March 16, 2005
I had dinner a few nights ago with Jakob Lodwick of College.Humor.com and Busted Tees fame. I think he's on to something big with his new project vimeo.com. It's ahead of the curve, and very unfinished, but when video phones finally take off here as they have in Japan this site is going to break out. Our dinner topic was metadata and content tagging, a subject I've been sort of obsessed with for a long time. Just talking out loud about this stuff forced me to organize my thoughts and Jakob had some interesting insights that have kept my brain charged for days. I've started to write a small manifesto which I will be posting with a wiki-type interface at some point in the future. If this subject is compelling to you, check out: Folksonomies. And be sure to go through all the links in the references.
Anyway none of that was the point of this post. I was surprised that Jakob had never heard of Edward Tufte and in polling some other design/web friends of mine who are Jakob's age, I found they had also never heard of the guy. Tufte has written 3 of the best books out there about the visual display of information, all written pre-web. The must-have books are The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Envisioning Information, and Visual Explanations. If you are a designer or web person, you need these books on your bookshelf. While the titles are dry, the text is not and the books themselves are a delight, full of graphically interesting illustrations. Find them cheap on half.com.