Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Fri Sep 14 2001 - 16:31:44 PDT

  • Next message: John J. Deneen: "Re: [unrev-II] Semantic Community Web Portal"

    Alex Shapiro wrote:

    > Have you
    >> > checked
    >> > out this paper by the
    >> > way? What to you
    >> think?
    The examples in this paper appear to me to reinforce the principles I
    in a post quite a while back. Graphics work when there is
      * a small set of
      * fixed data types
      * small sets of relationships

    That allows one icon to be associated with each type. The graph can then
    patterns or locations of the items. Graphs run into problems in one of
    three ways:
      1) When the number of types grows large, there are too many icons to
    keep track
           of, and no meaningful patterns emerge.
      2) When the number of relationships grows large, the intersecting
    lines in any
           graphic representation turns the picture into a confusion.
      3) When the number of entries grows large, items are far removed from
           other, and the other end of any given relationship is rarely
    visible in a given
           display area.

    I note that the examples used in this paper have exactly two data types:
    a location
    at the top level of the hierarchy, and something else (presumably a
    "job" type) at
    the second level of the hierarchy. I note that no information about the
    job is
    contained in the graph. So the "information content" only goes one
    level deep.

    At the top level, the only information is the name of the location.
    Presumably, there
    is a link to other information that would help to explain why a given
    location is good
    or bad for jobs, but the graph itself contains little or no pertinent
    information on the

    At the second level of the hierarchy, the *only* information is the
    number of jobs.
    (Assuming that I am correctly interpreting the intent of the diagrams.)
    individual bubbles would be useless for keeping track of jobs. They are
    getting small and hard and select. And it would take different types of
    icons to
    present any useful information.

    Given these limitations, I don't see how graphing techologies apply at
    all to
    collaborative design/discussion tools or a knowledge base, given the
    volume of information such a tool needs to manage, the vast array of
    information types, and the exponentially exploding number of

    Perhaps TheBrain has something that could provoke a change of mind. I
    can't say I've seen it (or recall what I saw, if I did). But as a simple
    how would any of the information contained in this message be captured
    a graph? Were it done, in what way would such a graph be of use to

    I simply do not see graphing technology as useful in any substantive way

    in a knowledge-engineering context. It's GREAT for visualizing small
    systems, which makes it a wonderful tool for teaching. It gives people a

    mental model of the systems. But in actual use? I'm still inclined to
    I'm afraid.

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