specific APIs that developers must learn.

OpenSocial provides a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can create apps that access a social network’s friends and update feeds.

Common APIs mean you have less to learn to build for multiple websites. OpenSocial is currently being developed by Google in conjunction with members of the web community. The ultimate goal is for any social website to be able to implement the APIs and host 3rd party social applications. There are many websites implementing OpenSocial, including Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.” (OpenSocial home page)

Starter Links: Video of highlights from the OpenSocial rollout event: Google Campfire One | OpenSocial home page | OpenSocial Getting Started Guide | Sample applications developed with the OpenSocial APIs

KNFB Readers for the Visually Impaired

The KNFB Classic Reader was developed by Ray Kurzweil in association with the National Federation of the Blind and Envision Technology. About the size of a PDA, the reader uses a camera to take pictures of text and and using text-to-speech technology, reads the content aloud. The user can store information for future reference and transfer the information to a computer.

The company also offers a mobile reader for the Nokia N82 phone. In addition to the reader functions, users can access the phone and PDA functions of the device.

Starter Links: KNFB Announcement on Envision’s web site | A Washington Business Journal article detailing plans to release a cell-phone based reader | KNFB Reading Technology Inc. home page | Classic Reader page on KNFB web site | Mobile Reader on KNFB web site

History of Reading Annotated Bibliography

Partially annotated bibliography of the Transliteracies History of Reading research group. This bibliography was created by research assistants in the History of Reading working group, and will be expanded as the Transliteracies project continues. See also the Online Literacy Skills Bibliography and the Social Computing Bibliography. Objects for Study in the project’s Research Clearinghouse contains annotated citations of a wider range of related materials (including web, hardware, software, historical, and artistic resources as well as selected items from this bibliography).

History of Reading Annotated Bibliography

Raymond Siemens, “Converging Knowledge Domains and the Study of the Electronic Book”

Paradigms Lecture 3 -Friday, February 8, 11 am – 12:30 pm, UCSB, South Hall 2635

On February 8, 2008, Raymond Siemens presented the third lecture in the Tranliteracies Project’s Paradigms Lecture series: “Converging Knowledge Domains and the Study of the Electronic Book.”

HCI-Book Report: The Study of Professional Reading Tools for Computing Humanists.

Full Video: .mov | .wmv

Video by Sections:

  • Section 1: Introductory remarks by Alan Liu. .mov | .wmv
  • Section 2: Overview; Research Team; Initial Consultation; Research Questions .mov | .wmv
  • Section 3: Research Objectives; Reading Devices Considered .mov | .wmv
  • Section 4: Closing Thoughts; Q&A (partial) .mov | .wmv

Ray Siemens is the Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing and Professor of English at University of Victoria (and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King’s College London), President (English) of the Society for Digital Humanities, and a leader of several major humanities computing and literary/textual initiatives. (more…)

Google’s Knol

Knol is a new publishing platform in testing by Google. Compared to Wikipedia, Knol differs in one crucial aspect: authorial transparency. “Knols,” or pages, are created by one author who then has editorial control over the article. Other users may submit revisions to the author, but they may not edit the page on their own. Knol will include multiple pages on the same topic and will allow users to rate and comment upon individual “knols.” As of this writing, Knol is in a preliminary testing phase and there is no projected public release date.

Starter Links: Google Blog announcing Knol | C|Net Article |

History Flow

History Flow is a tool created by Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenburg as part of the IBM Collaborative User Experience Research Group. Viegas’ and Wattenburg’s creation visualizes “dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors. In its current implementation, history flow is being used to visualize the evolutionary history of wiki* pages on Wikipedia” (history flow home page). The tool works by color coding edits according to the user who makes the changes. The result is a richly detailed visual overview of the life of a page. History Flow’s outputs allow visual analysis of issues critical to the credibility of Wikipedia, such as collaboration, vandalism, edit wars, etc.

Starter Links: History Flow home page | IBM Collaborative User Experience home page | Wikipedia

El Muro

Research Report by Kate Marshall
(created 6/01/07; version 1.0)

Related Categories: Alternative Interfaces | Art Installations

Original Object for Study description

A self-inscribing wall, El Muro is an installation piece designed by Willy Sengewald and Richard The in 2004 as part of the “Sensitive Skin” project at the Berlin University of the Arts Digital Media course. The large monolith of El Muro stands alone in a darkened room, and produces graffiti on its surface that appears to write itself. The project calls for the dividing lines of urban and architectural space to be read — and re-read — as built expressions of political reality and as communications media. The walls to which El Muro refers not only include the borders of Berlin, Israel-Palestine, and US-Mexico, but also the anonymous urban walls that become advertising and graffiti canvases, as well as the wall as an abstract architectural element. In each case, the support structures of the built world become self-reflexive reading interfaces. (more…)

Moving Canvas

Research Report by Kate Marshall
(created 06/01/07; version 1.0)

Related Categories: Alternative Interfaces | Art Installations

Original Object for Study description

Moving Canvas, a combination of technologies and installations designed by Frédéric Eyl, Gunnar Green, and Richard The, involves the placement of an LED projection device (“Parasite”) on the side of a commuter subway train. The device is enclosed in a suitcase equipped with suction cups, and its projection aligned with the subway walls. The ensuing display projects words and images on the tunnel walls, viewable through the train windows. Cinematic time and commuter time combine radically as bodies and messages literally communicate through the subway tunnels.

The project was developed in 2005 as part of a digital media class at the Berlin University of the Arts, and exhibited with the university’s “Here/There” project. Moving Canvas takes another look at the problem of here and there by asking what lies between. (more…)