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What happens when connected as ‘like-minds’ six or seven such individuals ‘collaborate’ to perform some atrocity?

Fig.1. Dr. No.

Society online is a society on speed and at speed – it might reflect society but in the Alice in Wonderland World Wide Web everything is faster, connectable and so warped in a way that transcends human scales of time, distance and decency. One sick, warped, isolated individual seeking out the pollution of the web to feed their fantasy and make it real, like Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in 2011 was, if you profile the population, 1 in 10 million.

What happens when connected as ‘like-minds’ six or seven such individuals ‘collaborate’ to perform some atrocity?

What indeed does the web afford ‘networked’ terrorist idealists such as AL Qaeda? Attending a seminar on cyber crime at the Oxford Internet Institute last year it was revealing and shocking to learn of the ‘game of catch-up’ played between the criminals hacking bank accounts and the banks trying to keep them secure. The head of internet security from Barclays painted a picture that would make the scriptwriters of a James Bond movie go googled-eyed in amazement. Then, far from society creating the Web, the web world infects us ‘on the other side’ with paranoia and so CHANGES behaviour, gets AHEAD of society.

It has happened to me more than once – in the early days of blogging back in 2002 I was ‘flamed’ viciously (malicious hate in comments and a breach into my blog that had this person editing my content and filling it with bile). I had this stopped and attempts were made to trace the character but for a period I was convinced that any vehicle pulling up along our street outside our house was ‘him’ … and then this summer I put webcams around the house when we went away from a few weeks and only after the first week did I relax when I noticed that a brick hadn’t come through the window and we hadn’t been burgled or the house burned down.

(I write this while reflecting on the words of Professor Susan Halford in the Week 3 introductory video on cyber crime that forms part of the University of Southampton‘s Future Learn offering ‘Web Science‘). 

‘The Web is part of society and is shaped by society. And until the web is a crime-free zone, the Web won’t be a crime-free zone’.   (Halford, S 2013. Page 1 of the transcript. University of Southampton)


The Silk Road

Webber, C. and Yip, M. (2012), ‘Drifting on and off-line: Humanising the cyber criminal’, in S. Winlow and R. Atkinson (Eds.), New Directions in Deviancy: Proceedings from the York Deviancy Conference, London: Routledge, pp. 191-205


Factors that led to the creation of the Web


A neurobiologist would argue that all manifestations of human inventiveness stem from our ability to think in metaphors and therefore to be able to see beyond our current reality. The authors and thinkers who have imagined and tried to create a library of everything, an index of everything, a microfiche or computer of evrything are many: H G Wells and Douglas Adam, Vanevar Bush, Thomas Bodley …. Regarding the issue of the origins or history of the Web’s inception it is a complex and massive human story, indeed, like the roots of a growing tree as a mirror to what is going on above the ground, it has the potential to fill many volumes and to occupy many minds. Perspective is everything – education, culture, personal experience, personality and academic discipline – each would offer a different perspective. Pressing on with a biological metaphor perhaps like the origins of life on earth we can nonetheless start from a specific moment – the equivalent of those first cells that began to split and evolve?

Web Sciences – faster, rich, responsive, shared …

Life happened at the opening of the MOOC on Web Sciences from the University of Southampton (SOTON)  – the imminent arrival of a great-grand child is announced while two in their late 80s make their departures, one with little warning, the other with a reluctant move to hospital.

Born in 1928 or to be born in 2014 …

Keen as I am on ancestry I try to reflect on what has and is changing.

How great in truth is or will be the impact on how we live, love and die? Of course the frenetic, massive Web impacts on the neuronal activity in individual brains feeding us with knowledge, news, information and misinformation like never before, but how much does it change the intimacy of a family, of childhood and education, of working and falling in love, of starting a family of your own (or not) and beyond?

The Web, like a strange digital mist now surrounds us – but in the Darwinian sense does it change anything at all?

Words of a distraught young woman from the Philippines coming out of the recent typhoon smack you in your digital face when she starts with ‘no Internet, not smart phone, no food, no water, no roof on our heads, no medicine … ‘ We will surely reflect on that fact that for all the opportunities the Web it is exclusive and fickle.

Yet it is the speed and ease by which this information is disseminated that changes things. I remember the Japanese Typhoon that I watched on multiple TV channels calling to my son who was watching the same online directly from people’s smart phones.

The new arrival mentioned above was posted on Facebook, the ‘departure’ was a call to a mobile phone. Both will feature online to welcome to the world or to reflect on a long life and commiserate.

How do you cater for every kind of user under the sun?

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From the expert to the novice, from the professors of computer science and information technology who are undoubtedly here, or the newcomer to the Web, let alone to learning online and all that entails. I have little doubt that this MOOC on Web Science will show the extraordinary diversity of people and ways we engage and understand, or misunderstand, and have to ask questions, or look for answers elsewhere, that will undoubtedly get shared and commented upon here.  

I’m impressed with the platform – for someone who has been blogging since 1999 and did his first open and distance learning module in 2001 this has the look and feel of all the best things I’ve come across. How to cater for everyone? How to avoid being a broadcast aimed at everyone and reaching no one? Does the Soton team have one or more ‘personas’ in mind? Or do we acknowledge that how our individual brains process and engage with the information creates the opportunity to engage?

Time to write

Fig.1 H809 EMA Mindmap (for fellow H809 / MA ODErs I’ve added a PDF version in the TMA Forum) Created using Simpleminds.

  • H809 – Practice-based research in e-learning
  • MA ODE – Masters in Open and Distance Education
  • TMA – Tutor Marked Assignment
  • PDF – PDF

Yonks ago I realised for me the best time to study was v.early in the morning. 4.00 am to breakfast isn’t unusual, 5.00 am is more typical. All it costs is an early night. This is easy too – no television. Its move from the shed to the dump is imminent.

A week ahead of schedule I find I have an EMA to complete – this’ll give me a three hour, exam like run of it. Even the dog knows not to bother me.

For those on the same path the mindmap of my H809 EMA is above.

Ask if you’re interested in a legible PDF version.

This gorse bush off density has patterns within it that I can decipher. The net result ought to come out somewhere around the 4,000 word mark too. This approach could not be more different to my earliest TMAs and EMAs three years ago – they were too often the product of what I call ‘jazz writing’ (this kind of thing), just tapping away to see where it takes you. This process used to start on scrolls of backing wallpaper taped to my bedroom wall. Now it goes onto a whiteboard first.

As always this blog is an e-portfolio: most notes, moments in student forums and references are in here.

I recommend using a blog platform in this way. You can default to ‘private’, or share with the OU community … or ‘anyone in the world’. One simple addition to this would be a ‘share with your module cohort’.

By now I have clicked through some 165 posts taggeed H809 and can refer to H809ema for those picked out for it.

One split occured – I very much wanted to explore the use of augmented reality in museum visits, but found instead a combination of necessity and logic taking me back to the H809 TMA 01 and a substantial reversioning of it. Quite coincidentally this proposed research on adherence to preventer drugs amongst moderate to severe asthmatics had me taking a very close interest on a rare visit to a hospital outpatient’s. Nasal endoscopy must look like a circus trick to the casual observer as the consultant carefully ‘lances’ my skull through the nose with a slender and flexible rod on which there is a tiny camera and light. ‘Yes, I can see the damage from surgery’ he declares (this was 33 years ago), ‘but no signs of cancer’.

There’s a relief.

An unexplained nose bleed lasting the best part of 10 weeks was put down to my good-boy adherence to a steroid nasal spray that had damaged the soft tissue. And the medical profession wonder why drug adherence can be so low? 20% to 60% 33 years on and courtesy of the OU Library I found a wholly convincing diagnosis – allergic rhinitis. The ‘paper’ runs to over 80 pages excluding references and has some 20 contributors (Bousquet, 2008). I’ll so miss access to the online library as most papers appear to cost around the £9 to download. This desire to remain attached by a digital umbilical chord to such a resource is one reason I wish to pursue yet more postgraduate studying and potentially even an academic career. I get extraordinary satisfaction browsing ‘stuff’ to feed my curiosity.

When I stop diddling around here I’ll pick off this mindmap in a strick clockwise direction from around 1 O’Clock.

Simpleminds is great as a free App. It’s taken me a couple of years to get round to paying £6 for a version that can be exported into a word file though I rather enjoy the slower, more considered ‘cut and paste’ which adds another opportunity to reflect, expand or ditch an idea.


Bousquet, J, Khaltaev, N, Cruz, A, Denburg, J, Fokkens, W, Togias, A, Zuberbier, T, Baena-Cagnani, C, Canonica, G, Van Weel, C, Agache, I, Aït-Khaled, N, Bachert, C, Blaiss, M, Bonini, S, Boulet, L, Bousquet, P, Camargos, P, Carlsen, K, & Chen, Y (2008) ‘Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008 Update (in collaboration with the World Health Organization, GA2LEN’, Allergy, 63, pp. 8-160, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 June 2013.

Way was, way is, way will be – Webs 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0

  • Top down Web 1.0.
  • Democratized Web 2.0
  • Semantic Web 3.0

Doodle on the back of a hand out from WebSciences @University of Southampton DTC

14 years and this is what I’ve got to show for it




Automatically captured autobiographical metadata

W3c semantic web stack

W3c semantic web stack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
















Automatically captured autobiographical metadata : Mischa Tuffield (2006)

Faculty of Engineering, science and mathematics. School of Electronics and Computer Science. Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group.

Supervisors: Nigel Shadbolt, David Millard.

Those who know me well will understand why this subject fascinates me – a diarist since I was 13, blogging since 1999 and recently completed a Master’s Degree in Open and Distance Education with the Open University. Over a decade ago I registered domain names like ‘The Contents of My Mind’ and ‘TCMB’ but didn’t know how to take my enthusiasm and turn it into a research project or product.

Know I do … or nearly do.

There’s a reason to this day why I blog as ‘My Mind Bursts’.

Current reading is on the combined themes of memory support, lifelogging, augmented learning and virtual companions – there’s considerable overlap into supporting those with diminishing senses or memory with illness or old age, as well as enhancing the learning and information retrieval and manipulation process.

An infrastructure for capturing and exploitation of personal metadata to drive research into context aware systems.

  • Capture of personal experiences
  • Context aware systems
  • Multimedia annotation systems
  • Narrative generation
  • Semantic Web enabling technologies
  • A contextual log of a user’s digital life.
  • To facilitate auto–biographical narrative generation.

Towards a methodology for the capture and storage of personal metadata and is proposed as a framework for multimedia asset management.


Information overload, or infosmog (Shadbolt and O’Hara, 2003)

A liberation of personal information.

  • Ease of publishing. (House and Davis, 2005)
  • Towards a web–accessibke Knowledge Base (KB)
  • Photocopain.
  • Adhereance to as many W3C recommendations as possible.
  • Semantic Web (Berners–Lee et al, 2001)

Scientific American article to assemble and integrate personal information into web accessible resources (Shadbolt et al., 2006)

Exposing information in a structured snd standard form … using Resource Description Framework (RDF) Manola and Miller, 2004)
Universal Resource Identifier (URI)
Friend of a Friend (FOAF)
Memories for Life (M4L)
Semantic Squirrels Group (SSSIG)

Image classification, content–based indexing and retrieval,
Content and context based services

  • Marc Davis (2004a)
  • Spatial
  • Temporal
  • Social

Design methods to generate narratives from bespoken knowledge bases

  • Alani et al., 2003
  • Geurts et al., 2003
  • Mulholland et al., 2004

so automatically, not hand– crafted metadata.

The Semantic Logger (Tuffield et al., 2006a)

Photo annotation
Recommender system (Tuffield et al., 2006a) and (Loizou and Dasmahaptra, 2006)
Posting of data to the knowledge database.

By virtue of knowledge integration alone, added value emerges. (Tuffield,  2006.  p. 20)

Community of practice identification (Alani et al., 2003a)

Simile Project at MIT

(As a diarist since I was 13 I came to seek a way to say enough to recall the day. I needed the trigger, not the detail. The boring stuff might not work as such a trigger).

Clustering algorithms


The World Wide Web Consortium

The AKT project

Friend of a Friend 

The Memories for Life Network 

The Semantic Squirrels SIG

The Semantic Logger Downloads Page 

The Semantic Logger

Simile Project


Open Knowledge Project

Google Maps API

The Flickr API

Wikipedia Categories

Work undertaken my Marc Davis at Berkeley provides insight into how context can be combined with content to aid the identification of faces inside photographs (Davis et al., 2006).


I am proposing the design of a human centric personal image search and browsing task, similar to that undertaken by Mor Naaman (Naaman et al., 2004). This is presented as a manner of evaluating the utility of the various asset management. The results of this experiment is intended as a contribution to the identification of useful automatically captured metadata to aid memory recall.


T. Berners-Lee, J. Hendler, and O. Lassila. The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 284(5), May 2001.

Marc Davis, Michael Smith, Fred Stentiford, Adetokunbo Bambidele, John Canny, Nathan Good, Simon King, and Rajkumar Janakiraman. Using context and similarity for face and location identification. In Proceedings of the IS&T/SPIE 18th Annual Symposium on Electronic Imaging Science and Technology Internet Imaging VII. IS&T/SPIE Press, 2006.

J. Gemmel, G. Bell, R. Lueder, S. Drucker, and C. Wong. MyLifeBits: fulfilling the memex vision. In MULTIMEDIA ’02: Proceedings of the 10th ACM international conference in Multimedia, pages 235–238, 2002.

J. Gemmell, A. Aris, and R. Lueder. Telling stories with MyLifeBits. ICME 2005, 8: 6–9, July 2005.

Carsten Rother, Sanjiv Kumar, Vladimir Kolmogorov, and Andrew Blake. Digital tapestry. In CVPR ’05: Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR’05) – Volume 1, pages 589–596, Washington, DC, USA, 2005. IEEE Computer Society. ISBN 0-7695-2372-2.

L. Sauermann, A. Bernandi, and A. Dengel. Overview and outlook on the semantic desktop. In Proc. of Semantic Desktop Workshop at the ISWC, 2005.

N. Shadbolt and K. O’Hara. AKTuality: An overview of the aims, ambitions and assumptions of the advanced knowledge technologies interdisciplinary research collaboration. AKT Selected Papers 03, pages 1–11, 2003.

Nigel R. Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, and Tim Berners-Lee. The Semantic Web: Revisted. IEE-Intelligent System, 21(3):96–101, May 2006.

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