By Michael Kehoe, Researcher, Xerox Innovation Group

Every day it seems like more and more of our interactions with information are via the web.  I recently had a bout with a cold and/or flu.  What was my first step toward speeding my recovery – call my doctor?  Well, not actually.  I went online with my symptoms, of course, to see what other people were doing about it.  I thought to myself, “There must be thousands of people just like me, searching the same set of links as I am.”  What is the best way to share what we find?  Then I thought about using a technology called Trailmeme that’s featured on Open Xerox, a website showcasing some of Xerox’s latest research project work.

Trailmeme is a new paradigm that makes it easy to publish what you find on the web.  Not just a list of links, like you often send to friends or colleagues (or yourself).   This is way more than that – you share your trail of websites in the order you think best, and with guideposts that add whatever information that you want to convey about that site.  The visitors to your trail can navigate the trailmap however they like, but with your information and opinions to guide them.

Here’s what a trailmap looks like:

Trailmap of social networking websites on Trailmeme

A featured trail on “Social Networking.” The trailmap guides you through a path of sites that you can click through to learn more about a certain topic. The trailmap highlights where you are in the path as you move through the websites.

Now, I am a “chess parent” (and a bit of a coach too). I started a trail on information that other chess parents might like to know about getting their kids to local, regional, and/or national scholastic chess tournaments.  I found that Trailmeme has a couple of new features too.  Besides making my trail open to all, or only to myself, I can now define the group of people that are allowed to share in my trail.  Best of all, I can even make the trailbuilding collaborative.  So we can all work together in expanding the information.  Cool!  Maybe we’ll be ready for prime time soon!

How would a tool like Trailmeme benefit you?