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Is who more important than what?

June 17, 2010

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I was struck today by the thought that in many organizations, the emphasis is on collecting, codifying and disseminating information.  Yet, we are also all overwhelmed by information.  I noticed this week, as I wanted to follow both the #mlearncon and #e2conf AND watch World Cup (cheering for the Canadian…grass!), egad then #lrncht, via Twitter, too!  I found this challenging.  There was information everywhere, but I found I was mentally filtering, to some degree based on the source’s reputation/reliability.  To me, it seemed, who was way more important than what.  How true is that for many people?  We can’t possibly track all the information that we’d like (remember the Big Question at Learning Circuits – How do you keep up).

There seems to be a growing trend to focus on the source of information as an indicator of reliability.  Add in the “Like” and rating that we see proliferating on the social media sites, and I think this is starting to seep in.  Either I was in this mode of thinking already, or these finds pushed the thinking along, but either way, I thought I’d share a couple of things with you that demonstrate this:

MindQuilt – this is in private beta, but looks compelling.  Basically it connects you with experts within your organization through dynamic FAQs.  Their tagline is Ask. Tag. Send. Answer.  I like how it can help orientation.  It has some gaming aspects to it, a leaderboard and an ability to gain points.  I can see how this would appeal to some, but there is potential for company blowhards to hijack it.  Small risk, but interesting product.

Curatr – I have been “participating” in the beta of this (participating would be a generous term – more like I signed on and then didn’t know what to do with it.  Not a fault of the product, more with me – need some content to make it interesting).  It is also based on a sort of collective curation approach – those with interest in the content will organize, rate, share the relevant pieces of media.  I think I need a really slick sample to participate in, the d-i-y approach is proving too hard for me.  You can see what it looks like and read more about it on Ben’s blog.

Darwin Awareness Engine – this is a search engine that uses chaos theory as a framework for their product.  Nothing could be more chaotic than the reams of information available online, but I don’t really understand it.  If the ratings/like options are the “zig” in this world, perhaps Darwin is the “zag”.  Here’s how they describe their product:

Using correlationmetrics based on Chaos Theory, Darwin looks for the emergence of correlated themes within chaotic content. This moves Darwin away from the voting and popularity rankings used by many information aggregators and search engines to rank information. By using correlation metrics, it does not require a known process or taxonomy to discover useful and related information. Darwin allows for the emergence that Paula discussed. You can set up ongoing filters or “attractors” to explore emerging themes in specific topics of interest or simply look at the broad picture.

Serendipitous.  I like that.

What cool new tools have you found that fit in this space?

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