About “Interaction with Information II: Annotation and Reflection”

This week on HCC three different lectures where assigned for reading and analyzing. After going thru all of them, here is presented a summary and analysis of the content on them:

Toward an ecology of hypertext annotation:

This is an interesting publication about how hypertext evolves and grow during time thanks to comments, annotations and other interactions that the reader has with the content. Is not strange to find a text book that has been marked or modified by the users that previously owned and decided to make the content richer by modifying what was written before. The author made a point mentioning that, for experienced students, textbooks that contains annotations from previous students are more valuable than those who doesn’t. After that, the author proceeds to explain an experiment performed with students trying to find patterns that are present on the ways comments and annotations are performed. The results are pretty interesting and, again, proves that annotations and comments are something common and useful.

Also is important to mention that it has a pretty good explanation of the diversity that annotations have. Something as common as a note on the side of a book is not as simple as we could think, there are a lot of implications behind it.

Two-Dimensional Spatial Positioning as a Means for Reflection in Design

As an initial argument, this paper states that the current computational systems oriented to support the process of design are not supporting it well, specially on the first stages of design. To sustain this, the author argues that the design process is based on what he calls “talk back” between the designer and the object being designed and that every single stroke done on a paper has multiple meanings that can not being reflected at all by current systems. Starting on this point, the author then jump to the process of writing, mentioning that writing a document also involves design and that current text editors, while useful, are also not supporting the process of designing a text as they should. As a response to these issues, a software to support writing design is presented. Based on 2D space positioning this new software pretends to help editing texts by spiting it into pieces and allowing to modify them as pieces of a puzzle.

The idea of using a text editor on these way sounds really interesting, and the software has been released for public use so it probably worth the try.

Promoting Reflection and Interpretation in Education: Curating Rich Bookmarks as Information Composition

Being a little harder to read and understand that the first two papers, this paper also talks about another way information is processed by humans, now introducing the concept of curation, defined as: the process of searching the Internet and digital repositories, collecting information, organizing that and organizing information in meaningful ways, and interpreting that information to form new understanding. According to the author, encouraging focus on curating on students could improve the learning. The paper presents some experiments performed on students while using a new tool designed to encourage the process of curating in a creative ways while studying. According to their results the tool works well and students actually showed to learn different things while doing it, even when most of them mentioned that the tool was not completely comfortable. However, they make a point by arguing that making relationships between concepts can lead to a better understanding of the knowledge that is learned.

What can I get from these papers?

Probably it looks like these papers have no relationship between them, but the truth is that they certainly present one of many different ways the information is processed by humans. Comments help to understand, remember and share knowledge about the information that was presented, also that is the same way many social networks work nowadays. Designing is something common that many people perform everyday and the use of space as a tool also proves that the brain can use anything as an aid to perform a task, in other words, this paper showed how the 2D space could be used to create a mapping that helped to design text, prove that the brain can take help of any mapping that it can generate. Finally, information is linked to different information. Following those links help to learn more about the information we are concerned about, something that should be considered any time people want to learn.

Everything sounds awesome now, but, why should I care about it? Well… The final goal of HCC is to create systems that are focused in the interaction with humans. In order to create anything oriented in humans first is required too understand how they interact with things. In these case, is important to understand how information interacts with them, how is processed and witch are the best ways to approach to them with information systems.

Nahum Villanueva Luna