Friday, February 18, 2005

Droog Design's site has "100% hypertext®", an idea closely related to the New Testament Hyper-concordance. It's visually clean and kind of neat, and there's clearly a lot of power in doing this so consistently. At the same time, it also shows some of the problems of a simplistic approach to the problem.  For example, clicking on "designs" doesn't show all the places they talk about design, because it's a literal string match: "designs" and "design" are two different items in the index, and unless you're looking closely, you'd never know. This is a fundamental problem with most information retrieval approaches: you only know what you're getting, not what you're missing.

Also, there's no way to treat lexicalized phrases: if you want to find "art director", you have to go through all the occurences of either "art" or "director", not so bad for a small collection perhaps, but clearly problematic on a larger scale. And frankly, why would you want an index of words like "the" or "of"? Nevertheless, it does show clearly the power of links for navigation in a textual environment.


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Read Daily Pericope 12: Shepherds visit Jesus.

How significant that the first people to hear the good news of Jesus' birth were poor and simple shepherds, out in a cold field in the middle of the night, tasked with the ignoble chore of simply watching to prevent harm to their (or their employers') flocks.


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As i've said before, i'm always fascinated by the power of a good visualization to bring something complex within our cognitive grasp. I'm currently re-reading the first of Tufte's brilliant books on the subject, which i highly recommend. This tool at style.org compares word usage across various State of the Union addresses in an interesting way that provides a good high-level overview. I've already been thinking about how to do something similar with the Composite Gospel: for example, just a display of the pericopes and the amount of material (# of verses or words) from each of the sources would be interesting. Even better would be a similar kind of tool that let you see across the pericopes where different words occur, like the style.org presentation. I'd love to know more about how this was done.


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