watching history

the web of today uses semantic tags to underscore relationships and make searching easier. topical relationships – while fundamental – may miss some of the subtler relationships, such as those that only appear over time. what if the history of information could be part of its tag, and what kind of understanding could this bring about? the clip above is a timelapse of the wikipedia page about the virginia tech shootings in the first 12 hours, a kind of visualization of the page’s history. on a lighter note, hayes raffle and dan maynes-aminzade’s fuzzmail records the act of typing as part of an email. in both cases we witness the making of something more than its end result. these projects integrate many instances of data into a visualization of activity over time, and they need to be seen dynamically to be understood. wouldn’t it be cool if more of the information we digested could be seen like this, loading from the past to the present at the same time as from top to bottom?

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 19, 2007 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Have you read Slaughter House Five? In the book, there is an alien race, called Tralfamadorians, who experiences reality in four dimensions and tries to teach it to the main character, a POW during the bombing of Dresden trying to deal with death.

    And the links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughter_House_Five
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tralfamadorians