Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become
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Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  561 ratings  ·  60 reviews
How do you find your way in an age of information overload? How can you filter streams of complex information to pull out only what you want? Why does it matter how information is structured when Google seems to magically bring up the right answer to your questions? What does it mean to be "findable" in this day and age? This eye-opening new book examines the convergence o...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published September 26th 2005 by O'Reilly Media
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Sarah Sammis
Ambient Findability by Peter Morville is often used as a textbook in the reference course I took. The professor I took it from didn't include the book but the title and the fact that it was published by O'Reilly Media piqued my interest enough to want to read it as the class was starting up.

Although the description mentions information overload, the book isn't really about that. It's about how information and people hook up. There is the information that one seeks and that which falls into one's...more
Elizabeth
Author spends a lot of time talking about the history of wayfinding and uses a lot of mostly irrelevant glossy photos to illustrate along the way. Perhaps the glossy pictures are there to make the presentation more "interesting," but most do not add anything to the text.

I took away two key points from this book - one from chapter 6 and one from chapter 7 - the last two chapters in the book...

The first key point is that tagging information helps us locate it - but we need both the professional ta...more
Mikal
Ambient Findability is an interesting and thought provoking read, the book dedicates itself towards the questions of how we can design into: a fast emerging world where we can find anyone or anything from anywhere at anytime.

I use the phrase "design into" intentionally. The world for which Ambient Findability primarily concerns itself with has not yes been created, but to ensure the world exists we must begin designing into our products and services the constructs for such a solution.

Morville's...more
Alper Çugun
This book reads as an overview of most popsci/popphil books from the past twenty years and in many ways it is exactly that. There is some stuff about findability and some vision about the future it heralds, but it looks like Morville bites off more than he can chew.

I don't really know who this book is written for. The engaged professional will not read anything new and it is too wildly disparate and biased (but not nearly opinionated enough) to serve as an introductory text.

Mark
* Mentioned as read over break for 590RO. My succinct review, “tripe.” http://marklindner.info/blog/2007/01/...

* A story about how this book itself is not so ambiently findable, which I still find extremely humorous. http://marklindner.info/blog/2007/01/...
Nate
i once made a joke to my friend that this book was about finding tangerine dream records when browsing through a record store. if that was the case, i'm not sure if that would increase or decrease the amount of stars. i guess it depends on which era
Mike


So I'm coming back to UX as a topic, post-degree, for personal reasons. (Frankly I enjoyed this more than any other study area!)

This is a recommended text from my main study text, and on completion it's easy to see why - Morville has an easy to understand writing style, full of analogies to make his subject clearer, rather than threatening you with complexity.

There are some signs that this book is becoming a little dated, at least in the edition I've read, with regular references to the Treo a...more
Kiri
This is a really interesting book that I really wanted to like more than I did. It's got a lot of great ideas, but it often dissolves into word-collage raves about the glowing future that technology will bring us... from the lens of 2005. Maybe it can't help being dated, but then there's the part where the author gushes about the possibility of his Treo (PDA/Smartphone) merging someday with his GPS unit so he could have ONE device that does BOTH THINGS.

Overall, the book is both thought-collectin...more
Oleg Kagan
As a person who only last year finished a degree in Information Science, I must admit that a lot of Ambient Findability was review. That is not to say that it wasn't presented in a sensical way with the author's intellect and enthusiasm clearly visible.

When I picked up Ambient Findability I expected that it would be a SEO how-to, it was not. Instead the book took us through the hits of "findability" from wayfinding in ancient times to the present-day web and mobile devices (circa 2005, that is)....more
Stephen Redwood
Fascinating pot pourri of thoughts, facts and sources all focused on the topic of 'Ambient Findability', that is, the ubiquity of information that digital media now makes accessible to us all. Of course, the information may be out there and accessible, but human irrationality and bias makes us all too flawed in the way we select and interpret what we find and use. Peter Morville (author) has sourced some great quotes, including this one on the subject of bias from Herbert Simon: 'A man does not...more
Rachel
Oct 10, 2007 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: librarians, digital librarians, information professionals
Shelves: technology
This book is kind of a "state of the field" summary for information search and discovery, a hot topic these days. It covers the concepts of search and discovery, and findability, as well as the technologies that are currently developing and show promise (though it was published in 2005, so it's a bit out of date already). There is some discussion of how to make things findable, the relevance to libraries and information-based institutions, and what knowledge might look like in another few years....more
Amy
A coworker loaned this book to me, but I don't think enough time has elapsed since graduation (almost ten years ago!) for me to be able to enjoy an academic book. I wanted it to be practical and applicable, or I wanted to read about research presented in layman's terms. Instead, this felt very conceptual and theoretical and historical.

The last three chapters were ok, but I still don't feel like I learned much. For most of the book I felt like I'd walked into the room in the middle of a conversat...more
Penny
I enjoyed this quick tour of information and how we find and use it. I appreciated the balanced view Morville presents. On the one hand, there is optimism, because so much information is so accessible to so many people. On the other hand, there is a thoughtful acknowledgment of the "dark side:" information overload, possible threats to privacy, and our proneness to the fast food mentality in how we consume information.

I read this for a class, so I might have more to say after I get the chance to...more
Jonathan
I came for my grad school class, I stayed because it's just plain interesting stuff. How we access information, how often, and in what form says a lot about who we are, who we want to be, and to some extent it says something about how happy and fulfilled we are in our everyday lives, from moment to moment. We need good information to make good decisions, but who is the source? Do we trust information from The Man of mainstream media, or do we trust our favorite blogger who simply tells us what w...more
Mary
I am re-reading this book yet again because I find that the concepts consistently show up time and time again in my professional day job. I think that anyone, information scientist or librarian or not, should read this book at least once. I often have to relay complicated information concepts and processes to my users on a daily basis and I find that Peter Morville is able to explain things in way that users can relate to easily--it helps me to get creative in my educational materials for my own...more
Nicole Wilkins
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It had a some interesting, practical examples in it but beyond that, I ended up not feeling like I got a whole lot out of it.

Also, one of the early chapters talked about how neat RFID chips are. Those things creep me out so I think the author and I just have different ideas about some things.
Gary Lang
This book is six years old, and is somewhat dated now - we all have the SmartPhones and the effects he "predicted" we would soon have from them - a mere 18 months after this book was published. Still, the articles and books he cites look interesting, and his focus on large data sets and metadata to make use of them is still timely.
Mark
Morville, though a guru in Information Architecture is not a very good or compelling writer. Most of his ideas were summaries of other "Big Idea" book ideas. Most interesting for his discussions on wayfinding and folksonomies - though, again, there are better books available on these subjects, many of which Morville quotes.
Alison
This is the second time I have tried to read this and sort of lost interest before getting halfway through. (Should I be admitting that as a techie librarian? Probably not.) If I try this again, I will have to be sure to start at the halfway point.

As a side note, Morville is a fantastic speaker. I saw him last year.
Loryn
This was a little rough to get into at first, it is very heavy with technical language that is hard to get through if you don't have a background in information science.

I would recommend this to any person who is interested in information science and the advancements of technology.
Josh Lee
A great high-level survey of important issues surrounding information overload, searching, presence, metadata, and so on. No real how-to advice here, but a lot of good arguments as to what designers and information architects should look out for when building systems.
Jennifer
A very interesting and increasing relevant investigation of how we seek, find and evaluate information, and how we change depending on what we search for, find intentionally or inadvertently, and integrate or reject in relation to our current knowledge.
Tatjana
A very dense little book.
I wish it were indexed, which is interesting since the author is an information architect. I got some good citations to follow up on. I'd be interested in an updated version... a lot has happened since this book was published.
Dan Conover
One really great idea: Wayfinding is an essential part of human intelligence, and how we find things bears little resemblance to how we tend to index them. Organize things in ways that mimic human wayfinding and it's a form of species-wide evolution.
Sarah
Peter Morville talks about how we are becoming more and more surrounded by information. It's getting harder to make things findable. In his discussion he includes emerging technology, Wittgenstein, library science, adn what makes a good webpage.
Marijka
A fun, inspiring read, to jostle your imagination of information structure. The theme of way finding follows through the book. Great take aways include the concept of "Intertwingled" and that the path influences the destination.
Stephen Evans
An interesting flyover of the world of Ontologies, Folksonomies, and findability in general, this book felt a bit short on actionable insight and is now a bit dated in the world of ubiquitous smartphones and social / geo applications.
Angela
Read this for grad school. Actually, much better than I expected. It was written long enough ago that all the discussions about social networking don't yet mention Facebook. Makes me realize how fast things advance in the technology world.
Rachel
If you're at all interested in SEO, take the leap and learn about findability. Morville has great examples that give concrete explanations of abstract ideas. He's a good writer too, so you'll stay entertained while you learn.
Natalie
Nov 22, 2007 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: information people
This book describes all the ways information comes at us all the time from all directions and how we deal with it. The author is an computer science guy and his wife is a librarian. It is written from both of these perspectives.
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Peter Morville is president of Semantic Studios, an information architecture and findability consultancy. For over a decade, he has advised such clients as AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Harvard Business School, Intenet2, Procter & Gamble, Vanguard, and Yahoo!. He serves on the faculty at the University of Michigan's School of Information and on the advisory board of the Information Architecture In...more
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