TWAM! TWOT! Here comes the Tweet SPAM and Twitter Bots!

19 06 2011

As someone who uses a number of social media tools, I like Twitter’s ability to send automated posts when I have published a blog or updated my delicious library. But I sometimes wonder if my followers in Twitter actually want me to share this information, or whether my posts are Twitter spam (TWAM).  So I started to wonder where is the line on automating tweets and actually participating in the twittersphere? The other question that came to mind was what qualifies as TWAM or Twitter bots (TWOT) and what is savvy networking between Web 2.0 platforms?

There are three types of activity which could be described as TWAM. These are:

  1. Integrated tweets with Blogs and other Web 2.0 tools (Facebook, Delicious, Linkedin)
  2. Automated tweets with tools like Hootsuite and Tweetspinner
  3. Direct messaged and @username sales information from people you follow

1.) Using the ability to network Web 2.0 tools can be a very effective way of sharing information. However, in some instances, it can be annoying to your readers. For example, linking your Tweets to your Facebook account is not really useful for your Facebook friends as they are not participating in the conversation on Twitter. The exception is when you are linking to news and re-tweeting information that would interest your Facebook audience. The worst use of this function is when people reply to other tweets and this comes up as a Facebook status – as your Facebook audience would have no clue about the context of the conversation.

2.) In short, my opinion on the use of automated scheduled tweet tools like Tweetspinner and Hootsuite is that it is a poor way of engaging your audience. Many companies and government campaigns have used this sort of functionality to share information, but many have missed the mark. For example, to tweet when someone has uploaded a video to a Youtube channel is useless in itself, unless there is some information about the artist, title, theme, etc.

3.) The third activity is undeniably TWAM, as spammers are using Twitter as a tool by replying to your @username, which then causes the Tweets to show up in your timeline. When you are direct messaged the same way, then it is a bit more complicated – technically it is not TWAM, as only people you follow can message you directly. Simple solution for the direct messaging – unfollow! As for the unwanted @username tweets – report this as spam to Twitter.

Twitter provides the following definition of spam and how to manage it:

What is Spam?

Here are some common tactics that spam accounts often use:

  • Posting harmful links (including links to phishing or malware sites)
  • Aggressive following behavior (mass following and mass un-following for attention)
  • Abusing the @reply or @mention function to post unwanted messages to users
  • Creating multiple accounts (either manually or using automated tools)
  • Spamming trending topics to try to grab attention
  • Repeatedly posting duplicate updates
  • Posting links with unrelated tweets

How Do I Report Spam?
If you think you’ve found a spam profile, follow these steps to report it to us:

  1. Visit the Spam account’s profile
  2. Click the person icon. This brings up a drop-down Actions menu (see image below)
  3. Click on “Report @username for spam”

The use of Twitter as a means to create an interconnected social footprint is one of the tools strengths. And why not use it? Social media networking tools are meant to be networked.

John Woodman provides this analysis on what isn’t TWAM:

What Twitter spam is not. Twitter spam is not those twitter accounts that constantly plug a product, business opportunity or some kind of sales pitch that fills up your Twitter feed. Why isn’t this spam, because you’ve opted to follow them. You’ve given the permission to see what they have to offer. The rub is that many marketers will start their accounts out looking like just another Joe on Twitter, but then as soon as they get enough followers they (sic) account morphs into a full on marketer. So who you thought you were following turned into be something else.

Although a useful tool for improving website traffic and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), the limitation of using Twitter as a form of publicity is the life of the tweet, as it is lost in the conversation. Given that the life of a retweet is an hour there is only a small window of opportunity to get your information out there. That said, sometimes tweets do go viral like this animation shows:

This video shows a sample visualization of 1.2 billion tweets with their retweets and replies over time. The spiral represents the time axis. Each blue dot is a tweet, with the size of the blue dot representing the number of retweets and replies to that tweet. Each green line shows a retweet to the original tweet and each orange line shows @reply to the original tweet.

Retweeting social media activity and other tweets are a couple of ways of participating in the conversation, but to be really effective tweets need to respond to other voices in the community. There is a balance between information sharing and TWAM and it really depends on your followers and the subjects they are interested in.

If you are using social networking between platforms to share research interests and publishing Twitter has rules and best practice for automating tweets

Other posts on TWAM:

Gov 2.0 Conference – Some thoughts

5 11 2010

The recent Gov 2.0 conference in Canberra was a great demonstration of the momentum that is continuing to build around social media and access to open government data.

These moves have not come over night, over the course of many years there has been a strong movement towards applying the principles of the W3C and the vision of the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee. In short, his vision is about a Web for everyone and by everyone­—accessible, usable and a space of equity. Berners-Lee’s creation was fueled by a highly personal vision of the Web as a powerful force for social change and individual creativity. See Weaving the Web (1999) if you are interested in his philosophical take on the web.

The reality is that although open source, free ware developers, artists and citizen journalists have been actively sharing, talking, forming communities and mixing online content for nearly two decades, government has been slow to come to the table. Issues of copyright, protection of information and IT security are all seen as potential barriers for government agencies to join the conversation.

The community online has also changed exponentially. For example, research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics about Internet Activity cited that 3.8 million Internet subscribers registered in Australia at the end of the September quarter 2000, and by June 2010 this had increased to 9.6 million. Also, the way we access the internet has changed – with wireless and mobile access now almost on par with broadband access. See Internet Activity, Australia, Jun 2010 for more information.

These videos from YouTube is a good example of the growth of social media

What this conference has demonstrated is that there is a significant risk to not taking action, as government will be left behind and not seen as credible, approachable or responsive to citizens concerns. Sadly to say, in many areas of government there is active resistance to the principles of Gov2.0 because of an unwillingness to acknowledge that the issues are not about technology but about effective engagement and fostering behaviour change. But on the positive side there is some very engaged use of social media and open data that demonstrates a willingness to ‘go to where the conversation is’.

Aside from the recommendations set forth in the Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0 report put out by the Gov 2.0 Taskforce and the Declaration of Open Government, there are also significant moves in the sharing of government data. Peter Alexander from AGIMO discussed a range of initiatives, which are all on the AGIMO Blog as well as the use of Creative Commons Licences (see the Qld Government Information Licencing Framework).

The range of talks was excellent and to have senior public servants supporting moves towards Gov2.0  is very encouraging – thanks especially to Mia Garlick, Andrew Stott, Andrew Mills, Patrick McCormack and Peter Alexander.

In conclusion, there are still many challenges to educate people in decision making positions about the benefits of social media and open data. Perhaps the wrong people were in the room as there was a sense of ‘preaching to the converted’.  The tweet stream reflected this sentiment with one tweet referring to the lack of support as CRAP – Chronic Risk Averse Paranoia, which I thought was hilarious. That said, what I took away from the conference was some potential solutions and strategies that may be effective in terms of building support for more open and engaged approaches to communications and information sharing.

Gov 2.0 2010 Conference themes included:

  • Update on where the government will take Gov 2.0
  • Promoting innovation
  • Using a crowd sourced community of peers to assist decision making
  • Implementing a business communication strategy that includes Gov 2.0
  • Demonstrating net outcomes and benefits
  • Upskilling your team in social media
  • Utilising open and closed online forums, blogs, twitter and e-newsletters
  • Managing engagement within the twitter sphere
  • Maximising the time of limited resources

Check out:

Blogging under the radar

7 10 2010

There has been a lot of discussion online about bloggers in the political and media space, particularly if they are public servants or are considered ‘non-professionals’.

But what is also lurking (pardon the pun) is how social media enthusiasts share information and link to each other. There is an etiquette (or more precisely netiquette) involved that is about acknowledging your sources and validating your position. In a blog, an active link is considered a reference. It is not like an academic assertion that needs to be referenced in order to sustain an argument. It is much simpler than that – it is simply an expression of respect.

By taking the time to link to the information and people that you are discussing, you create a picture for your reader that has value and credibility. What is more, the author appreciates it! I am certainly appreciative of the efforts that other bloggers and tweeps take when referencing my posts or creative works. I am less impressed when people cut and paste from my blog into their own posts (even if it is a list of links) without acknowledgment.

I guess this is because I actually want people to read my blog and to follow the thread of the discussion. After all, even though my blog is a hobby, it still takes time and I invest a lot of effort in ensuring that other websites, blogs and tweeps are referenced. This is primarily because I greatly value the opinions and work of people who are active in the space of social media, semantic web and information management. Whether they write as themselves or under a pseudonym doesn’t really matter to me, what I am interested in is the ideas, opinions and the flow-on conversations that are generated.

Personally speaking, I make no attempts to fly under the radar and put a disclaimer on my blog to clearly state that the opinions expressed are exclusively my own. Fortunately for me, my employer and research institution endorse me to participate in this arena, in my capacity as a media researcher and creative practicioner, which takes a great deal of pressure off.

What I hope for, along with respect for each other in the blogosphere, is that there will be increased acceptance of an author’s right to choose how they write and as who. I also hope that there will be an acknowledgment that diversity of opinion is healthy, whether you are a professional journalist, public servant, media critic or just have a point of view.

For more information see #groggate and Craig Thomler’s blog post When traditional media exposes public service bloggers

Report: Life of Information Symposium

27 09 2010

I arrived at the Life of Information Symposium (#lois2010) at ANU somewhat fatigued from the previous days attendance at media140.

Fortunately, I did not feel this way for long. Thanks to Dr Paul Arthur, et al, this event was very well organised, with the timing of presentations and discussions very tight and subject matter kept on topic.

A broad range of very interesting online dictionaries, encyclopedias and collections were discussed including Atlas of Living Australia, Austlit: The Australian Literature Resource, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Medical Pioneers Index, Defining Moments, Dictionary of Sydney, Black Loyalists, Encyclopedia of Australian Science, Gallipoli: The First Day, Founders and Survivors, Invisible Australians, Mapping Our Anzacs, Obituaries Australia, People Australia and Trove

The speakers included Stephen Due, Janet McCalman, Sandra Silcot, Len Smith, Zoë D’Arcy, Cassandra Pybus, Katherine Bode, Donald Hobern, Kerry Taylor, Basil Dewhurst, Ian Johnson, Ross Coleman, Emma Grahame, Steven Hayes,  Stewart Wallace and Tim Sherratt.

My primary interest in this event was to learn more about the technical applications used in the digital humanities as this is a current research interest, particularly data visualisations of semantic web data. So for me the most interesting presentations were by Cassandra Pybus (Black Loyalists), Ian Johnson (Heurist Scholar), Tim Sherratt (Invisible Australians) see his presentation on Slideshare and the team from Dictionary of Sydney – Ross Coleman, Emma Grahame, Steven Hayes and Stewart Wallace. These projects were discussed on a range of levels including content, context and technical tools used for production and management of data.

I could not help comparing media140 and lois2010 even though these events were so different in terms of outlook. What was evident for me as a connection point was the use of the Internet as a communications channel. The major difference at media140, there was a focus on a small number of tools i.e. Twitter and Facebook, whereas at lois2010 many of the projects used custom built, open source and free tools. I guess researchers lead and the rest follow.

The other big difference was the use of social media during the symposium – at #media140 over 2000 tweets were transmitted as opposed to the 50 or so at #lois2010. In fact at one point, I tweeted that I was a lonely voice. Quite a different scenario to the day before.

In summary, I think that the digital humanities is building momentum and starting to really analyse the way in which its subject matter is managed and disseminated. There are still many challenges, including how to manage divergent ontologies and develop tools that have archival value. One of the most interesting questions came from a cultural studies researcher about how dissenting narratives could be portrayed and how other voices could be included in some of the biographical projects. For me this is a crucial issue and one that crowd sourcing can assist with as the audience should be able to include their voice to the narrative.

The other question in my mind is about the audience and their capacity to utilise the tools effectively, which comes back to my accessibility and usability hobby horses. What I would like to see next is a symposium that focuses on the functionality and usability of tools rather than the subject matter as this is currently a gap in my skill set, which I am trying to overcome as quickly as possible.

I look forward to seeing some of the presentations on Slideshare, and I will update this post with the links when they become available.

Project list


During the Friday Forum Gavan McCarthy mentioned this report on contextual information frameworks:

Not navel gazing at #media140

27 09 2010

The recent media140 event in Canberra on 23 September 2010, titled ‘How is the real-time web transforming politics?’ was definitely worth going to, even if it was lacking in some areas. What I was hoping for was some commentary round issues of social inclusion, especially how social media tools have changed communication in the broader community and how viral media makes an impact on the ground. I was especially interested in how community has used these tools to raise awareness about political issues.

My interest in this event was two-fold. Firstly, it was a fact finding mission for my work at – to see what tools are being used and how effective they are in terms of communicating to our target audiences. Secondly, as my PhD project focused on the relationship between online and offline space, activism and community, I wanted to see if connections were made between who and where and what.

Julie Posetti @julie_posetti was one of the key organisers and she did a fantastic job at bringing together a diverse range of commentators, journalists, politicians and activists that are operating in the social media space. I use the term social media loosely as it may be better described in regards to this event as ‘tweeting for the election’.

One of the key elements of this event was the projection of the live twitter feed on two screens either side of the podium. This was an interesting, albeit at times disrupting voice that distracted the audience from the speaker/s, often with humorous results. I found this was a wonderful way of demonstrating the power of two way communications as the recipient of the information/message had the capacity to talk back.

Rather than offering a summary of the event in its entirety, I have opted to comment of each of the sessions separately to provide more detail.

Keynote 1 – US Ambassador Bleich @USAembassyinOZ – Lessons from Obama’s Campaign

Ambassador Bleich’s opening keynote address explored the success of the Obama campaign in regard to the use of social media.  One of the most interesting and relevant points made in this presentation was the relationship between the use of the web and the resulting actions on the ground. The other significant point made was that there is no difference between communications online to offline – that you need to have substance to the message and clearly communicate the issues – there is no ‘magic pudding’.

Obama’s role was central to the campaign strategy and because of the lack of funds he needed to think creatively to get his message out there. In short, Obama needed his name everywhere and trust his supporters – believing that people will behave in similar ways whether online or offline.

Some of the challenges included how to deal with the ‘end of the season’, when the work has been done and the sense of personal connection is lost. Also, people online feel like they have a closer connection and there is a difficulty in managing the volumes of emails, etc. Also, the political space of campaigning is different to that of governing – as a campaigner you represent your supporters and once in government you speak for the entire nation.

My personal take of the Obama campaign is that it seems to have modeled itself on many of the early net-activist strategies used in the late 1990s early 2000, where activists would share information online and then go out in the community and raise awareness of issues. The media campaign for Obama benefited from the fact that the media tools have improved and many lessons have been learnt from those early days.

Panel 1: How are real time and social media platforms changing political communications: Malcolm Turnbull @Turnbullmalcolm, Christine Milne @SenatorMilne, Possum @pollytics, Latika Bourke @latikambourke, Samantha Maiden @samathamaiden

This panel had a range of views which all saw how social media has influenced political communications in different ways. Some of the main points of the discussion included was Possum’s observation that Australia political parties have not really engaged with new media and there is an inherent challenge to engage new audiences – i.e. preaching to the converted. Latika Bourke commented that many politicians pay lip service to the media, using twitter as a channel to publish media releases rather than actually engaging in two way discussions.

The highlight of this panel was the almost heated discussion of the National Broadband Network (NBN) between Malcolm Turnball and Possum. This discussion unfortunately was nipped in the bud, which was a shame as access is a key issue to the debate on social media.

Interview with Rob Oakshott MP @oakeymp: The Role of Social Media in the New Political #Paradigm

Julie Posetti interview with Rob Oakshott looked at a range of topics, including the tweet backlash of his now famous 17 minute election deciding speech. In short, Oakshott wanted to explain it was a considered process hence it taking so long. He also talked about the mobile app he has that tracks his movements via Google maps at On a number of occasions he questioned the media’s appetite to play the man and not the ball and hoped that more consideration would be made in this area as it detracts from the political issues at stake.

Oakshott also expressed a concern about the ‘fifo’ approach to journalism (fly in-fly out) as it fails to adequately report on community issues.

Keynote 2 – Senator Kate Lundy @katelundy

It is no secret that Kate Lundy is an advocate and supporter of social media and technology. I first saw Lundy speak at a Girl Geek dinner where I also gave a presentation about Dorkbot CBR. In her talk she mentioned how Australians have a history of taking up technology early and that 72% of households have the Internet. Lundy discussed the importance of the NBN in providing access to more Australians and pointed out that it was not just regional and rural areas that miss out in regard to broadband access, citing the Canberra region of Gungahlin as an example. In addition, she emphasised that the NBN debate should be kept separate to the Internet filter debate. Personally, I think there does seem to be an ideological disparity between providing access and then restricting same.

Panel 2: The changing role of traditional political news gatekeepers in the age of the real time web: Peter Martin @1petermartin, Karen Middleton @karenmmiddleton, Lyndal Curtis @lyndalcurtis, James Massola @jamesmassola, Bernard Keane @BernardKeane

The question of the journalist being ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘curators’ of political news on the web was the topic of this panel, which I found to be an inwardly focused discussion on how traditional media can keep control of the news, well, that is how I understood it.

For me, this panel demonstrated that many mainstream journalists are still grappling with this reality that they do not ‘own’ the news and that citizens are commenting and reporting themselves on how they see the news. The most interesting part of the panel was the live twitter feed at #media140, where many in the audience were commenting that the discussion was ‘navel gazing’ and at the end expressing frustration at the panel going over time. In short, the related media theory was not broached, and I tweeted to remind myself of Axel Brun’s text Gatewatching, which has been around since 2003.

Keynote 3 Simon Sheikh, GetUp! @simongetup – Activist Media Models

This presentation from GetUp!’s Simon Sheik started with a video clip of some of the campaigns that the organisation has supported since it started in 2005.

Sheik talked about how politicians and mainstream media has difficulty in understanding who Getup! is and explained that everyone who gets involved is GetUp! He mentioned Senator Abetz’s ongoing criticism of GetUP! as a front for The Labor and Green parties. See GetUp! – A New Kind of Astroturfing

There were a few tweets about how GetUp! raises funds, but for my money the approach is successful for the same reasons that the Obama campaign worked. That if you can build an audience who supports your cause, you will also build capacity on the ground. He used that case of David Hicks as one example of how GetUp! influenced public opinion and political change. The other more recent examples were the successful GetUp! court cases where they took the AEC to the court, challenging electoral laws that prevented voters from enrolling online and the case where the High Court ruled Howard government changes that closed the electoral rolls on the day writs were issued were unconstitutional.

Panel 3: Spin on speed: Controlling the message in the real time web era: Moderator: Alex Sloan @666Canberra, Jo Scard @scardjo, David Hood @davidahood, Jeremy Irvine @jeremy_irvine and Jodee Rich @wingdude

Although there were some interesting observations in this panel there were only a couple of stand out comments for me. David Hood touched on the issue of social inclusion and getting the message heard. Jodee Rich commented that politicians don’t need to be tweeting and broadcasting in the social media space but they need to be actively listening – “running a social media campaign is about listening”.

Keynote 4 Claire Wardle @cward1e – The UK Social Media Election 2010

This was probably the most entertaining of the keynote presentations, which focused on the recent UK election. Dr Claire Wardle impressed the audience with her sense of humour and excellent use of a powerpoint presentation (did I say that!). The presentation titled The UK election and Social Media was made available on Slideshare – which is always useful for referencing.

It would appear that the political parties in the UK all used social media in a way that was responsive to each other and to the community and looks by all means a much more lively and engaged election campaign than Australia’s recent election.

Dr Wardle was able to reengage the audience that according to tweet feeds was becoming ‘snarky’, perhaps as a result of too much discussion that was internalised and circular – media talking about media talking about media.

Some highlights of this presentation included discussions about:

  • the Slapometer (the UK’s version of the worm)
  • #nickcleggsfault – a twitter feed where people blame everything on Nick cleggs
  • Bigotgate – when Gordon Brown complained that a constituent was a bigot and didn’t realise he still had his microphone on

Dr Wardle also talked about the importance of humour and the impact that it has on people because it is an emotional response. Also that we needed to “stop thinking about online and offline as two separate things because they compliment each other”. Check out the Slideshare presentation for more examples.

Panel 4: Alternative views of political news: Peter Brent @mumbletwits, First Dog on the Moon @firstdogonmoon, Mike Bowers @mpbowers, Malcolm Farnsworth @mfarnsworthand Julian Morrow @moreoj

This was an interesting panel in terms of the mix of personalities and roles – from cartoonist to political blogger to comedian to photographer and researcher. Covered a range of issues from the use of ABC footage to the role of satire in politics. Also talked about something that was earlier referred to as the Anne Frank effect, where people are blogging and tweeting in their cupboards as events happen. At this point I was reminded of Salam Pax’s famous 2003 blog Where is Raed? At the time Pax’s blog received a lot of critical attention from people in the blogosphere because of the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces. He has since moved the blog and retitled it Salam Pax: the Baghdad Blogger

Panel 5: GOV 2.0: Participatory Democracy and Citizen Engagement: Moderator: Chris Winter (ABC Innovation), Dr Jason Wilson (CONF) @jason_a_w, Stephen Collins @trib, Craig Thomler @craigthomler, Senator Scott Ludlam @SenatorLudlam

This was the panel I was most interested in seeing and I think it would have benefited from being scheduled earlier in the day, as the issues that came up in this panel needed to addressed far earlier, in my opinion.

Social inclusion, the recognition that social media is much bigger than Facebook and Twitter, the aspirations of Gov 2.0 and the engagement of community were all themes in this session.

Well known Gov 2.0 blogger Craig Thomler announced at the outset that he was a public servant and that he was at the event as a private citizen – a point that needs to be stated, given that as an APS officer he is bound by a code of conduct.

Personally there was not enough about how open government and Gov 2.0 can be invigorated from the inside out, which is a big challenge and one recognised in the Gov 2.0 Taskforce report. Nonetheless, there was some very sharp observations made about the media and other panel discussions. For example, Dr Jason Wilson referred to earlier comments made by panellists about political blogger Grogs’s Gamut and his apparent anonymity. He asked “Who is Grog’s Gamut?!”. In response a handful of people stood up and announced “I’m Grog’s Gamut!” “No, I’m Grog’s Gamut!”. It was a response that had been organised in advance by a some friends (including Wilson) as a bit of a joke because throughout the day the name “Grog’s Gamut” had been mentioned a few times – to the point where Osman Faruqi was tweeting that he had been having a drink every time it was mentioned and that he was pretty well on his ear. From Grog’s Gamut.


It is interesting to note that several days after the media140 conference, there has been renewed discussions on who has a right to comment on politics in the media. Craig Thomler wrote that: Today Grog, of the Grog’s Gamut blog, has been outed by James Massola of The Australian as Greg Jericho, a federal public servant who happens to blog on matters of politics. (27 September 2010)

The fact that James Massola, who appeared on a panel at media140 chose to ‘out’ Greg Jericho and question whether Jericho had a right to challenge political views in the media, highlights that mainstream media is struggling with the concept of citizen journalism.

In summary, if we are going to move towards Gov 2.0, open government and truly social media, then some crucial steps need to be made. Firstly, there need to be a realisation  from government and the media that public servants are citizens and as such are therefore entitled to comment on information in the public domain. Secondly, any type of discussion of social media needs to address issues of social inclusion and access to media. Thirdly, to address the issue of access there needs to be a redressing of the digital divide, another topic only touched on at media140. Finally, there needs to be a fundamental notion of  trust in the community by media and government so that information can effectively be distributed and shared.

Fave #media140 tweets This is a very small collection of some of the tweets that I liked from the event – if you are interested in reading the feed go to #media140

Read the ABC Canberra at Media140 blog for a transcript of the presentations.

09-10-2010 or 10-09-2010 or 2010-09-10

10 09 2010

I get so confused sometimes about the dates on  documents because of the different date formats – mainly because in Australia we tend to use DD/MM/YY, whereas in the US the standard is MM/DD/YY. Some years ago I came across the use of the  Internet Date Format ISO 8601 and thought it would useful to start to use this format as the standard for the date. There is some good information about this issue on the International Date Format Campaign website.

My mission now is to get all of my social media and web content updated to reflect this format – no small task. 😉

THATCamp CBR – Open linked data session

1 09 2010

The main focus on this session was the access and use of PSI (Public Sector Information). Asa LeTourneau, from the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) led this discussion.

This discussion focused on a range of issues including, developing APIs, data scaping from websites, and making data available and different institutions that have made their data available in different formats.

In many ways, this discussion ended up being more about the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ and I was hoping for more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ on a technical level. That said, I did learn that it is important to write good XML and to have strong URIs 🙂

The session proposal on the THATCamp blog read:

Web2.0 has taken hold at PROV and we are now trying to figure out ways to take our existing data and publish it in a usable form on a regular and automatic basis. The specific tasks we have in mind are:

  • how to extract data into xml format
  • design a tool that can harvest xml on a regular basis automatically
  • identify what is an archival standard xml and why and what are its elements
  • how to match our xml elements to the archival standard xml elements and describe why the matching has occurred
  • design a tool that can publish xml on a regular basis automatically
  • Currently users access the collection here. One day, with your help, they may be able to access it

Here are a number of examples of institutions offering data and some of the methods and tools being used:

  • one of the main methods of acquiring open data is by the use of a screen scraper and then put data into xml schema
  • PROV are scraping own website
  • Access the PROV collection
  • People Australia have an API – Basil D (People Australia) is interested in people who want to use apis
  • Powerhouse made available data in csv format
  • Gov 2.0 innovation plan
  • Open Calais?
  • Machine tagging and crowdsourcing as a community activity
  • LORE – anna gerber uq
  • Design and art australia online – users make corrections to data
  • gate systems
  • Xpath
  • OpenSearch, please consider JSON output – it makes web UIs easier/faster
  • metadata conference – analysis of comments from dutch archives – sigfried??
  • open annotation project
  • Koori records unit – wiki – prov
  • community project in western district – wanting to develop sensitive system where rights of access is respected – who can see what because of cultural appropriateness
  • Who am I project – ARC linkage project

There was a general comment that Australian government archives ahead of the game because of the ‘series system’ developed in the 1960s. This is a great opportunity for access and visualisation of open data on a global scale. There was also comments that there had been some very good work in this area in New Zealand.

THATCamp CBR – Digital mapping session

1 09 2010

BootCamp: Putting the Digital Humanities in its place … what, why and how to map
Presented by Ian Johnson.

This session was an excellent practical introduction into digital mapping. Ian provided some very good information about the basics of GIS (Geographic Information System) and the types of tools and databases used to generate visualisations that intersected data with mapping.

To begin with, the group was taken through an overview of GIS, which I found particularly helpful as I have not had any formal training in this area and have a great interest in learning skills in mapping and GIS.

The presentation then focused on a number of projects that have used GIS technologies, for example: Macquarie map of Indigenous Australia 2007; South Seas Project; Digital Harlem 1915 – 1930 and Dictionary of Sydney.

Ian then provided a list of tools that are used for developing these projects – most significantly Time Maps and Heurist.

I am looking forward to learning much more about digital mapping and building technical skills with some of the tools mentioned in the blog post.

Some dot points about  – digital mapping tools and technologies:

  • AusStage mapping service
  • what is spatial data? Vector – points lines, polygons – objects recorded with coordinates. Raster – aerial photos, satellite images, airborn scanner images, historical maps and plans.
  • Formats – CSV
  • shapefile – (old formats .shp .dbf .shx =ESRI)
  • KML (.kml, .kmx = Google Earth)
  • Databases – Access, MySql, ostgres, Oracle
  • TIF, GeoTiff = Remore sensed data
  • JPEG2000, MrSID, Zoomify = Tled images doesn’t need a image server
  • Projections, Datums, Coordinates – datum: point of reference and model of the earth; projecton: method of flattening earth on map; no such thing as a ‘correct’ projection, grid reference system (cartesian)
  • Lat and Long – GPS – uses WGS84 lat-long, no projection

Some projects worth mentioning:

  • Macquarie map of Indigenous Australia 2007
  • georeferencing – way of matching data
  • street address referencing
  • Geographical names register
  • Geonames
  • georeferencing 2 – usually raster arc gis
  • google earth and overlaying maps over time
  • PHALMS Parramatta Heritage Archeological Landscape Management Study
  • Digitising (Heurist)
  • South Seas Project
  • Digital Harlem 1915 – 1930
  • Dictionary of Sydney
  • CHGIS (Harvard, Griffith, Fudan, Russian Academy of Science)
  • A vision of Britain over time
  • Sydney Harbour landfill
  • BioMap – biofuel research in Europe
  • simile timeline MIT
  • Angkot fly through – real map with data vis laid on top

Some tools:

  • Field collection – i-pad looks very promising 3g model
  • smart phones – embedded GeoTags in images
  • FieldHelper Vsn 2 – GPS/camera mapping
  • abc innovation – using google earth and timeline
  • Sydney TimeMap – ARC SPIRT Grant (2000 – 2002)
  • TimeMap – useful tool – mobile version in development
  • Heurist Vsn 3

Bastard Culture. User participation and the extension of cultural industries

6 12 2008

Bastard Culture. User participation and the extension of cultural industries

The computer and particularly the Internet have been represented as
enabling technologies, turning consumers into users and users into
producers. The unfolding online cultural production by users has been
framed enthusiastically as participatory culture. But while many studies
of user activities and the use of the Internet tend to romanticize
emerging media practices, Mirko Tobias Schäfer steps beyond the usual
framework and analyzes user participation in the context of accompanying
popular and scholarly discourse, as well as the material aspects of
design, and their relation to the practices of design and appropriation.
Schäfer argues that participatory culture is rather a dynamic
interaction of users and companies, discourses and technologies. The
availability of computers and Internet expand the traditional culture
industry into the domain of users, who actively participate in cultural
production, either by appropriating products from the commercial domain
or by creating their owns. But while user activities constitute a
significant loss of control for certain sectors of traditional media
industries, especially in the area of distribution, the larger culture
industry benefits from user driven innovation through the appropriation
of corporate design. Furthermore, the media industry undergoes a shift
from creating content to providing platforms for user driven social
interactions and user-generated content. In this extended culture
industry participation unfolds not only in the cocreation of media
content and software-based products, but also in the development and
defense of distinctive media practices that represent a sociopolitical
understanding of new technologies. + MindMap

2 02 2008

This is cool! It has been around for a while, but as I am new to Freemind this is a novelty. Delicious Mind puts your bookmarks into a mind map format.