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Shadow Search Winner Announced


The "Shadow Search" launched by n.e.w.s. on 15 October closed yesterday, 22 November. The Call was read by a record number of people (and machines). Five proposals were received for consideration by the reading committee. After some five hours of spirited deliberation, the jury found itself at loggerheads. The deciding vote was cast by the n.e.w.s. collective in favour of "Narcissus Search Engine," submitted by Aharon Amir and Phil Jones. The jury was immediately struck both by the quality and the heterogeneity of the submissions, and divergent opinions notwithstanding, was unanimous in seeing the experience as a learning process. n.e.w.s. hopes to work with all the participants in further developing their proposals. Any and all readers are also encouraged to contact the authors of the submissions -- published here under n.e.w.s,' site-wide creative commons license -- to help carry them forward.Broadly speaking, two types of proposals were submitted, addressing two very different aspects of the shadow-search conundrum. One engaging with the mining of shadow projects; and the other with the representation of the shadow attributes of the indexed projects. In lay terms, while the former makes use of complex algorithms for the discovery of new information, the latter seeks rather to refocus attention on information that is already there - but unseen. Luis Fernandez' proposal seeks a remix between Art-O-Turk and a Delicious-inspired CONSULT_CROWD external computation. T.B. Dinesh's detailed submission has undeniable pedagogical potential and reveals deep understanding of the internal workings of contemporary knowledge systems. Samuel Rajkumar's "Babelizer" showed both wit and pragmatism in its approach. Runner-up Pavan Mishra and Akshay Surve's "Shadow Searching in Concept Cloud" proposal elicited the jury's particular attention. It sought to bring together aspects of mining and organization using very sophisticated mathematical concepts. Yet that very strength was perceived as an inability to deal effectively with languages other than English. Ultimately, the jury chose Aharon Amir and Phil Jones' "Narcissus Search Engine" for the following reasons: it was closest to the open call's conceptual approach to the dynamics of shadow and attention, drawing attention to the shadow without the act of seeing making the latter disappear; it is both scalable and replicable in a variety of contexts (both online and in archival situations); it does not require that the system be restructured or be forced to relearn - ie,, it is about information management rather than discovering new information. Though the jury felt the entry was exemplary, it was argued that integrating more comprehensive incoming channels of information would broaden its scope further. The jury thanks all applications -- and lurkers -- for their participation, however slack.


Many thanks and a few thoughts

Hi everyone,

On behalf of Phil and myself I would 1st like to say how surprised, humbled, thrilled, inspired and happy we are.
Thank you!

We have looked at all the other proposals and are amazed at their quality in terms of ideas, codes, algorithms and potentials. Indeed, it seems rather darkly ironic, in the context of the call to look at the shadows, if such quality will remain potentially invisible.

Therefor, with the spirit of both the panel - who suggested the proposals are indeed fantastic but do not entirely answer the conundrum - and of making stuff visible, maybe we could form a working group for all the people who participated in the call, to try work out possible implementations for all the brilliant ideas on display in each of the proposals.

For example, looking at the Babelizer proposal, it seemed, as an example of points for departure, that it could be a really good fun to try it, somehow subversively, as a game in micro-blogging. (e.g. twitter and/or identi.ca)

It will be great to hear other participants' reactions generally, and indeed to the above idea of possible collaborations.

Many thanks once again from Phil and Aharon.