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Information: What am I missing?

What can we do now with information that we could not do in the past? I’ve abused Kauffman’s concept of the adjacent possible by applying it to the new opportunities, untapped potential, and levels of complexity, that arise with the development of something new. In this case, the “something new” is the ways in which new tools allow us to mess around with information. I’ve compiled a list of nine attributes or new possibilities that new technologies, especially the internet, enable. What am I missing? What can we do with information that I’ve overlooked?

Description Examples
Create, collaborate, and share Create information and easily
share it with others
Blogs, wikis, image sharing
sites, Etherpad, Open Street Maps, mobiles
Dialogue Comment and socialize around
Commenting features of most
sites, Diigo, central tools such as Disqus, Facebook Connect
Edit Change a document in context and
leave an artifact of previous changes
Aggregate Pull together information from
numerous sources into one central space or interface
gRSShoper, Google Reader
Embed Using an existing digital
resource in a new context without altering the source
YouTube, Scribd, Slideshare
Overlay and mashups Augmented reality, information
integrated with other information sources
AR browsers, mobiles, Yelp
Activity stream Track the activity of people or
information source (such as news) in a continual stream
Landing (Elgg), Twitter,
Information splicing Filter or adjust an activity
stream to serve particular information needs or contexts
Context Switcher
Analysis Apply statistical and other
analytics techniques to visualize and
understand activity, influence, networks, or other means of social and
information network activity
Google Analytics, Klout


  1. Jon K. wrote:

    I’m not sure where it fits, probably in Information Splicing or Analysis, but something about infographics should be there – representing large data sets in graphic format.

    Friday, June 3, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink
  2. nise81 wrote:

    There is nothing new about all that but it would be fascinating if we could see how we managed these activities in the old days without computers and internet.

    Your example ‘mobile’ appears very often but is not much clear, otherwise you could mention ‘computer’ as well.

    A great tool to aggregate and splice: yahoo pipes

    Overlay-example: google maps, OSM!

    Generally you could add something like remixing information. A Remix is be fare more creative then a simple overlay or aggregation of data. Examples can be seen on YouTube or soundcloud. Furthermore books have been published which turned out to be nothing more then a remix of existing works.

    Another thing that is missing are animations/simulations/interactive charts/etc. I don’t know any tool for collaborative production of animations but they play an essential role in communicating information.


    Monday, June 6, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink
  3. nise81 wrote:

    Semantic annotations like defining a category or tag could be another activity.

    Monday, June 6, 2011 at 1:55 am | Permalink
  4. Thanks for the grid of options. The ability to aggregate the growing amounts of information motivate the mash up approaches of taking existing pieces of content as modules to put into focused collections of dialogue and research.


    Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink