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Lab 1: Information and the Media

Info 200 A January 14, 2009

Group 3 Team Members: Paul Cheng Faizan Hasham Ryuichi James Itoi Cody Jorgensen Leo Lam Nick Marshall Scott Ragan

Information and the Media
Report Overview:
The following lab report provides specific detail into information behaviors of the group members as they explore various websites. Each explored website is commented upon based on 1) Searching behavior and 2) Mentions to the field of information. Each site is ranked from zero to ten on the following attributes: relevance, usefulness, currency, and credibility; as specified in the lab directions.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (www.seattlepi.com)
Seattlepi.com is the online counterpart to the Seattle PostIntelligencer newspaper. This news-oriented website has the equivalent focus as its newspaper. It focuses on coverage of local, national and regional news, public affairs, sports, the arts and popular culture. It also uses blogs, such as its Seattle 911 Police blog, to inform the public of the latest petty crime, or a sports blog for its 4 million visitors to discuss on the latest sporting event. Newspaper websites are constantly clustered with information so Seattlepi.com tries its best to dedicate the left half of its website to relevant news while the other half is used mainly for advertisements and ads for their other online brands. Comments on scores given: 8/10 Relevance – Seattlepi.com present most of the current major occurrences and information need, such as the latest developments in the city of Seattle to articles on coping financially with the latest economy. 8/10 Usefulness – Majority of its information on seattlepi.com inform of significant events, but there were also news articles that didn't inform much due to lack of source information or the significance 2 Lab 1: Team 3

of the event in relation to the Seattle population wasn't valuable such as a report of vehicle accident in Alaska. 9/10 Currency – There were couple news articles that I could not locate on seattlepi.com but did at seattletimes.com. I also considered the fact that not all news viewed on the newspaper can be found online because of the probable chance the story was provided by a news service or features syndicate, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer does not have the permission to post it online. However usually the main articles are written by P-I staffs therefore are allowed to be posted on the website. 9/10 Credibility – All of the materials on seattlepi.com are staffwritten excluding some blogs. Their staff reports directly from the source materials. In the case of inaccuracy in their contributions, readers can contact the reporter via email or telephone for questioning. However, occasionally it would show news from a secondary source. Content Credit: Leo Lam

CNET (www.cnet.com)
CNET is an online news site concentrating on general technology and covers a wide variety of technological information from businessoriented to personal-based technology. Interestingly CNET also provides blogging and forums sorted by categories. Navigation based on tab interface on top, flash animation (also navigation) for graphical appeal at the homepage. The well-organized layout for ease in navigating through the site like… Alphabetically sorted categories Popular topics Main/Current stories Tab links Highlights the area where the user is viewing the information (what section of the site)

8/10 Relevance - The scope of information (general technology) in CNET is significantly wide but they do a good job organizing and presenting the information in a manner that is fairly user-friendly. The only deterrence was the plethora of advertisements being displayed on 3 Lab 1: Team 3

each page. 9/10 Usefulness – The variety and how in-depth the information covered by CNET and those information are useful to people who knows what they are looking for. Terminology used in sections seems to indicate that the users need to know some topic related words in order to retrieve full extent of the information that is being presented. 10/10 Currency – Topics that has been covered on the site seems to be current as well as there are archives of older news. Usually articles are about current issues in technology and/or preview and review of technology. 10/10 Credibility – The articles are done but columnist who sites credible people (Microsoft VP and such) concerning specific topics. Blogs and forums seems to be populated, indicating that the credibility is supported by that by the amount of support from the general users that used the website. The spread of content of information is significant. Since information is such an essential part of our lives and it has a variety. Also those information needs to cater to the specific needs of the user therefore has a big scope. (diversity in user needs = large scope) Content Credit: Ryuichi James Itoi

Popular Science (www.popsci.com)
Popsci.com is the online version of the Popular Science magazine. This publication focuses on upcoming technology and how it will affect the user base. Popsci covers everything from new gadgets or upgrades, such as an upcoming camcorder with 70x zoom, to new military technology. The website uses a combination of a large title, a subtitle summary, a short clip of the story, and a picture to give the reader a good summary of what the article is about. The stories can also be sorted in numerous ways, such as by the user rating or number of views. 6/10 Relevance: The information presented on the site is mostly relevant to today’s culture, but it isn’t necessary information. Most of the articles are about future technology, not of utmost importance, which lowers its relevance score. 6/10 Usefulness: As with the relevance score, the usefulness follows. The articles mainly cover upcoming technology, so it isn’t that useful at the present, but can still help readers prepare or research the 4 Lab 1: Team 3

future of the developments and products. 10/10 Currency: The information on the site is ahead of the curve, and is always about the present and future. Rarely will current articles on the site be out of date, which earns a high rating in currency. 9/10 Credibility: The credibility rating for Popular Science is very high. The writers go to the source for the large majority of their stories, often discussing the topic with the developers or researchers working on the project being reported. It would be difficult to find an article from the site that was not from a primary or secondary source. Mentions of the information field: Article about how the media reports diseases and the public’s lack of information on the subject: http://www.popsci.com/science-culture/article/2008-11/media-bug Article about Obama’s Blackberry and the availability of its information to others: http://www.popsci.com/gear-amp-gadgets/article/200901/obama-keep-crackberry Information on the web is very spread out nowadays. Because anyone can put anything up on the web, information is everywhere. It is not limited to scholarly sources or medical databases, but has spread to community project sites and personal pages. Although information has become more widely available, some has become more compact and accessible on databases such as WebMD or Wikipedia. Content Credit: Nick Marshall

Wired (www.wired.com)
Wired.com is the Internet aspect of Wired magazine. A connection to the magazine is clear when browsing the site, but the two information sources are capable of standing on their own and either can be used without the other. The website, like the magazine, focuses on current events in software, science, and technology as well as the culture and news of all things related. The site is professionally managed and kept up to date with the latest information as well as an extensive back log of previous articles. 6/10 Relevance - Wired's Relevance is difficult to identify, there is a very broad range of subject matter, from the latest geek terms to the newest research into global warming. While the site does a good job of letting the user narrow into the desired topic range, there is a little 5 Lab 1: Team 3

time spent digging through the site to find relevant data. 6/10 Usefulness - Wired could be useful if a specific article was needed, or background info was desired about a specific topic that the user knew was covered somewhere on the site. For casual use Wired.com is heavy on non-essential extras, which certainly increase the entertainment value, but would slow down a serious researcher. 10/10 Currency - Wired is updated very regularly, and both the site and magazine are very quick to apologize and make corrections when data is incorrect or out of date. Studies are cited regularly and as stated above, mistakes are corrected and identified quickly by the staff. 10/10 Credibility - Significant mentions or related to information field: Wired.com definitely focuses more on the technical side of Information Technology, but the news articles are often examples of real world uses (and misuses) of both information and technology. Significant articles: Five Things Google Could Do For Newspapers http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/01/five-things-goo.html Interface Controlled by Hand Gestures http://www.wired.com/video/latestvideos/latest/1815816633/conceptual-interface-is-controlledbyhand-gestures/6750621001 Ziv Koren - shows how he combines still photographs and video to create a new photographic language for the Internet. http://www.wired.com/video/security 7 Content Credit: Scott Ragan

Digg (www.digg.com)
One of the sites that we used was Digg.com. It was used because it is a prominent social bookmarking site that focuses on tech information. Registered users of the site submit the latest tech stories and other members, “dig” the story if it’s credible - otherwise it is “buried.” In this way, only useful and credible stories make it to the main page, while the other less relevant stories get displayed further down on the list - or not at all. Scale of 1-10 on each topics (1 = low, 6 Lab 1: Team 3

10 = high) Relevance Usefulness Currency 10 8 10 Credibility 7 10/10 Relevance 8/10 Usefulness 10/10 Currency 7/10 Credibility

Digg.com has multiple technology related text throughout the site. They have text in navigation bars, titles of stories on the main page as well as on the top ten, and throughout the body of the website. Below is a quick snapshot of references of technology on Digg.com when we were browsing the site.

Mention “Technology” “History of the Internet” “Breaking News from CES: Windows 7 Public Beta Released: “One month of email spam”

Where it’s found Top navigation bar Submitted story Top 10 Stories Section

Topic N/A New technolog ies New technolog ies Statistics

Importan ce 5/10 5/10

8/10

Submitted story

6/10

Seattle Times (www.seattletimes.com)
The Seattle Times, www.seattletimes.com , is a news-oriented website. The web site focuses on current news in the nation and around the world. It has all kinds of categories at the top of the page. User can easily look for what they want base on their needs. The main page of the site lists us the most important news they have for the current date. News are updating hourly. The Updates are shows in red at the right side of the site. There’s a Business/ Tech section which gives us the information of technologies other the counties based on several companies, and personal technologies. The user can also link to the blog of each reporters of the site. Such as Brier Dudley’s Blog, he offers us the critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest 7 Lab 1: Team 3

in his blog. http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/ 9/10 Relevance: The articles given from this site is pretty relevance comparing to the others we reviewed. The Seattle times is more concentrated on today’s information where others focus on both future, today and past of the information/ tech. And base on the fact that they are updating the site in any minutes. It scores high in the relevance field. 8/10 Usefulness: It has a large range of information we can browse. People can easily look at the article that interests them in each of the category. And users can also subscribes to their favor reports, just to browse their blogs and articles. The only concern for the site is that, there aren’t that many information about the newest technologies. Users might need to move to other sites for more of that information. 10/10 Currency: The information on the site is updating hourly. In each of the categories, it’s hardly to find outdated information or not updating situation. 8/10 Credibility: Stories / information are most of the time posted immediately they received it. It is usually the overlook of the stories at top when the time they first upload the articles to the web. But they do often updating their news and articles up to dated based on the information they received. And user can always make comments to each article. Content Credit: Paul Chen

Compilation Chart with General Site Comments
From the rankings gathered by the researching group, we’ve constructed this table for an easy comparison of the different web sites to one another. It is interesting to note that currency is almost 10/10 across all sites, which can be directly related to the condition that the sites reviewed were all “news oriented”. This leads to an interesting hypothesis: browsing searching is possibly only easiest when trying to find current events; through the news sources, pure browsing (no 8 Lab 1: Team 3

searching) leads you quickly to recent articles but would almost assuredly be extremely inefficient if you were to attempt to look up a topic without knowing much more detailed information about the publication.

Seattle PI CNET Popular Science Wired Digg Seattle Times

Relevan Usefulne Currenc Credibil ce ss y ity 8 8 9 9 8 9 10 10 6 6 10 9 6 6 8 8 10 10 10 10 9 10 7 8

Closing thoughts on the general nature of the sites reviewed:
Informatics content are widespread on the Web mainly due to the ever increasing amount of internet users. Those who understand informatics can spread their knowledge to those who do not thus creates a widespread involvement. Politics, business, personal, commercial and scholarly. I feel as though the main theme is that information and it’s presentation need to be efficient for all aspects of the society to be functioning. Content about Informatics topics on the web is pretty well spread out these days. This is because more and more people are getting involved in the technology industry and sharing knowledge. The best way to share knowledge to a wide amount of people is via the Internet. 9 Lab 1: Team 3

Normalization of Documents, Preparation of Document, and Cumulative Chart: Cody Jorgensen

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