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Fringe IA: Understanding complex organizational, data, & technical issues

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When approached with a question, librarians create context for understanding using communication skills and their ability to navigate available resources. IAs can do a similar thing for co-workers inside an organization.

Using my ongoing experience in Special Projects, we’ll look at how IA tools, processes, and thinking can be used to solve support and maintenance issues in an organization. I’ve worked with people in different product groups and roles, including those with direct customer interaction, developers, testers, and various levels of management. I’ve helped them see connections between existing products and technologies, design a complex future product as part of a “task force”, and generally answer (and be able to ask!) all sorts of questions.

Along the way, I’ve discovered and added various tools to my bag of tricks. We’ll take a look at these unexpected tools and how they can be used to explore certain types of information problems.

Published in: Technology, Education
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Fringe IA: Understanding complex organizational, data, & technical issues

  1. 1. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13 Understanding complex organizational, data, & technical issues Michael Adcock IA Summit 2013 Baltimore, MD
  2. 2. Related themes from #ReframeIA “Architect” vs. “Builder” “Meaning” (Do we discover it, create it, or both?) @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  3. 3. IA as Scientific Discovery Discovery should come as an adventure rather than as the result of a logical process of thought. - Theobald Smith @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13 http://archive.org/details/artofscientifici00beve
  4. 4. IA as Scientific Discovery "...intuitions always appear at the fringe of consciousness, not at the focus.“ "...the great scientist must be regarded as a creative artist and it is quite false to think of the scientist as a man who merely follows rules of logic and experiment." @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13 http://archive.org/details/artofscientifici00beve
  5. 5. IA as Scientific Discovery “the most difficult mental act of all is to re-arrange a familiar bundle of data, to look at it differently and escape from the prevailing doctrine.” - Professor H. Butterfield @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13 http://archive.org/details/artofscientifici00beve
  6. 6. Tools and Structures Tools for discovering Meaning vs. Structures to create Context @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  7. 7. A quick example… As some of you may know, I’m a mashup fanboy. I commissioned Titus Jones to produce a mashup for this “Fringe IA” session. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  8. 8. A quick example: feedback @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  9. 9. “This was awesome... I love when you do shit like this... something I would have never thought of. That's a very powerful tool for audio collaboration. It would be cool if different people/users could add comments (almost like soundcloud lets you select a time in the track, and add your comment?) Regardless though... I really liked being able to read your feedback at each point in the song. Very cool. ” - Titus Jones A quick example: feedback @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  10. 10. A quick example: presentation @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  11. 11. Ok, but what do I do at work? @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  12. 12. I’m here: @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  13. 13. Company Background • SaaS solutions for libraries • Electronic Resource Management • Bibliographic & publisher metadata @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  14. 14. Technical Support Analyst Global Customer Experience & Service My Role @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  15. 15. Titles? Bullcorn! @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  16. 16. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  17. 17. Fine, but what do I do at work? Here’s an example: Given nearly 1000 client configurations stored in multiple XML and JSON files, “migrate” the information over from an old technology to a new implementation. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  18. 18. RTA Migration Oh, and by the way: Some files are for legacy/inactive clients. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  19. 19. RTA Migration Oh, and by the way: Some files are for legacy/inactive clients. Some files are for trial/demo clients. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  20. 20. RTA Migration Oh, and by the way: Some files are for legacy/inactive clients. Some files are for trial/demo clients. Not sure how many clients must be migrated. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  21. 21. RTA Migration Oh, and by the way: Some files are for legacy/inactive clients. Some files are for trial/demo clients. Not sure how many clients must be migrated. It’s NOT a matter of “mapping” or “copying”. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  22. 22. RTA Migration So, um… yeah. Can we do that? @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  23. 23. RTA Migration: Approach We needed a tool to help us understand. Something that could put all this stuff in a meaningful context. I decided to use a TiddlyWiki at the core, and build onto it. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  24. 24. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  25. 25. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  26. 26. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  27. 27. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13 Under the hood:
  28. 28. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  29. 29. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  30. 30. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  31. 31. RTA Migration: Resulting Tool @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  32. 32. Other tools: Gephi @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  33. 33. Other tools: Gephi @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  34. 34. Other tools: Gource @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  35. 35. Other tools: Google Refine @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  36. 36. Summary Thoughts Freedom to experiment and play is needed. Sometimes we need to be tool builders to solve certain problems. We could learn some things from the realm of scientific discovery. @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13
  37. 37. Thanks! "What you must understand, is that as scientists we must embrace every possibility. No limitations, no boundaries, there is no reason for them.“ - Walter Bishop U.S. Army Research Headquarters, 1986 @adcockm #FringeIA #IAS13

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