On Sticky Notes - biosejo 120220717

These days I've been working with paper, sticky notes, a lot, and I've been thinking about them. The following are some loose ideas regarding them and potential digital counterparts.

I enjoy the thought of being in a Computer Science and Engineering PhD program working with paper, sitting on the floor, writing by hand, collaborating as a group. We are gathering reflections, features, ideas, from movement-based design methods in several projects, and we are writing them in sticky notes. I like how this simple, paper-based technology can afford so many uses and re-uses, and how it can be used to organize thought spatially.

Due to their relatively fragile quality, I've been practicing my typographic skills transcribing all them into a table. This table has gotten me excited: I know and can imagine a lot of things that can be done when one has a list of strings of text. I've thought about visualizing the "sticky notes", showing or allowing for spatial arrangements, clusters, similarities, etc. Additionally, I've been thinking about a possible "mirror" representation that joins the tangible and the digital note.

I find it interesting: the arrangement of several notes on paper can be documented and read in a photo, but at the same that is not necesarily parseable (automatically?). What would it imply to parse that information? And how does one, would I, represent the corresponding data? Is it just a matter of points in space, x and y coordinates linked to a sticky note id? That can replicate the image, and can aid in re-creating the spatial relationships (what are the points closer to point "i"?), but is that the information that we want to document / convey / show at the end?

There's also the possibility of making groups, assigning tags - would that be just another extra field in the data structure? I feel this specifically is a rabbit hole regarding "information science", librarians, or something along those lines.

When creating the digital table, there was the thought: can we then re-create the sticky notes set, or can we re-print one that was lost? When transcribing we are losing some typographic information. What happens when we update a sticky note in paper? How easy it is to find the corresponding digital representation to update it as well? Seems like some text-search would be enough here. But what happens when the digital representation is updated? How would we find and update the paper version?

Would it make to have some ID system? And what about some "RFID" to locate the notes? (?) And coming back to spatial arrangements, how could we "scan" and gather the arrangement of the paper notes in order to save that data? (This is coming back to the spatial arrangement questions; what is what we'd like to save) Would having visual markers help in this scanning? And what about leveraging the advanced technologies used with so-called Augment Reality?

I feel all of these questions have been definitely been explored already (e.g. [1], [2]), but I find it interesting to be arriving at them, kind of unexpectedly. I guess my recent interests in the zettelkasten, combined with tangible computing, and now being under this new environment, are arising wanting to be (re)mixed.

[1] Augmented Surfaces: A Spatially Continuous Work Space for Hybrid Computing Environments


I'm excited to be in a place where I can contemplate these questions and do something about them. They may end up being combined with the stronger line of bodily movement in the research project!

I welcome further ideas and references regarding these questions. Feels worth it to have these thought running in the back of my mind.

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