Archive for the ‘Access Points’ Category


Monday, April 20th, 2015

@alt_text_bot automatic text descriptions of images on Twitter by Cameron Cundiff

From the post:

Twitter is an important part of public discourse. As it becomes more and more image heavy, people who are blind are left out of the conversation. That’s where Alt-Bot comes in. Alt-Bot fills the gaps in image content using an image recognition API to add text descriptions.

The inspiration for the format of the message is a tweet by @stevefaulkner, in which he adds alt text to a retweet.

If accessibility isn’t high on your radar, imagine an adaptation of the same technique that recognizes sexual images and warns managers and diplomats of possible phishing scams.

Spread the word!

I first saw this in a tweet by Steve Faulkner.

Hard-Coding Bias in Google “Algorithmic” Search Results

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Hard-Coding Bias in Google “Algorithmic” Search Results.

Not that I want to get into analysis of hard-coding or not in search results but it is an interesting lead into issues a bit closer to home.

To what extent does subject identification have built-in biases that impact user communities?

Or less abstractly, how would we go about discovering and perhaps countering such bias?

For countering the bias you can guess that I would suggest topic maps. ­čśë

The more pressing question is and one that is relevant to topic map design, is how to discover our own biases?

What seems perfectly natural to me, with a background in law, biblical studies, networking technologies, markup technologies, and now semantic technologies, may seem so to other users.

To make matters worse, how do you ask a user about information they did not find?


  1. How would you survey users to discover biases in subject identification? (3-5 pages, no citations)
  2. How would you discover what information users did not find? (3-5 pages, no citations)
  3. Class project: Design and test a survey for bias in a particular subject identification. (assuming permission from a library)

PS: There are biases in algorithms as well but we will cover those separately.

Planet Cataloging

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Planet Cataloging

Aggregation of > 60 blogs on cataloging.

Read to improve your topic mapping (and cataloging) skills.

Subject World

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Subject World (Japanese only)

Subject World is a project to visualize heterogeneous terminology, including catalogs, for use with library catalogs. Uses BSH4 subject headings (Basic Subject Headings) and NDC9 index terms (Nippon Decimal Classification) to visualize and retrieve information from the Osaka City University OPAC.

English language resources:

Subject World: A System for Visualizing OPAC (paper)

Slides with the same title (but different publication from the paper):

Subject World: A System for Visualizing OPAC (slides)

See also: Murakami Harumi Laboratory, in particular its research and publication pages.

Kilroy Was Here

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Have you ever had one of those “Kilroy Was Here” sort of moments? You think that you are exploring some new idea, only to turn the corner and there you see: “Kilroy was here” in bright bold letters? Except that most of the time for me, it doesn’t read “Kilroy was here,” but rather “Librarians were here.”

I was reading Lois Mai Chan’s Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction when I ran across the concept of access points. Or in Chan’s words, “…the ways a given item may be retrieved.” (page 9) If you broaden that out to say the “…ways a given subject may be retrieved from a topic map…” then it sounds very much like useful information for anyone who wants to build a topic map.

Librarians have spent years researching, implementing, testing and improving ways of accessing information. I think the smart money is going to be on using that knowledge and experience in building topic maps. Look for me in the periodical shelves with library journals. I will try to post short notices of anything that looks particularly interesting. Suggestions more than welcome.