March 6th, 2008 by Martin

ALOE is already in Hannover at CeBIT 2008 for three days now, and it looks as if several new and interesting cooperations are possible. Let’s see what happens, I’m curious. CeBIT will last until Sunday evening, you can find ALOE at the DFKI booth (B37) in hall 9!

And for all the German speaking readers: On Friday, I will give a future talk (also in hall 9) about the ideas behind ALOE. It’s called: “Schöne neue Metadatenwelt - Experten, Computer und User Generated Content”.

Looking forward to meeting you in Hannover!

“Metadata 2.0″

February 5th, 2008 by Martin

Thanks to Erik Duval and Martin Wolpers, I have the pleasure to give a talk at the Workshop “Metadata 2.0″ in Leuven on February 7th.

The title of my presentation will be ALOE - Combining User Generated Content and Traditional Metadata. I will talk about the ideas that led to the development of ALOE, and about the (potential) benefits of combining different kinds of metadata.

Update: The slides are available at slideshare now

London calling

October 29th, 2007 by Martin

From tomorrow on, I’ll be in London for a month to work as a “visiting researcher” at the Knowledge Media Institute of the Open University UK! I’m looking very much forward to this trip, thanks again to Peter Scott and Elia Tomadaki for the invitation :-)

London Underground

I’m sure that it will be a great time - Elia and I have several ideas, amongst others we will try to use ALOE (by the way, ALOE has a blog now!) in several scenarios. There are lots of users and resources at OUUK, so this could be very exciting…

What we also plan to do is to work on approaches to connect formal metadata with data generated in “Web2.0 environments”…more about this in the following weeks, stay tuned!

EC-TEL day 1 and 2

September 19th, 2007 by Martin

The only way to blog about the things going on here is to do it during a session. Wireless is not available in my room, and outside my room, I prefer talking to others. Or just enjoying the surroundings ;-)

Anyway, Monday started with an interview between Teemu Arina and me about Web2.0 and social technologies. It was fun and I’m really curious about how it will look like - a link will follow as soon as it’s online! In the afternoon, I took part in the workshop WWWrong: What Went Wrong? What Went Right? Exchanging Experiences in Technology Enhanced Learning. It’s difficult to give a summary of the contributions and discussions - a lot of the problems are very similar to the ones we face in the area of Knowledge Management. In my opinion, the technical aspects are not the main issues, although there is still too less focus on interoperability and the ability to be adaptable to a changing environment. The main point is: We have to think about the interests of all stakeholders involved when introducing some new technology! Why should somebody use it, especially when this means changing habits? Will users have a benefit? What about the (middle) management? There are lots of cultural issues and personal interests one has to take care of. As computer scientists, we usually tend to neglect this and focus far too much on technology.
Another interesting thing to talk about is the meaning of “success” - when do we consider a project to be successful? There are many dimensions, such as attracting a significant number of users, educating people (also the ones involved in a project!), doing some basic research, building great prototypes, getting funding…and you surely can’t have all of them. It will be interesting to follow the discussions on the Wiki!


On Tuesday, Eric Ras, Martin Wolpers and me organized the 3rd LOKMOL workshop, where we had some very inspiring talks and discussions. The main question was how the use of context can bridge the gap between Knowledge Management and E-Learning. Especially: How can information about people and context be represented and used later? In my opinion, we have to be very careful about what what we are trying to formalize (e.g., competencies) and in which way we intend to exploit it. There are some things that should be left up to be interpreted by humans! Especially when it’s about defining profiles of people!


Last but not least: The poster session in the evening. Nice setting, isn’t it? The ALOE poster fitted well into the surroudings, and it looks as if there are several possibilities to integrate it into other approaches - or the other way round.

ALOE in Graz and Crete

September 3rd, 2007 by Martin

Busy times. Tomorrow I’ll fly to Graz for the I-KNOW ‘07. I’ll give a talk on Wednesday at 2pm about “Sharing Digital Resources and Metadata for Open and Flexible Knowledge Management Systems”, presenting some of the work that my colleague Rafael Schirru and me did in the last months in the ALOE project.

2007IKnow Memmel

Here’s the abstract:

This paper discusses the requirements of a framework for sharing digital resources and metadata to meet the needs of open, flexible Knowledge Management solutions. The changing nature of the Web and its users as observed in recent years clearly establishes the need for new approaches and technologies to fully exploit the potential for working with existing digital resources. Formal metadata about the resources can be combined with information created in lightweight and user-centric approaches in order to significantly enhance resource descriptions and enable more efficient access to existing knowledge. The ALOE system, currently in development at DFKI, is one such solution and it is used here as the basis for a sample realization of an appropriate framework.

On Friday, I’ll also present some of this work in the Pro-LC Workshop “Process-Oriented Learning and Knowledge Work”, with a focus on “Sharing Learning Resources and Metadata”.

And one week later, I’ll present a poster about ALOE during EC-TEL 2007 in Crete, where Martin Wolpers, Eric Ras and me will also organize LOKMOL 2007 on Tuesday, September 18th.

About serendipity

February 6th, 2007 by Martin

Trouble reading feeds with thunderbird again, so it was just serendipity(!) that I stumbled across Kathy Sierra’s great posting Add a little more random to your product. It’s dealing with a need that was also mentioned here in a recent posting: Filters drive a bigger need for randomness!

“We’re all on info overload, and filters are the best antidote [...] But all this filtering, tuning, and pruning keeps us stuck! We end up seeing only what we think we want to see ‘what we’re already familiar with’ and slashes our chances for serendipity. And that means slashing our ability to create and innovate, or even to be truly surprised and delighted.”

She gives some good examples how to add more chances for serendipity into products, services, and even lives:

  • Staff picks of the Day/Week/Month
  • Encourage other users to post “off-label” uses of the product
  • Randomly introduce things from completely unrelated domains
  • Use cards from a shuffled “idea” deck
  • Subscribe to magazines from unrelated domains
  • Find SOME means to add randomness (or pseudo-randomness) directly into your product or service

Whenever we’re trying to build adaptive systems, we should consider that

“the bright side of efficiency and focus comes with a dark side of narrow vision.”

And I will also consider this in ALOE - the first prototype should be available in the beginning of March!