Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mashups and beyond

Mashup always reminds me of preparing baby food -- mashing up banana with rice flakes. Well in the IT world it is not much different. We can mash up software applications, media, data, and so on. We must first decide what and why before finding out how. An example of mashup in content management is found in this post and in the previous post. Using a tool such as Zemanta gives me access to related content that otherwise I would have to search and link. It is still my decision what to include.

Mashups are powerful tools to enhance processes. Lets examine the process of learning or knowledge aquisition (sounds powerful, does it not?). A graduate student is expected to cast a wide net to corral information. Often it is not done because of lack of time, motivation, etc. It is reasonable to believe that you have only scratched the surface of the knowledge strata. Since there can several strata and several sites it is possible that the student does not know what he/she does not know. Fortunately we have a way out of this dilemma. Listen to the interview on NPR with Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. His method of tracking "personal information flow" reveals the sources one normally uses. The passive tracking of information cues (what, when, and where) are used to connect to real sources. The next step is to determine where the gaps are. If one can get his/her knowledge universe to connect to other knowledge universes then there is a possibility that you can fill your knowledge gaps. It is no different building a knowledge enabled process. Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web Services (Expert's Voice in Web Development)
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