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Delivering Information: Document vs. Content

Slides from a talk by Kate Forbes-Pitt on "Delivering Information: Document vs. Content" given at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2006 on 16 June 2006.
See <http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/webmaster-2006/talks/forbes-pitt/>.

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Delivering Information: Document vs. Content

  1. 1. Document versus content: getting quality information across the web Kate Forbes-Pitt 15 th June 2006
  2. 2. Documents vs content <ul><li>Why bother? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users like documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What has this got to do with quality? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality of understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality of dissemination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information is in-forming, it is a change in a person from an encounter with data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting ideas across can be a tricky process. Human inventiveness draws on all resources – down to the look, the feel, and even the smell coming off a document. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Users and their documents <ul><li>Users ask for documents – why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is how they get the information and share it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They think they are efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They know them and trust them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They think documents communicate information effectively </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They have them already – it is less work </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is a document? <ul><li>A piece of paper with writing on it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can scan this and ‘pdf’ it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A way of capturing / imparting information </li></ul>
  5. 5. The letter <ul><li>How do we know it’s a letter? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is not a piece of paper with writing on it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It contains no ‘information’ at all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But: </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It contains the information that it is a letter </li></ul><ul><li>What can be said about this information? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is not held as words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our recognition of it is almost instant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We all agree on it </li></ul></ul>social implicit learned knowledge about our world
  6. 6. What can be said about documents? <ul><li>They contain information separate from their content </li></ul><ul><li>They ‘wrap’ the content and give information about it </li></ul><ul><li>They are layered: </li></ul>Properties Class Text This is what a makes a document a document 1 3 2
  7. 7. Documents on the web <ul><li>Is the document information successfully captured and reproduced? </li></ul><ul><li>No (arguably) </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Two principal reasons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Document’s ‘old’ social rules are masked by ‘new’ rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social context is not ‘automatable’ </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. 1. Rules of interaction <ul><li>Normative and pragmatic access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Normative access – rights and obligations surrounding a document </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Letter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>is it addressed to you? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are you obliged to reply to it? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pragmatic access – governed by relevance and opportunity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A notice pinned to a notice board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevance is determined by those walking past </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity – walking past and being literate or tall enough to see it </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Computer access <ul><li>Pragmatic access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity is not immediate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of literacy required is different </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Normative access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rights and obligations are different on the web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication of it is unnecessary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social knowledge of the same kind is unnecessary </li></ul><ul><li>The implicit information that makes a document a document is superfluous </li></ul><ul><li>It retains it as a printed document </li></ul>
  10. 10. 2. What can be automated <ul><li>A document requires social knowledge in order to interpret it </li></ul><ul><li>The social knowledge required is not available within the document </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. to interpret the document one must have access to implicit rule not contained within the system </li></ul><ul><li>This is arguably impossible to ‘automate’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dreyfuss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collins and Kusch </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Dreyfus <ul><li>Four levels of intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Highest level – natural language translation </li></ul><ul><li>First I was afraid, I was petrified Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side But I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong I grew strong I learned how to carry on and so you’re back from outer space </li></ul><ul><li>First had I keep thinking fear I petrified I could without to apart from my side never live but I had spent thought so much nights how you made yourselves me wrongly I developed much I learned how and to continue in such a way you are from return of the special atmospheric area </li></ul><ul><li>Natural language translation requires social knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Documents are the same </li></ul>
  12. 12. Collins and Kusch <ul><li>Two types of action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mimeomorphic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reptitive – robotic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spot welding a car </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Polimorphic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rule bound BUT </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Impossible to write a recipe for </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>HSBC adverts </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Concur with Dreyfus: </li></ul><ul><li>Where social rules are involved you cannot automate </li></ul>
  13. 14. 2. What can be automated? <ul><li>We know we cannot automate a social process </li></ul><ul><li>We know the document to be a social artefact </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore we know that the document will be impoverished by automating it </li></ul>
  14. 15. Where does that leave us? <ul><li>The web as a new postal system? </li></ul><ul><li>Or way of getting content to users? </li></ul>
  15. 16. Web <ul><li>Computer has its own ‘rules of engagement’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It destroys pragmatic access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It has its own set of expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It masks the documents own rules </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Text is never ‘naked’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is always in context </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand the context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At best document rules are confused </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resulting in confused users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At worst rules are lost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resulting in lost information </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 17. Content <ul><li>Content wins out </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content uses the rules of the web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content is enriched by this environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Documents are impoverished by it </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. Quality information <ul><li>Users clear about purpose of text </li></ul><ul><li>Users able to interpret without confusion </li></ul>

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