Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TSI: Internet2

Two tasks I was assigned during TSI were a 20-minute presentation on Internet2, which we have been connected to for almost two years, and organizing a videoconference with the Library of Congress (LOC). I had prepared for my I2 overview in a section in our wiki. Every major topic in this wiki realistically needs a frequent update, however, we often can't get to it unless necessary. Then it's an opportunity to entirely review and update the page topic, cut out obsolete information and links, add new information and links, and organize the page better. We keep an eye out for the specific use at hand, but also try to develop information adequate for a general overview. With technology changing and evolving every week, a wiki is a good tool for constantly updating and reorganizing information.

There are hundreds or thousands of links available on the web for every conceivable computer and information based technology, especially for Web 2.0 and Social Software. I have decided it's better in our wiki to just briefly explain the technology, and link to a few major examples, than to try and develop a comprehensive "encyclopedia of links" or detailed descriptions. Too much information usually results in eyes glazing over, at best, and total inattention at worst. Thus, when we target a general wiki page to an academinc audience, we judiciously try to find a few best representative examples of the relevant technology, and simplify explanations as much as possible.

We do crucially need those handy "encyclopedias of links" but other folks, like openculture, do such a comprehensive and timely job, it would be foolish to try to duplicate their efforts.

For some wiki topics, we are migrating towards a "two-tiered" approach for presenting information explaining different technologies. The distilled concepts and examples at the top, and any further details, links and examples at lower levels. This has not yet evolved into a visually distinct layout. The beginnings of this might be in our TSI Internet2 wiki page, linked to from above. I wrote up new basic fundamentals, uploaded some images, and then copied and pasted information from the older page sections, now shown below the three horizontal ruled lines. The entire page is a bit of a mess now, but the portion above the three lines is fine, and ready for a presentation. I do have to go back and clean up underneath this. It just shows how a wiki is often a constant, never-ending work in progress!

It took me 3 hours to revise our I2 page, and prepare it, and myself, for the 20 minute presentation that was scheduled. Unfortunately, the session on copyright, preceding mine, ran over by 20 minutes, there was no time for my I2 presentation, and it could not be rescheduled. Luckily, I had already shown and demonstrated our 47"-LCD I2 Cart during the faculty's earlier tour of the DCC. I had shown our contantly streaming I2 outbound MPEG2 VBrick video stream. The source is a multi-caddy DVD player. I had demonstrated incoming MEPG2 video stream reception over I2, and easily connected our H.323 Polycom videoconferencing unit to a videoconferencing classroom at Trinity College. So, at least some of the practical applications of I2 were demonstrated, though we did not have a chance to go over its history and a more comprehensive overall view.

But, I'll be ready for next time!

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