Posts Tagged ‘ Google ’

Finding the best way to query news items

The XSLT code for the site is done! Now I am focusing more on different ways the user can search for different news items. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been looking at using a multi-level JavaScript drop-down menu, a search box or a combination of the two.

An attempt to present all the countries and cities that appear in the scraped RSS XML makes for a drop-down or scroll-down menu that is way too long to be practical. Also, instead of using a menu for sorting stories by format (text, video, audio, et. al.) I’d rather use the simple icon key explained in that same post. Thus, menus for my project are a no go for now.

Another minor issue I’d like to work out is how to present overlapping file types. For example, I want to be able to present the link to a story that has text with an embedded video as having video and text. So far I’m thinking of using another so-called “code scraper” such as HtmlCleaner, which turns HTML code into plain text. Continue reading

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Similar site using Google Maps API

It just occurred to me that the presentation I explained in my previous post can be seen in another news aggregation site. News Facet uses the Google Maps API and meta-data obtained by OpenCalais to display stories by overlapping categories on a world map. News Facet’s uses color-coded transparencies for its story locations more for aesthetic rather than the functional reasons I outlined as a possibility for Parallactic Drift.

News Facet’s project also differs from mine since the developers of the site opted to display the most recent stories, only going back as far as 30 hours. With Parallactic Drift, I want to bring focus to even older stories, since access those stories can only grow over time and a well-constructed and well-presented XML framework that groups these stories by different relevance factors will promote their accessibility to online users.

Still, News Facet has a sharp and organized design that takes advantage of many different free APIs available online. I encourage anybody who wants a better idea of what I want this project to look like to check out NewsFacet.com.

Semantic relevance and news web archives

Last semester I contributed to a report for my Applied Research in Content Management class wherein each student identified a problem and a solution with TheNewsHouse.com, a student-run news site. For my section in the report The NewsHouse Optimization (Fall 2009), I focused on the importance of interlinking news items by relevance rather than chronology, offing it as a solution for drawing readers further into the site’s content.

TheNewsHouse, which runs on a Drupal CMS, uses many tools to interlink stories such as related tags and bylines. When clicked on, however, the site ranks stories that match these tags or keywords by date published rather than strict relevance. Individual stories also do not contain links to news items with similar information but instead to similar bylines, and non-bouncing visitors tend to concentrate within these byline-linked stories according to TheNewsHouse’s analytics.

To ensure the maximum potential viewing of their content, news sites such as TheNewsHouse.com must conform to what users have come to expect. As I mentioned in my previous post, Google and other powerful search engines now retrieve news and information that is more and more relevant to the user’s particular interest. To cater to these particular interests, the news site’s management must optimize the linking of stories by associating news items to other news items that are as semantically relevant as possible. Continue reading

The death of chronology — the rise of relevance

This my rationale behind Parallactic Drift. It is excerpted from an essay I wrote for my New Media Business class last semester:

Most print publications and other traditional media organize their information by chronology, by dates of publication. When these publications were merely print and broadcast, this model made sense since no one other than researchers and journalists would access this information in libraries or morgues (where a publication keeps old, cataloged print issues).

Today, chronology no longer dictates what events and news coverage matters most. In his essay “Death of the Story,” (found within The Future of Journalism) BBC Radio 4 Editor Kevin Marsh articulates this point in respect to how news stories were traditionally constructed. “The web is enabling our former audiences to come to their news in their ways at their times,” Marsh says. As information of world events become more freely available to consumers online, web users have decentralized print publications’ system of deadlines and publication time have, and with it the fixed news cycle to which many traditional news sources still adhere. Continue reading