I’ve been approaching my thesis projects from two different angles, one is the exploration of the relationship between the individuals and the community they participate in. The other is the idea of using journalism as the facilitator of a public forum.
I am especially interested in the way of how the individuals contribute to it’s community and how the community brings effects upon them. My thesis project tends to tap into the area where people collaborate with each other through a passive sense of participation. The idea of collaboration needs not to be an enforced or active way of participating. The decision of whether they want to participate or not are always made by the users themselves. Even if there were forced to read a certain article, it is still up to them to make the decision to participate or not.  This leads into the second approach of my project, Journalism.

In the book “The Elements of Journalism” written by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. They mentioned that journalism should be able to serve as a facilitator for public forums. They also mentioned that the first type of journalism existed in the ancient Greek markets. It was a time where the citizens would just come to the market place and exchange “news” with each other. This was the first type of journalism, everybody was their own editor and everybody was the publisher. In a world where information can be found everywhere on the internet, I tend to bring back this concept of creating a physical space for discussions of news articles.  This would be a space where people can connect with each other through the discussion of news.

My thesis project has been an exploration in how social interactions and news reading can become a part of each other. However, this is not to say that this is a better way of reading the news or even a better of connecting with people. News reading has always been a very solitary act, and it is almost in every situation against the idea of social interactions within a community. But there are some situations where these two ideas merge well together, and can actually become a meaningful act in our life and society. My thesis is about finding and locating these situations where these two ideas can merge together and become meaningful and helpful to our life.

I decided to build my idea on the library scenario. I made this pick out of several different reason. First, the library has always been a place full of information. It has always been a place where people come for information and archives. It is also a place where people gather and discuss about their projects and works. I believe that there is am opportunity here to marry the two concepts here, and create a interface design for the users to be able to not only browse through news in a solitary act, but also share and recommend the news to each other.

Scenario: Library


While doing a group project, it is important that we find a way to share the research results that we find interesting or useful. We used to do this through email or by printing it out on papers. This device could enhance the experience of collaboration and cooperation within a small group of researchers-in this case, students. The idea is to provide the students a better way to share the results that they find, and be able to talk and discuss about their findings in a much more direct and easier way. For example if they were all researching on the topic “China”. They could easily divide their task in three ways. One could probably look for articles about the industrialized history of China, whereas the other two could look into the cultural or the geographical elements of China. The device provides the opportunity for them to do separate tasks, but gather and collect the useful ones and share it with other researchers.

A research room in the public library

Three college students doing a group project could come and use the device as a group research tool.

Three college students from Pasadena Community College is conducting a research project about Los Angeles. They came to the library to look through the news archive in order to know more about stories and events that’s been happening in Los Angeles.
They all came to the library around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, they meet each other and went to the News archive room. There were some tables and some chairs in the room, but there was not bookshelves and no books at all. They started to discuss what they need to do for the day, and also divided different research tasks to each other.
The Project was about the change of the  cityscape in Los Angeles in the past 50 years. The students want to explore their research in several different directions. Manny was responsible for the research in the public transportation plans of Los Angeles, Jae was responsible in the change of the business structure in Los Angeles and Scott was responsible for the demographic of different ethnic groups.
They all had their own direction to research on, and had the overarching theme they needed to work in. They then started to type in the keywords and started to combine them with different keywords to generate search results. Sometimes they would exchange the keywords they use, or add different keywords to each others search results to look for commonalities in the articles. While reading through the news articles, they would sometimes drag articles to the recommendation pool to create a body of recommended articles. These were articles that they thought was very useful to their project and wanted to revisit them later.
Besides of saving articles to the recommendation pool they also shared the articles by directly dragging the articles or the search results to each others control panel. Sometimes they would also switch panels to switch their directions in the research in order to pull themselves back from the project and to refresh their minds by looking into different articles.
After a while of searching browsing and discussing about the articles they found. They decided to have all the selected articles to be emailed to them, so they could go home revisit it again if it was necessary.


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