Hypertext Day 2 – Keynote, Search, Recommendation and E-Lit

So today was the first offical day of the Conference. This morning started with the opening keynote. As with all keynotes the range of topics covered was broad. There was some really strong emphasis so far on both days that what computer science is doing is not really new. There seems to be a lot of psycological and soloilogical theorys which could be applied to the particularly the social aspects of the web. The research then becomes discovering how existing theorys map into a web experience. This would mean doing some really deep genuine interdisciplinary research. It strikes me that the sort of interdisciplinary research we currently do is very superficial, it tends to be – build a system for some Language teachers. A deeper piece of research would be “take what language teachers know about teaching languages and apply those theories in a web context” thats not a very good example because im not convinced language teachers really know about how their students learn. That means we need some learning theorists which probably leans on psycology. We need some hard metrics to measure whether learning is actually improved and then weve got a really solid piece of research where theories from two disciplines combine to their mutal benefit.

Following that inspiring start to the day there was a very interesting piece about the <title> tag of a document and how persistent it is. It turns out about 40% of web pages have a crap title and it makes them pretty difficult to google. Thats quite a useful piece of information to know you can also do some studies about how well the title reflects the content of the document and how the document changes and the title changes or not over time.

Then Charlie’s talk was on. He had a very well polished and quite stylish presentation compared to what I’ve seen before and it was backed up by his usual sturdy presentation style. He woke the audience up a bit, it was the first talk of the day to really get any questions and they were pretty tough but at least people were listening. Another presentation of note was Automatic Construction of Travel Itineraries using Social Breadcrumbs by Munmun De Choudhury et al. Again no copy of the presentation online yet but the paper is currently self archived. The plan was to use geotags from images in flickr in order to construct virtual tours of Cites based on where users actually went. What they produced looks incredably successful and I don’t think there choose method of evaluation really does it justice.

So by now i was a bit tired sitting and being talked to so me charlie and bunch of the other delegates grabbed a break out room and had a discussion about e-lit and hypertext fiction. These are things im not particularly familiar with but they that made the discussion all the more interesting. I’m told hypertext usually has a strand for e-lit and so forth but this and the 10 or so people we were in the discussion with felt a bit put out it had been dropped from the program.

To finish the day we headed over to the poster reception where there were some quite interesting presentations and some really good sushi. Tomorrow is more social web focused so should be more in my usual workspace.

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