2009/01/14

aggregating information in a timeline

Some time ago (can't seem to remember when), I've created an account in swurl. I was forgotten of that trial until I've received a warning by Google about a citation of B2OB. Went back to revisited that digital space and got surprised by my timeline containing different feeds, from different spaces I have out there. Unfortunately, having my research place (infotransitions)(*)  restricted means the feed can not be incorporated in swurl. Another thing that bugs me is that I can not incorporate feeds from my digital libraries (LibraryThing and CiteUlike). Nothing is perfect, even free stuff ;-)

It's amazing how the same bits of information gain such a different perspective through time, when seen in terms of aggregation from different places. «Seeing» is something we have to craft also. In research as I guess with many other activities, is very important, because what we develop can not be seen most of the time.

Sure there are formal places and events where we have to prove our accomplishments (milestones), and to produce products (papers, dissertations, thesis, presentations, communications, reports, etc), but sometimes it can be very frustrating to understand what one as been doing the rest (or the majority) of the time.

I wonder if my advisor as the perception of this information flow? Does he have that perception on the rest of his students? Would he benefit to implement such a timeline to follow students progress? Do others students also use digital spaces to make progress available to advisers? Do advisers feel the need to follow students progresses? What else do they use or need?... 

Anyway, for me this kind of integration is very useful for research (and reminding myself) cause it allows me to context information in time from different sources:
  • data collection (situating dispositions for detecting data collection biases, weighting context of collection, leave trails for information ties to other studies/ readings/ reflections/ etc.)
  • reflections (information environment, questions that remain to answer or that where forgotten, writing reflections unveil trails and relate to other reflections,....)
  • readings (how readings in time affect and are affected by research phase)
  • milestones (It's amazing the number of activities that underline these moments, specially regarding information behaviours... and so easily detected in the timeline)
  • wish lists - books, gadgets, tools, events... and all the things we wish we could have to accomplish our goals/ task/ work/ etc.
  • opinions (things that make us trigger and add other possible views on subjects, coming from different people, with so different world views that help me to think differently about my research subject)
  • life (since we can not separate our research from our lives)
  • Other uses: this can include Department where students are developing the research, detection of students phases, networking, ...
What else could I be using that would give better results?

(*) «transição de espaços informacionais» was the starting point of my PhD research as it emerged during my master's research work. Like a personal notebook, this space is restricted so I can mess around with my thoughts without the fear of misleading passing by strangers or concerns about my (lousy) writing skills.

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