Memoz: spatial webpublishing


Jon Hoem
The Media Centre, Bergen University College


I would like to present a tool developed at Bergen University College by a team I have supervised. The tool, called Memoz, is built on top of the weblog software Lifetype and enables what I call "spatial publishing". I would like to present some of the conceptual thoughts, some theoretical background, and the tool in practical use. My presentation will also reflect my role as head of development and examples from practical use.

Experiences from several projects testing the use of weblogs in schools have emphasized the importance of publicists being able to see and respond to each other's work. In this respect weblogs have many benefits when compared to other tools, e.g. most Learning Management Systems.

I believe it is time to discuss whether the weblog definition emphasizing chronology as a key feature should be revised. Even though pictures and videos are widely used, weblogs present information in ways that have a close relationship to how weblogs were presented close to ten years ago. If we look at some of the most popular personal publishing tools that youngsters use we find some qualities that differ from the ordinary weblog. The webpages are frequently updated and other users are often able to respond, but the chronological structure of the weblog does not seem to be a feature. Instead some popular systems let their users publish information spatially.

Memoz is a publishing environmet that let the users publish spatially on a "sceeen-surface" that is not restricted by the physical screen size. On this surface different meda can be published, and media objects can be placed in a specific position chosen individually by the author. In Memoz videos, pictures, maps (using Google maps), and texts can be published literally side by side. Each publishing surface can be shared among several contributors giving Memoz some basic wiki-like features. Each object can be linked to, either internally or from an external webpage, and commented if the author allows this. Memoz is probably best compared to a "living billboard".