Mailing Lists: Why Are They Still Here, What’s Wrong With Them, and How Can We Fix Them?

Online group discussion has been around almost as long as the Internet, but it seems we still can’t create tools for it that satisfy everyone. Starting with the first mailing list in 1972 and evolving to modern social media tools, we see tensions between people’s desire to participate in productive discussions and the struggle to [...]

PhD: Part 1

Fig. 1: An early version of SIEUFERD, the Schema-Independent End-User Front-End for Relational Databases.
It’s my sixth year in graduate school; my committee has been formed, my PhD thesis proposal has been submitted, and I am coding along on SIEUFERD, the research system from which I hope to squeeze my remaining research contributions. The project and [...]

Semantic Web for End Users: Keynote from ESWC 2013 now Online

A final addendum to my series of three posts on the Semantic Web and End Users.  The talk that I summarized in those posts is now online here, synchronized with the slides I presented.  I think I did a pretty good job getting through 217 slides in 75 minutes, and there’s some interesting Q&A at [...]

Keynote at ESWC Part 3: What’s Wrong with Semantic Web Research, and Some Ideas to Fix it

I’ve just returned from the European Semantic Web Conference, where I gave a keynote talk on “The Semantic Web for End Users”.   My talk addressed the problem that has interested me for eighteen years: making it easier for end users to manage their information.  The thesis was that

The current state of tools for end [...]

Keynote at ESWC Part 2: How the Semantic Web Can Help End Users

I’ve just returned from the European Semantic Web Conference, where I gave a keynote talk on “The Semantic Web for End Users”.   My talk addressed the problem that has interested me for eighteen years: making it easier for end users to manage their information.  The thesis was that

The current state of tools for end [...]

Keynote at the European Semantic Web Conference Part 1: The State of End User Information Management

I’ve just returned from the European Semantic Web Conference, where I gave a keynote talk on “The Semantic Web for End Users”.   The slides are here . My talk addressed the problem that has interested me for eighteen years: making it easier for end users to manage their information.  The thesis was that

The current [...]

Two Funny Things at the 2012 International Semantic Web Conference

I spent last week at the 2012 International Semantic Web Conference.  This conference addresses the important topic of structured data on the web.  I had two “funny” experiences; one humorous and one peculiar.
At the beginning of the conference, I was amused to see that ISWC, whose central theme is linking the web’s data together into [...]

CIKM 2011 Keynote: User Interfaces that Entice People to Manage Better Information

Today I gave a keynote at CIKM 2011.  I argued that in addition to all our work on tools the process information for users, we should also be looking at tools that make people better able to apply their innate information processing talents for themselves.  I talked about the following tools that reflext that idea, [...]

Programming well in Javascript

With my background as a theoretical computer scientist, I’m a terrible programmer (Back in college taking operating systems, my team got special mention for having the most elegantly designed operating system, all built around a single semaphor API.  Of course it only executed for 30 seconds before crashing).  But sometimes, when I can’t convince any [...]

Crowds in Two Seconds: Enabling Realtime Crowd-Powered Interfaces

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IICXFUP6MM
[cross-posted from the CrowdResearch blog]
Crowds are already powering novel interactive systems like word processors and question answering systems, but their reach is too limited: crowds are reasonable choices only when the user can wait a minute or more for a response. Users, of course, hate waiting — they abandon interfaces that are slow to react. Imagine a [...]