Thursday, November 03, 2005

News Visualization

I was reading an article on the adoption of ODF as a document format by Massachusetts, and found this tool on the CNet news site.

The tool is a fascinating visualization tool, that creates a map of the subjects and stories that are related to this story -- a topic landscape, if you will. Bringing up the page shows the Mass story at the center, a number of other related stories around it, and also shows links to Microsoft, Novell, IBM and Sun, which are all companies that have been involved in the ODF discussion (Microsoft against, everyone else for), as well as some general topics: Standards, Government, Politics, State Government, etc.

The idea for this has been around a while -- I've seen it used before to create maps of the Linux kernel code -- but this is the first time I've seen it used to concisely describe a topic.

Given that one of the major topics of dinner the other night (with a couple other engineers) was "information overload" and what technologies can be used to help people deal with today's volume of information flow, this is a promising direction: it takes search to the next level, by describing the relations between the topic you're looking and and other relevant topics.

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