The rise of collaboration

March 28, 2010

“Yochai Benkler dubs it ‘the wealth of networks.” Howard Rheingold’s term is “smart mobs.” It’s the idea of technology-enabled collaboration … and it’s making us all smarter.”

This is how TED Talks introduce their new theme “The rise of collaboration“, a great compilation of videos on the topic of collaboration and why it makes the world better. Knowledge visualization is primarily collaborative, as its aim is typically to share knowledge, take decisions in group, brainstorm or communicate actions and plans. It can be done in group work, like when you use a mind map in a meeting (what is called co-located synchronous), or remotely, like Google maps where everyone can contribute, any time.

The role of visualization in the rise of technology-enabled collaboration is threefold. Firstly, as the quantity of information on the web is rising exponentially, visualization can help to aggregate this knowledge and display an overview for an easier comprehension and navigation of the content. Secondly it can help to understand the amount of the contributions (i.e. visualizing the quantity of contributions per user). Finally it can be used to map a domain, by allowing different users to add their contributions to a common visualization template (i.e. a geographical map, a knowledge map or a visual metaphor) to create a shared picture (and understanding) of the topic…

…. the rise of collaboration visualization!

InfoVis conference 2009 in Atlantic City

October 26, 2009

This year I had the pleasure to be accepted as a presenter at the InfoVis conference, part of the VisWeek, a IEEE conference, held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I was pleased to take part to a conference with high quality papers and impeccable organization. The panels and workshops were also very good!

There was a particularly interesting workshop on Collaborative Visualization, organized by Petra Isenberg. It was mainly focus on co-located collaborative information visualization, considering the issues of multi-users interacting at the same time on shared surfaces, such as touch screens and walls (single touch and multi-touch). From my point of view the workshop was very interesting because it has addressed not only technical issues, but also the social side involved in collaboration. Secondly, it helped to spread the interest in collaborative visualization, a topic I’m very interested in, but is thus far not been explored much. The large attendance at the workshop (I suppose around 100 people, from my personal headcount) reassured and motivated me that there is rising interest in the topic.

The conference altogether was very technical, I think I have presented one of the very few papers that didn’t have an algorithm! In my talk I presented the results of my experiment on collaborative knowledge visualization (pdf, presentation, video)

However some of the workshops and panels were much more open to non-technical issues related to Info Vis.
I found very interesting also the panel on Changing the World with Visualization, where it was discussed how to diffuse the research findings to the world, such as in business, industries, education, media, etc.

Next year the conference will be in Salt Lake City, Utha (submission deadline: march 2010).

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