What is Visible Legacy?
Visible Legacy is a commercial firm which offers an online visual navigation website and high quality data to serve decision makers seeking resources in unfamiliar ecosystems, beginning with Stanford University. Visible Legacy services, such as the Visible Legacy Navigator website and embedable widgets, enable making connections to experts and innovations more quickly in order to accelerate collaboration and creation of solutions. The website is offered free to the public through the support of sponsors, followed by fee based services to various user segments.
What is this "Ecosystem"?
We are using the term "ecosystem" in the sense of the strategic planning concept of a business ecosystem, now widely adopted in the high tech community. We use the term to mean an entrepreneurial culture and supportive environment of institutions and professionals conducive to value creation within a geographic area or community of people. Such an ecosystem creates a self reinforcing culture seeking solutions to global issues and finds mutual benefit in satisfying those needs in innovative ways.
How is Visible Legacy useful?
Horizontal collaboration is more and more important in today's global economy, and transactions with unfamiliar disciplines are increasingly required for innovation and impactful solutions to society's most formidable problems. The challenge is to quickly understand the expertise of people and the context of projects in unfamiliar disciplines, to identify the best collaborative "fit" and to get to ideas sooner. Visible Legacy helps users make connections faster by offering a website that combines search and browse experiences with a visual presentation people, projects, and documents that offer context to identify expertise and innovations.
How is this different from a word search?
Visible Legacy Navigator presents information visually for search and browse, offering the user a large amount of information and context in parallel, rather than just presenting a list of links. With Visible Legacy, you can see the "graph" of information. Starting with keywords and word search, users can find projects and collaborators of interest. The user then uses point-and-click "navigational search" to visit detailed web pages for projects and people. These pages represent the knowledge in a variety of forms, including on a timeline, highlighted "featured" works, keyword clouds, and as a relationship "graph" of interconnections. Users may navigate to published works (and in some cases unpublished personal papers), news releases, and other linked documents to gain particular insight about the expertise of a potential collaborator. By following these relationships and trends of innovation over time, "hotspots of innovation" may be observed.
What does "snapped to the grid" mean?
One difficulty with mapping and searching knowledge is the ambiguity of the names of people, projects, departments, published works, etc. Visible Legacy resolves these ambiguities by using a variety of public web sources to "snap information to the grid" of knowledge on the internet. Using the metaphor of a drawing program where the software helps you draw a straight line by snapping endpoints to an invisible grid, Visible Legacy has developed algorithms and processes to cross-check and validate facts to resolve ambiguities.
What are the sources of data?
We use public websites such as personal profiles, online resumes and CVs, innovation disclosures and patent sites, and news feeds. Please see our Overview Presentation for more about how this works.
What is "curation" of content?
No automatic process is perfect and the objective of Visible Legacy is to emphasize quality of the data to offer a trustworthy map. If our algorithms and processes can't resolve certain ambiguities, human oversight may be able to confirm and validate facts. Because we recognize the responsibility for the acquisition and care of digital content, we sometimes use the library term "curation" for this task. The goal at Visible Legacy, however, is to understand and minimize the need for human curation by continuously improving our algorithms.
What is the availability of Visible Legacy Navigator?
Visible Legacy Navigator (beta) is available on our website. The Stanford University ecosystem is our first set of data, or our "clinical trial". Our algorithms and processes are mapping across the various researchers and projects, with more being added continuously with the goal of including all 2000 faculty and their projects. We plan to expand to other ecosystems, we invite members of other organizations who wish to participate to contact us. We are working on a revision of the user interface.
What is the availability of Visible Legacy Widgets?
Each topic in the Visible Legacy knowledge base may be displayed in the compact widget view. This view is designed to be embedded in an external website such as a lab page, personal profile page, or inventor portfolio. If you would like to receive the embed code for your widget, please contact us.
What does it cost?
Visible Legacy Navigator and widgets are free to participants and users through generous support of corporate and individual sponsors and benefactors.
How do Sponsorships work?
We are seeking sponsors to help us expedite and expand our coverage to all of Stanford and beyond. In return we offer logo placement and acknowledgement on our web pages. We believe this is a new and growing opportunity for organizations which already fund or benefit from innovations and would value increasing their brand awareness, enhancing their visibility and collaboration within the ecosystem, or demonstrating their impact in context. Please see our Sponsorship Levels Page for details.
How are sponsored pages selected?
Unless otherwise specified, we will allocate logo placement on pages for researchers and their projects based on the statistical mix of faculty and students. We will try our best to honor sponsor wishes regarding emphasis of a particular discipline, department, award winner category, or researcher on a first come first served basis. Please feel free to communicate these to use during the online process or contact us in advance for special requests.
Does my sponsorship go to support university research?
No. Contributions made by sponsors go directly to Visible Legacy and 100% will go to support our current priorities of improving our graphical user interface and expanding the breadth and depth of our knowledge base. Corporate sponsorships are structured as commercial contracts with Visible Legacy. Our objective, however, is to serve decision makers who are seeking to develop solutions of value by helping to make connections more quickly to people and ideas, thus we support and help grow the ecosystem.
Is Visible Legacy a Non-Profit?
No. As a company mapping and exhibiting the data of third parties, we have a beneficial and trusted relationship with those people and organizations we map, and our users. We will do well if they do well. Sustainability is important to us and to our stakeholders, however, which we plan to achieve by offering fee based services to users and participants. This model is often called "freemium".
Is Visible Legacy an Amazon Affiliate?
Yes. Visible Legacy is an Amazon Affiliate and receives a commission for qualifying purchases resulting from following links on our Detail Pages labeled "Amazon Author Page". These links are generally hand-curated for accuracy and are intended to help you more quickly find the books written by people in the Visible Legacy map. Are you an Author? Amazon encourages you to update your bibliography at Amazon Author Central. Beyond this program, Visible Legacy is not otherwise affiliated with Amazon.
Is Visible Legacy part of, or limited to, Stanford University?
No. Visible Legacy is an independent commercial company within the ecosystem but not part of Stanford University. Visible Legacy's leadership is a team of Stanford alumni who are seasoned managers and who have a track record of execution in technology startups, many of which were Stanford related so we have a unique relationship and insight into the organization, multidisciplinary collaborations, and technology transfer paths that makes Stanford a good "clinical trial" for our services. We plan to extend to other ecosystems as our offering is tested and proven.
When will Visible Legacy include organizations beyond Stanford?
Now! We have been testing and improving our algorithms and processes in the limited Stanford ecosystem. We are now applying our systems to other academic and commercial ecosystems. We invite members of organizations who wish to participate to please contact us.