Welcome to the Cloud of Knowing project, an open source project open to anyone to visit and to parrticipate in.
Its February 2011 - and the focus of this project has moved on from when I initially wrote the brief for the project in 2011. At its heart Cloud of Knowing came out of a dissatisfaction with how online content is being used in online research and the scope of the project is how to improve it. You can read my original brief here - for comedic value if for nothing else. At the time I was working on a transmedia project for Ridley Scott associates so the original brief bears more than a little mark of that. Since then unsurprisingly a lot has happened and there is plenty more to talk about.
The mass harvesting (or should I say scraping?) of websites has become big business - carried out using raw computing power. The signal to noise ratio has gone down - everyone acknowledges that the harvesting throws up a lot of rubbish but if we just chose better keywords.. The handcoders have arrived and started to apply similar types of analysis as offline qualitative research - interesting but of course it doesn't scale up.
Social media sites have become a main source of direct contact with (shall we call them participants instead of respondents now?.Despite some of these sites being closed to search engine spiders - a lot of blog and microblogging content IS available for scraping and analysis. So we still have the problem - is what we are collecting any good and how should we analyse it? The other main change since the project began is I believe a growing confidence in the practice of online research of all kinds - we don't feel that we have to ape offline methodologies - and this has meant doing better work. But online content still needs nailing because there is so much of it and there doesn't seem to be agreed best practice.
Cloud of Knowing is a project, a site ( a webjam which all those who join are able to edit and add content to) and a series of real world meetings - all of which have taken place in London so far. We've had 5. .All papers presented are put online on the scriptorium. Surinder Siama of Reseach Talk has filmed some of these presentations and links to these are in the Visions area.
My original end date was March 2009 (whoops). At one point I joked that we couldn't really carry on after Cloud 9. That sets an endpoint - by then we should have had more than a dozen papers and lots of cross references - we should have got somewhere by then. I originally envisaged some kind of report - now I think what matters is a body of work and discussion which can be clearly shown to have led to better practice and innovative research methods.
Here's the meetings we have had and what was presented at each
Cloud 1 Nov 19th 2009 - location PMA media training
Cloud of Knowing project intro John Griffiths
introduction to the Ridley Scott Purefold project as a model for online research John Griffiths
Web 3.0 the semantic web by Chris Arning
Cloud 2 Feb 23rd 2010 - location Brainjuicer
Demographic Replicators - Research Robots - David Bausola of Philterphactory - run at Brainjuicer this was the first sight of what later became Digividuals
Citizen journalism and the reaggregation of newspaper audiences Riva Elliot PMAmediatraining
Sneak preview Cloud of Knowing MRS paper John Griffiths - presented at the 2010 conference it was shortlisted for best presentation and won best new thinking
Cloud 3 May 13th 2010 - location Hall & Partners
Data integration for a digital research future Tom Woodnutt Hall & Partners - paper given at MRS conference - talks about how data needs to be brought together from different sources and integrated by the research agency
Cultures of collaboration Tom Ewing Cantar - paper given at MRS conference introduces the idea of currents - there is no such thing as a social media web page - each one is dynamic and personalised. whereto for analytics then?
Cloud 4 Sept 22nd 2010 - location Insites consulting
Communities of Interpretation - John Griffiths - creating analysis networks of researchers - also available as a webinar from Revelation.
Crowd sourcing analysis - Annelies Verhaeghe Insites consulting - using respondents to grade research data
Cloud 5 Feb 1st 2011 - location Face
Context and behaviours John Griffiths - should we treat online content as contextual data and behavioural traces instead?
Social context and research Mark Earls the Herdmeister - from his forthcoming book
If I was to summarise the themes where contributions would be gratefully received here's the shortlist of topics
1/ Privacy - whose data is it anyway?
2/ Tuning the analytics engines - what is the best way to get the most out of them? clue its not by adding more sites..
3/ What is the nature of online data - how should we analyse it?
4/ How to use the social context of the web - if internet users were willing to help how best to use them?
5/ What are the boundaries of research - how much should what we do stray into CRM and behavioural targeting ?
6/ How do we deliver better decision support while maintaining sound research practice?
7/ How to make internet research better than offline research - and not a pale imitation.
Any other suggestions?
Someone (was it Phil?) suggested that it would be great to add a show and tell session to our next meeting so we could get more contributions from more people.
Any questions comments or proposed contributions then mail me or give me a call. john.griffiths@paab dot biz mob 07740 125794
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