Web Work


Stephen E. Arnold said to the Computers in Libraries' audience of more than 1,000 information professionals:

"Opportunities for trained information professionals have never been greater. The keen interest in data mining, intelligent agents, and visualization is not likely to decrease in the next 12 to 24 months."


The purpose of this 45-minute presentation was to provide information professional with a glimpse of the important new technologies becoming widely available in the first quarter of 1999. In addition, the talk took provided the audience with a glimpse of three increasingly important suites of technologies that will be widely deployed by the middle of 2000.

There is no manuscript of the presentation. In response to the many requests for the links of the Web sites shown during the presentation, Arnold Information Technologies is able to provide an annotated list of the sites included in the talk. For more information about how Arnold Information Technologies can assist any organization with its information systems planning, contact us at sa@arnoldit.com.

The speech began with a list of five "hot" technologies. These are described in the table below. The Web sites listed in the table are the ones shown during the presentation.

The five must-explore technologies in March 1999 are:

1-XML—the next-generation HTML. For a demonstration of an XML graphic, check out
the Web 3D site, formerly vrml.org.
1-Continued  To see how XML creates an interactive data space, play with the virtual magnetic signs for a digital refrigerator.
2-Linux is a significant operating systems for many libraries with online services There are many excellent Linux sources, check out the graphic Gnome interface.
3-Niche portals are of increasing importance. Libraries with special collections can create a list of sharply focused links.  There are hundreds of highly specialized portals. The one used in the talk is the little known but useful set of links to financial information for U.K. companies called Financewise.
4-Imaginative interfaces are opening up a new world of interaction with text, data, sound, images, and video. Check out the very interesting work from Plumb Design, one of many firms pushing the interface envelope.
5-Image indexing. The online world no longer means text. Rich data is the future. Some interesting developments are coming from Excalibur Technologies. Explore the demonstrations.

The audience next learned about three suites of technologies. This was a rapid tour of some very interesting Web "application suites." These are summarized in the table below:

Agents Three sites were highlighted for the audience:
Net Perceptions, the "preference agent"
InGenius Technologies, the change monitoring engine
The Australian Articial Intelligence Institute's smart system
Clustering and Routing Two sites were demonstrated:
Inference's Find
Retrieval Technologies Inc. "First Page" service
Visualization Tools that take large domains of text and display an "image" of the data are becoming increasingly important. A digital video of the Textwise Know It technology capped the section. To find out more about this leading-edge tchnology visit the Textwise Web site. Other technologies demonstrated were Cartia's themescape "terrrain mapping," the i2 (U.K.) multi-object visualization technology, and the virtual reality, three dimensional "Wedge" system from Australian National University.

What's the outlook?

To be direct, absolutely great for people who are excited about the new tools and the applications the tools allow us to create. The only inhibitor is cost. As the price of hardware and software drops, the types technologies discussed in this presentation will diffuse rapidly through the marketplace. The Year 2000 is an auspicious one for information professionals.

To find out how my firm can help your organization integrate these and other technologies, contact me at sa@arnoldit.com.

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