Thursday, June 2, 2011

Custom-shaped tag clouds with Tagxedo

Just read about this site called on which lets you create tagclouds based on URLs or Social Network Ids like Twitter. The concept is similar to Wordle but you can choose to present your tag cloud in various different shapes like flowers whales or even Abraham Lincoln. It seems to be possible to uplaod your own tags although I did not try these feature. What I like the most is that you can still upload your own pictures (until the service is out of beta) to create your custom shapes. I had trouble finding a picture where you could see what the form is. Here is the Tagxedo gallery which shows what is possible with the right template.

Tag cloud of this blog in a standard shape created with Tagxedo

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1st International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2011


The European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL) has been the leading European scientific forum on digital libraries for 14 years. For the 15th year the conference was renamed into:
International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries

The conference will continue to bring together researchers, developers, content providers and users in the field of digital libraries. TPDL 2011 is organised by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Berlin School of Library and Information Science, the Computer and Media Services and the Department of Computer Science).

Over the last years, Digital Libraries have taken over a central role in our society. The process of acquiring, creating, processing, retrieving, disseminating, and using knowledge, information, data and metadata has undergone and still continues to undergo significant changes. This includes an ever increasing public access to on-line resources, an evolution in the amount and diversity of resources that are available through this channel, a social shift in the paradigm of how to experience information towards interactive, globally collaborative and personalized approaches, and many more.
In this spirit, TPDL 2011 aims at providing a forum for researchers, developers, content providers and practitioners for presenting and discussing novel results from innovative research and systems development on Digital Libraries.

Authors are invited to submit research papers describing original, unpublished research that is not (and will not be) simultaneously under consideration for publication elsewhere.

TPDL 2011 solicits the submission of full (12 pages max.) and short (8 pages max.) research papers. General areas of interests include, but are not limited to, the following topics, organized in four areas:
Foundations: Technology and Methodologies
- Digital libraries: architectures and infrastructures
- Metadata standards and protocols in digital library systems
- Interoperability in digital libraries, data and information integration
- Distributed and collaborative information spaces
- Systems, algorithms, and models for digital preservation
- Personalization in digital libraries
- Information access: retrieval and browsing
- Information organization
- Information visualization
- Multimedia information management and retrieval
- Multilinguality in digital libraries
- Knowledge organization and ontologies in digital libraries

Digital Humanities
- Digital libraries in cultural heritage
- Computational linguistics: text mining and retrieval
- Organizational aspects of digital preservation
- Information policy and legal aspects (e.g., copyright laws)
- Social networks and networked information
- Human factors in networked information
- Scholarly primitives

Research Data
- Architectures for large-scale data management (e.g., Grids, Clouds)
- Cyberinfrastructures: architectures, operation and evolution
- Collaborative information environments
- Data mining and extraction of structure from networked information
- Scientific data curation
- Metadata for scientific data, data provenance
- Services and workflows for scientific data
- Data and knowledge management in virtual organizations

Applications and User Experience
- Multi-national digital library federations (e.g., Europeana)
- Digital Libraries in eGovernment, elearning, eHealth, eScience, ePublishing
- Semantic Web and Linked Data
- User studies for and evaluation of digital library systems and applications
- Personal information management and personal digital libraries
- Enterprise-scale knowledge and information management
- User behaviour and modelling
- User mobility and context awareness in information access
- User interfaces for digital libraries

All research papers must be written in English and follow the formatting guidelines of Springer's Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS).
Research papers must be up to 12 pages of length for long papers, up to 8 pages for short papers, and must be submitted via the conference submission system. All papers will be reviewed by at least 3 members of the programme committee. Paper acceptance can be as long paper, short paper or poster.
The size of the poster should not exceed ISO A0 (portrait) size - maximum height of 1189mm (46.81 inches) and maximum width of 841mm (33.11 inches).
The proceedings will be published as a volume of Springer's Lecture Notes on Computer Science (LNCS) series.
All papers need to be submitted via the EasyChair conference submission system:

CALL FOR DEMOS 1st International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2011

Demos provide researchers with an opportunity to present their work in an informal and interactive manner, and obtain direct feedback about their work from a wide audience.
Demos showcase innovative digital libraries technology and applications, ranging from research prototypes to operational systems, allowing you to share your work directly with your colleagues in a high-visibility setting.

We invite the submission of demos on all topics mentioned in the Call for Research Papers.

- Demo submissions consist of a 4-page paper, which must be formatted according to Springer's LNCS guidelines, and submitted via the conference submission system.
- Accepted demos will be allocated up to 4 pages for the written paper in the TPDL 2011 proceedings. The proceedings will be published as a volume of Springer's Lecture Notes on Computer Science (LNCS) series.
- Accepted demos will be presented at a plenary poster and demo session during the TPDL 2011 conference.
- For demos, authors will be required to bring laptop computers or other appropriate equipment, as no equipment will be provided.

All abstracts for demos need to be submitted via the EasyChair conference submission system:


Continuing a tradition, the TPDL 2011 Doctoral Consortium (DC) serves as a forum for PhD students to share ideas about the development and use of Digital Libraries, compare approaches, discuss future research problems and receive feedback from the international Digital Library community. The Doctoral Consortium aims to:

- provide PhD students with a friendly and lively atmosphere for presenting their research ideas, exchange experiences with peers, and receive constructive feedback on their work from the international research community;
- help students and doctoral candidates formulate research questions and organise their research;
- help forge new relationships and collaborations within the International Digital Library community, promoting collaborative research; and
- support a new generation of researchers with information and advice on academic, research, industrial, and non-traditional career paths.

The TPDL 2011 DC invites PhD students whose doctoral research is related to digital libraries and at a stage of progress where feedback from the international community might be of value, to submit extended abstracts of up to 10 pages describing their work. It is expected that students who submit extended abstracts, will have finished the first part of their research (one-two years of their studies) and be still in the middle of their research work.

A panel of prominent researchers participating in the TPDL Programme Committee will conduct the workshop. They will review all the submissions and comment on the content of the work as well as on the presentation. Students will have 20 minutes to present their research, focusing on the main theme of their thesis, what they have achieved so far and how they plan to continue their work. Another 20 minutes are reserved for discussion and feedback from the panel of reviewers. The Doctoral Consortium will take place on a single full day. Up to 12 students will have the opportunity to participate.

Submissions should be related to one or more of the conference themes as stated in the Call for Papers. Moreover, they should be presented in a way that demonstrates the link to the chosen conferences theme(s), and they should contain:

- a clear formulation of the research topic and research hypotheses;
- an outline of the significant problems in the field and their current solutions;
- a description of the proposed approach and its expected contributions;
- a discussion of preliminary results; and
- an evaluation (-plan) of the research.

All papers must be written in English and follow Springer's LNCS guidelines. Please send your submission directly by email to the doctoral consortium chair Milena Dobreva ( Abstracts of the papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

Abstract submission deadline (full and short papers): March 21, 2011
Research paper submission: March 28, 2011 (midnight HAST, GMT -10hrs)
Demo submission: March 28, 2011
Doctoral consortium submission: March 28, 2011
Notification of acceptance (research paper, poster, demo, doctoral consortium): May 23, 2011

Workshop proposal submission: February 14, 2011
Tutorial proposal submission: February 14, 2011
Panel proposal submission: February 14, 2011
Notification of acceptance (workshop, tutorial, panel): March 14, 2011

Submission of final version (research paper, abstract for poster, demo, workshop, tutorial, panel and doctoral consortium): June 6, 2011

All information can also be found on the website:

Conference Officers
General Chair:
Stefan Gradmann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Programme Co-Chairs:
Carlo Meghini, ISTI-CNR, Italy
Heiko Schuldt, University of Basel, Switzerland

Programme Committee

TPDL 2011 - International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries
(formerly known as ECDL)
Main conference: September 26-28, 2011
Tutorials, Workshops: September 25, 29, 2011
Venue: Erwin Schrödinger-Zentrum Adlershof, Berlin, Germany
Conference Website:

Friday, September 17, 2010

User Behavior Change with Difficult Queries

Google Research Blog just posted an interesting article about a Google research paper which is dealing with behavior change by users facing unsuccessful searches. (Aula et al.: How does Search Behavior Change as Search Becomes More Difficult?) The authors presented this work at this year's CHI (ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems).

The researchers carried out two experiments. The first one was a lab study with 23 participants. Based on this study they formulated hypothesis which they tested in an online study. One of the findings from the first study they wanted to test was whether users facing difficulties in search task would use more natural language type queries and advanced operators. The larger data set allowed them to specify their hypothesis. Other interesting findings is that in unsuccessful tasks users spent a longer time on the result page.

In addition, the paper has a very thorough literature review regarding user behavior (frustration and success) in retrieval systems. It also touches average query length in different search settings.
Overall very interesting read with a lot of references to dive deeper into the subject.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Metaweb acquired by Google

Google announced yesterday that it acquired Metaweb. Metaweb Technologies build an open database which collects information about entities. The goal is to overcome the weaknesses of simple keywords while searching. As keywords are very ambiguous, an entity for a concept (person, thing, place) is created which substitute keywords concerning this entity and information linked to this entity. This sounds for me like the ambitious efforts of librarians to disambiguate the language and organize the world's information by creating thesauri and classifications. Taking this to the online world is very impressive and much more powerful. It also reminds me of what I had in mind how the semantic web could look in practice (it is possible to download and view entities in RDF).
For now, you cannot sign up immediately but browsing through Freebase which contains 12 million entities and their connections gives you an idea how powerful this collection can be. I tried a couple of search terms from the cultural heritage section and was amazed by the huge amount of liked information. One section offers spelling variants of entities across several languages. But have a look for yourself and try mozart or madonna.

To learn more you can watch this very nice video of Metaweb.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Koninklijke Bibliotheek partners with Google

Another European national library, Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, will work in partnership with Google to digitize over 160,000 of its public domain books. The scans will not only be made available via Google Book Search but also on the library's website and much more important on This is now the third library in Europe which agreed to a partnership with Google and also enabled Europeana to integrate the metadata of the scanned books coming out of this alliance.
It will be interesting to see how this news will spread as it was posted simultaneously on three google blogs, including the Official Google Blog.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hans Rosling on TED

Hans Rosling is professor for international health and already talked a couple of times at TED impressing with an entertaining way of visualizing data. The underlying software is called Trendalyzer (parts of it available via API) and was acquired by Google in 2007.
Here is now his new video, where he talks about population growth and the connection with raising living standards. To present his ideas he uses analogue animation in the form of IKEA boxes. Again a very convincing and entertaining presentation.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pictures of the oil spill

One of the TED's conference photographers, James Duncan Davidson, is reporting on the Golf of Mexico oil spill. Shot from a plane, the pictures show the degree of pollution which is very shocking.

More pictures can be seen on the TED blog and the photo set on Flickr.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Launch of Google Scholar Blog

Google launched its new Google Scholar Blog. For now, they published one post about Google Scholar Alerts which gives you the possibility to get email updates about queries and new publications of your collegues found by Google Scholar .

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Austrian National Library becomes Google Book Search partner

Today, Google announced on its European Public Policy Blog that it came to an agreement with the Austrian National Library to digitize 400.000 books from the library's collections. Therefore, the Austrian National Library is one of ten libraries in Europe which have partner agreements with Google.

The fact that Google mentions and links to Europeana, saying that it supports these activities, is very interesting. Even more encouraging is that Google wants to make these digitized books available for inclusion into Europeana. Europeana also posts this on its blog.

The Austrian National Library writes about this deal on its website (in German) that Google will pay for the digitization and the National Library will be responsible for access and storage of the digitized content.

I really hope that this partnership is the beginning of more agreements which use the strengths of both sides. Google having the resources to scan large amount of books and libraries having the knowledge to make them accessible and ensuring long term access to these documents.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


A friend of mine gave me a book of Bansky art for my birthday and I just love what he is doing. Here is one picture. More stuff and many photos of his street art can be found on his official website.