The Future, Second Life

Robert Pries
Fri, 05 Oct 2012 07:34:13 PDT
Christian: What you say is very good but there is a dilemma. I will describe the situation that I experience so as not to make others uneasy.

 I am inept! 

I saw a need for a wiki for the American Iris Society. I had and still have ideas of what I would like to see as an end product. I am no where close to that. And in some cases I have not even a clues as to how to get there. Even trying to describe my vision to others is a challenge.

You mentioned that the first step is assembling information. This we have been doing rather well. I believe there are 70,000 names that have been used for Iris, species and cultivars and we have included 50,000. As you say it can be somewhat chaotic.

As for your second step; I have taken this information that is continually growing and created topic areas; Since this forum is not general interested in hybrids I will mention topics like the biographies of scientists (bios of Hybridizers also included) who have described Irises. In some case I have linked information to original sources so readers can discover how the author originally described the Iris. I have been creating photogalleries for topics.  There are many other topic areas (it is called the Iris Encyclopedia after all). But I am only one person and only a few of my volunteers have mastered how to work on these areas.

The third step you mention is probably true. The ultimate results have to be presented in delightful ways and to do this, automated programs would be great. What used to be the task of an editor now becomes the problem for a programmer. But often the programmers do not have a clue as to what the end-user really wants to see. I think I have some idea of what I would like to see but I often cannot see how to get there.

There are really great automated programs that have redefined communication. Facebook is an example. I started a Facebook page for AIS and it has practically killed the old e-mail list serve that I find more comfortable.

 If these programs exist for my goals for the Iris wiki, than I am unaware. If they did exist I suspect they would quickly become as valuable as the Facebook franchise. Dreams are important, they can become reality. But I have not yet discovered the automated systems you have mentioned in your third step. If they exist I would like to find out about them. My ignorance should not handicap the Iris Society. Sometimes, I am trainable.

----- Original Message -----
Dear Jane,

Ideally, an efficient information retrieval system should have a structure
with 3 layers:

   1. a bottom/background layer in which all contributions are added
   chaotically and can be available as information sources (for research
   purposes requiring details for instance)
   2. an intermediary/invisible layer structuring files from the bottom
   layer, based on information content, and connecting (1) to (3)
   3. and a top/access layer in which all information from the bottom layer
   is synthesized, made fast, easy, and clever, and includes all web-links to
   the source contents in the bottom layer.

(2) and (3) would have to be created by those in charge of content
management, and updated with any additional content placed by contributors
in (1).
It is too difficult a task for one human being, and even a strong-willed
team will not be able to be systematic with updates (or for how long ?) -
this is a job for machines.

I am not aware of information management technology for the internet, but I
am sure that software engineering has integrated statistics, linguistics,
and cognitive sciences research developments in powerful information
management and information retrieval solutions.
Maybe is it not that costly in terms of money, and could be worthy for big
structures ?

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