Tag Archives: cultural probes

Over the last few weeks, I have attended a handful of interesting events which deserve summing up for future reference, and because they presented insights worth sharing. Also they serve as a lesson in getting it down while it’s still fresh in your mind, as I realize that some of the (surely brilliant) thoughts I had after some of the earlier events I now can’t recall, like how inspired I was by Else Skjold’s research or the details of working with Cecilia’s probe. Which explains why the entries get shorter and shorter…

Loic Tallon open lecture at CIID: Adapting to mobile: a museum perspective (26/2)

Last week, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design hosted an open lecture by Loic Tallon. Tallon is director of Pocket-Proof, a digital consultancy specialized in helping museums develop strategies for mobile media with some pretty cool projects under their belt; chair of the Museums and Mobile online conference; and producer of the annual Museums and Mobile Survey. He also co-edited Digital Technologies and the Museum Experience: Handheld Guides and Other Media with Kevin Walker and co-wrote the paper ‘Going Mobile?‘ with Isabel Froes for MW2011, amongst other things. So, in short, he’s cool, and has a solid knowledge of and experience with this field, and I’m thrilled that he agreed to do an interview when I get to New York. So more on that later.

Aimed primarily at designers, the presentation centered on six tips how to think about designing mobile projects for museums, reminding newcomers to the museum field that while smart phones may be the latest craze, mobile interpretation tools in museums go back a long way. Listed in the photo below, I’ve added my own notes on the six tips beneath.

Loic Tallon's top tips for museum mobile design

Loic Tallon’s top tips for museum mobile design

Be specific about what mobile is (and is not)
– Smart phones, tablets, audioguides etc. are not one and the same – explore the specific affordances
– Why do it on mobile (e.g. smart phone)?
– Central characteristics of smart phones: digital, personal, portable, connected

Forget about the technology
Get past default ‘we need an app’ thinking or simply replacing audioguide # with QR codes
– Think about what experience you want to create, what content or what stories you want to share
– Mobile technology can now do far more than museums ask for (there was a really nice graph for this, but I didn’t get my camera out in time, and I haven’t been able to find the slides online) – but what is it we need it to do?

Mobile projects are not new for museums
As demonstrated in videos and audioclips from past museum tours, with some lovely examples like Stedelijks groundbreaking 1952 broadcast technology and a dramatic Tuttenkhamun tour narrated by Orson Welles.

Define who it’s for and what it does
– with reference to Falks situated identities: visitors motivations are key
– clearly defined objectives (the experience) for a clearly defined audience.

Support the museum’s challenge
#1 challenge: getting people to use them ( see museums & mobile surveys) (now, I think this is the wrong way to think about this issue, as it suggests that the goal is to boost uptake stats; rather, this kind of knowledge should not only make you wonder how to get people to use them more, but should also make you think about whether they are actually valuable for the visitor or if they are quite fine without them, thank you)
– so think about the experience from the visitor’ perspective – what do they need, what is the added value: forget about distribution of your products, think instead of supporting visitor needs, what kind of experience they want (which is kind of the point I was making above, except the assumed sollution in this context may be better experience design, whereas non-use, the non-scaffolded, unequipped skinnydip museum visit is at least not addressed as an option. Further to this rant here and here).

Bring capacity building, not just a product (or pilot)
-Work with museums, let their needs, ideas, perspectives decide the development

This advice should go out to museums as much as to designers. Sadly, I think one big problem is that because most museums do not have in-house development, they don’t build up much experience or understanding, and so are quite easily manipulated by flashy suggestions from design bureaus who, at the end of the day, are trying to flog a product.

Further on that note, I couldn’t help noting how many people were there; the small venue was totally crowded. This field is scarily popular. Were these people all museum-mobile-designer wannabes? And if so: are mobile museum experiences more a designer’s wet dream than a visitor need? Or a result of the museum folks’ desire to rub shoulders with the creatives? I’m not pointing any fingers here; this was exactly how I got to be interested in this field. Just speculating.

Either way, Tallon’s sound advice should come in handy.

MMCN network seminar: Methodologies of mobile communication and media research (22/2)

The Mobile Media and Communications Network is a newly founded network of Scandinavian researchers sharing findings, work-in-progress conundrums, publication possibilities and more around their research into mobile communication and media. Starting from last year’s ‘Researching Mobile and Locative Media’ workshop and PhD course at Århus University, the group met once in the autumn to establish the network and this time for a seminar focusing on methodology. The plan is to continue with biannual meetings as well as instigating mobile media sessions at relevant conferences. There’s also a website in the making, and an open invitation for other reserachers in this field to take part.

Even if I can feel like an outsider, even a bit of a leech, given that I probably will not be contributing to this field but only learning from it, it is still very interesting for me to take part in this network and learn from some of the leading researchers and shooting stars in this field. A mix of presentations and discussion, the atmosphere is nicely informal, meaning that rather than showing off people share uncertainties, allowing for a constructive dialogue. As we discussed that this could also be a forum for PhD students to get feedback on their work (rather than pushing for another PhD course this year), I should seize that opportunity at some point.

Both Bechmann, Ess & Waade ‘s project about Tripadvisor and the communicative functions of travel apps (as yet unpublished, but the abstract presents some very interesting points about key functions and significant tendencies in locative mobile apps, such as their visuality and connectedness), and Gunnar Liestøl’s presentation about establishing a methodology for design development of ‘Situated Simulations’, a kind of indirect augmented reality, were very interesting and relevant for my project. I was particularly intruiged by Liestøl’s notions on the value of negativity, of negation, pointing to what is not there, as essential to the design process, which counters the insistance of possitivity in design thinking ass advocated by Ided, Aalto a.o. Also here, a paper is under way, which I will look forward to reading.

I also picked up on the fact that Liestøl also used the term ‘mediation’ – but when asked, also confessed to some uncertainty as to the appropriacy of this translation. It seems that all Scandinavians share the frustration that there is no truly appropriate English translation for such a central term in museology as ‘formidling’ (German Vermittlung), only a host of related terms that convey some aspects, but not the complexity of meanings in the original term. And while mediation may be the correct term etymologically, and in accordance with ICOMs key concepts of museology, it is still not used by the anglophone museum community, as the common usage of the word has very different connotations. So, I too will have to keep circling around this issue, before tackling it head on in my thesis.

#SMWSMK: Social Media Week at Statens Museum for Kunst (21/2)

Social Media Week in Copenhagen inlcuded a string of events at Statens Museum for Kunst:
The art museum on social media – presentation by three different museums on Livestream

Allegra Burnette, creative director for Digital Media at MOMA, presented their social media strategy and a catalogue of initiatives across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and traditional blogs, all used in differerent ways to document, distribute or engage the public in ongoing exhibitions.

Jesse Righam, Digital Communications manager at TATE similarly laid out their social media strategies, which seemed to have a strong focus on the marketing potential of social media. An interesting aspect for me here was how fashion culture, via bloggers (e.g. Stylebubble), designers (e.g. Westwood) and collaboration with the industry (e.g. Topshop), was used to gain access to a wider public, quote RIngham: ‘it taps into that audience that we need, the visitors of tomorrow’. Perhaps this has been the inspiration for the newly founded Louisiana Channel‘s decision to feature Danish designers Henrik Vibskov, Peter Jensen and Anne Sofie Madsen as commentators on art (in relation to fashion, but still).

Finally, Sarah Grøn from SMK generously shared the ups and downs in the process towards ‘becoming social’, making the point that staff’s personal experience with and command of social media platforms is a prerequisite for using them succesfully as an institution.

After a panel discussion, which mainly revolved around sure-fire communication on Facebook (apparently, updates about artist’s birthdays and the weather never fail – the key is to give something the puiblic can personally relate to), the day concluded with presentations by Merete Sanderhoff and Unges Laboratorier for Kunst on ongoing projects at SMK. Not entirely convinced by ULK’s Tales App (perhaps I’m just not getting it, or perhaps it is one of interesting, but somewhat artyfarty concepts that work best as concepts only)  but I would recommend trying Hintme, the scanner/twitterbased concept which I have written about earlier, which is now open to the public in a beta version. So go check out the website, make sure your QR scanner is up to date and go try it out in on of the participating museums! Better still, let me know how you liked it.

Modesalon: Fashion, music & identity at Designmuseum Danmark (30/1)

During fashion week, and in conjunction with the current exhibition of vinyl album covers, Designmuseum Denmark hosted two fashion salons about the relationship between fashion and music. Sadly, I missed out on the second one, a conversation between designers Mads Nørgaard and Henrik Vibskov, but found the first, featuring music scholar Morten Michelsen and fashion researcher Else Skjold, very inspiring.

Following themes such as emancipation, experimental expressions of gender and marginalisation, they spoke of fashion and music as bodily media for cultural expressions, and of the problematics of the ‘subculture’ discourse, which has now gone out of fashion, to be replaced with concepts of scenes, tribes and genre as social phenomenon.

Skjold is currently finishing up her PhD research on men’s fashion, a very interesting project exploring the potential and developing the methodology of wardrobe studies for cultural studies into fashion as well for market oriented developments in the fashion industry. I had a brief chat with her after the session about our shared interest in how fashion is not just products on a catwalk, but a complex mix of utility, identity, style and culture when used in real life. I expect that her thesis will provide some useful insights into these aspects as well as into considerations on design methodology in cultural studies, and might try to hook up with her at a later stage.

Responding to someone else’s probe

Thanks to Cecilia, a master student from the IT University of Copenhagen, I have been getting a chance to ‘taste my own medicine’. For her master thesis just finished, she explored how to design for sensory experiences in digital media, focusing on the potential for the fashion industry; a very interesting project and field, and highly relevant to my own research. During her process we’ve had some inspiring conversations and I am curious to learn of her findings. What’s more, she used cultural probes in her empirical research, and I had to fortune to one of her informants.


Her beautiful probe package consisted of seven activities exploring various sensory expressions – I was asked to produce sensual forms in clay; to create a colourscheme, to articulate my thoughts on sensual expereinces on a series of postcards etc.

Apart from inspiring my own thinking around the importance – and complexity – of sensory and aesthetic experiences, and how to translate that into digital designs, it was interesting to be an informant and experience the very subjective interaction between designer and informant when performing her probe activities. Like the blurred boundary between what was her research interest and what was mine, and between my personal and academic understanding of the sensory, brought on in part by an overlap in project foci, and in part by engaging myself in her probe. Or the time issue, as in how much you can ask of your informants. For my part, I enjoyed working with the probe and also had a sense of obligation, meaning that I completed all tasks, but even so I can see how the demand on the informant’s time must be taken into consideration in the probe design, and may also account for some of the lacking responses in my own research.

Rock on \\m// (> . <) \\m// ! Listening to Metallica’s Enter Sandman – one of the tracks on the fashion exhibition mixtapes I asked my informants to make as part of the cultural probes, which I’ve now turned into one long playlist on YouTube. Sure woke me up. And this music business really is a great way to get transported into the mood or mindset set by my informants. Yay! There’s quite a lot of dark and moody stuff on the playlist (and a few off-beat ones, like Metallica, Verdi and Doris Day. Plus the quirky, dancy, electronica numbers, but still often with a sombre twist). Interesting that this is the sort of connotation fashion has, or the mood that my informants would like to set for a fashion exhibition – very similar to the kind of soundtrack you would find in a lot of fashion shows. It would seem that in a fashion context, dark and moody translates as cool and sexy.

I’m using the playlist as background music as I’m sorting through the images I’ve been sent and trawling instagram for additional imagery (pictures uploaded by my informants).With all the weird and wonderful photos, links, cards, maps and comments that have been trickling in over summer, I now have a whole wall full of material. I mean, get a load of this:

The amount and quality of the returns is pretty much as I hoped and expected – including a nice selection of surprises. As described in an earlier post, I will not attempt to analyze this material, but use it for inspiration. Still, there are a couple of things that call for a comment.

Like the woman who sent a picture of her son in response to the #Copenhagen Style-theme. Bang on the money; kids surely are the must-have accessory around these parts, and the whole toddler-hipster (tipster? toddster?) things is huge too. Fashion is many things. Or the one budding designer, who sent a picture of a drawing she made in response to #My media. (Her list of bookmarks for where she finds her inspiration online, which she also sent, is a mile long, and she runs a blog and uses her phone to share images on Instagram; still it’s the pen and paper that is closest to her heart). The media-category also included pictures of newspapers, magazines and a website, but no mobiles, tablets or laptops (is this because the mobile was used for taking the photo, or because the informants didn’t consider it a medium?). And then there’s the nail varnish collection inpspired by baroque with names like Johan Sebastian Bach, Peter Paul Rubens and Ludvig XIV (an all male cast, as was the order of the day) – again, i didn’t see that one coming, but it’s a great reminder that inspiration has no limits, and fashion goes all over the shop when it comes to finding it.

Interestingly, I have had only one response to my call for Polyvore sets (+ one in paper form, i.e. a response to the restyling of New Look, but shying away from using the social media platform). Similarly, I have had only one Pinterest board, even though most repondents have a profile (but seem to use it irregularly). So even though these social media platforms may hold an interesting potential seen from a museum mediation point of view, getting people to use them to participate – or at all – could prove a challenge. Which is pretty much the experience in the museum community anyway. And only one person opted to visit the Rokoko-mania exhibition, even though all had been issued with two free tickets. She also tried the (in beta) accompanying app, but found that it didn’t really add much to the experience, although she thought it useful that she could use the app to read the texts in preparation for the visit.

The workshop is scheduled in a couple of weeks. Only four of the original eight informants will participate (one withdrew from the whole project; another has sent in a good lot of photos but couldn’t make the date; one contributed a map and other paper-tasks, but has now moved elsewhere, and one I just never heard back from (all the more puzzling as she was the one who posted on her own blog how interesting and relevant the project was for her). But then they are all really creative and engaged in each their particular way, so I’m sure some interesting things will come out of the workshop. Now it’s up to me to plan it well!

Complete probe package

For the sake of knowledge sharing (e.g. on Flickr) , and for my own future reference, this post presents the individual acitivities in my cultural probe package, and how they aim to elicit thoughts on and understandings of fashion, media, the city etc. which will inform my design of concepts for mobile mediations of fashion.

The probes are given and explained to the participants during a one hour informal interview. The participants are asked to complete the activities over the summer, i.e. over a period of six weeks. The presentation stresses that the activities are meant to be fun, and encourages the participants to make the activities together with likeminded friends if they fancy.

Fashion is…
The front of the postcard shows diverse statements about fashion from the likes of Chanel, Lady Gaga and Oscar Wilde, whilst the back asks the informant to voice their own understanding by finishing the opening line Fashion is…

Postcard asking for a statement on fashion

This activity asks participants to user their mobile camera to capture images related to the following topics, and send them as MMS:

  • Inspiration
  • My media
  • Copenhagen style
  • Fashionista
  • Non-fashion
  • Today I’m wearing
  • Everyday life
  • Wish it was mine
  • A favourite thing
  • Bad purchase

Mobile photography

Show me your city
Participants are given a city map of Copenhagen (all live locally) as well as stickers, post it notes, glue and pen, and are asked to indicate their favourite spots with a heart and other noticable spots with a dot, and to use the ‘speech bubble’ notes to describe or explain the significance of these places.

Furthermore, the participants are encouraged to customize the maps at will – cut away or cross out the sections of the city that they dislike or never use; suggest changes or additions in the form of a collage, e.g. by placing the out of town art museum Louisiana in the city center, ‘building’ a cultural center or ‘planting’ a forrest or moving their favourite parts of Kreuzberg or Shoreditch to Copenhagen.

Mapping Copenhagen

Participants are asked to ‘curate’ an exhibition on a theme or aspect of fashion of their choice, in the form of a board on Pinterest. The participants decide the title, the number of images, and the content – whether the exhibition will show only clothes, or also include other items or images related to (their take on) fashion.

Fashion exhibition as a Pinterest board

This activity asks participants to visit the current exhibition entitled ‘Rokoko-mania’ at Designmuseum Denmark. The exhibition shows costumes and artifacts from the museum collection as well as recent or commisioned works by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Nikoline Liv Andersern, Anne Damgaard and Laura Baruël.

At the exhibition, participants are asked to take and send photos of three things they like, three things they don’t like, and to record and send a short voice memo on their experience.

Invitation + tickets for the exhibition ‘Rokoko-mania’

Nailing it
Participants are asked to imagine the colour-samples as nailvarnish, and to name the colours accordingly. The activity aims to elicit some of the vocabulary associated with fashion and the related cultural references and connotations.

Naming nailvarnish

Participants are asked to create a set on Polyvore based on a photograph of Dior’s 1947 ‘New Look’. The activity aims to engage participants in spotting fashion-historical references in current fashions, and experiment with potentially new social media tools.

A Polyvore-set inspired by New Look

This activity asks participants to collate a mixtape for fashion – what is the sound of fashion, what tracks, artists, lyrics, sounds or moods do the participants associate with fashion.


Finally, the probe contains a selection of samples and treats. They are just meant to be enjoyed.

The goodies

Oh, what a lovely couple of weeks I’ve had preparing my cultural probes. Coffee, music, doodling and drawing, choosing images and materials- I have really enjoyed going into creative mode, and found that it has given a real boost of energy to me and to the project. Not that it was grinding to a halt, not at all, but still shifting into a different work mode has been a reminder of the potential in utilizing my full skillset (when applicable, naturellement), and trusting that science is or can be creative too. Which is why I feel it is worth a mention on the blog.

I’m happy with the result too – the content of the activities, the visual identity, the packaging and right down to the goodie-bag goodies I managed to scrounge in order to hit the right notes of fashionisms and playfulness in the overall presentation. It’s nice that it feels a little bit like giving a gift, even if it’s also an assignment of sorts.

I hope, of course, that the effort I’ve put into making the the probes appealing will inspire my informants to also give it their best shot and go along with the game. But working aesthetically and creatively with the probes and stretching those design muscles has also served as a good warm up excercise for the design work I will eventually embark on on the back of the probes and the late summer workshop. I feel up for the task and look forward to that part of the process too.

As for the sampling, it has gone pretty smoothly. In addition to the four fashion bloggers I met at the flea, I have found my informants through my extended network (via mail, FB and (RTs on) Twitter. And on top of the ones that I have now made appointments with, I have also had some interest and helpful offers from a few others, so it has been really positive to experience the response to my project.

My sampling criteria have been fairly open, meaning that pretty much anyone who recognized themselves in the call for participation (blogpost in Danish), i.e. considered themselves to take an interest in fashion and used social media, I considered eligible too. As I expected, the respondents turned out to be women in their 20’s and 30’s (ethnic Danes, middleclass, educated etc. – typical museum-goers (to be)). I have not had an explicit gender bias, but have also not actively sought to reach a balanced representation of the sexes – this aspect is not really relevant to my project as I am not focusing on reaching out to new user groups or similar (a question I am often asked, however, but as I see it there is already plenty of aspects included in the project, and this is one I choose to leave out).

Overall, I have not aimed for a certain demographic representation, if anything I consider a certain homogeneity to be preferable, as my sample is so small (8, maybe 9 participants), which could easily lead to cells of one if I was to analyse the feedback directly. Which I won’t be doing, as described in the previous post – I don’t see my group of participants as a ‘sample’, and do not aim to generalize anything form their input.

5 participants blog about their lives and/or fashion; some work, have worked or aim for at career in fashion (design, journalism, styling), others work in media (analyses, consultancy). And if the ones I have already interviewed are anything to go by, they are a really inspiring and lovable lot!

Sketch ideas for cultural probes

Getting increasingly excited about the prospects of and potentials in using cultural probes over the last few weeks as I’ve started reading into the subject, and I’m now ready to start assembling my own. First step has been sketching my ideas (along with some probe standards like postcards and maps, as described by Gaver et al. and also inspired by this Flickr group and Elizabeth Goodman’s presentation on Slideshare), in order to start screening and considering their appeal, benefit, appropriacy etc. Next up I’ll turn them into rough prototypes that I can test before assembling my final probes. It’s a rapid process (and agile too, ah yes, ticking all the buzz boxes), necessarily, as I will need to have my probes ready in a week and a half, but then it has been rolling around in the back of my head for a while, so I feel fairly confident that the ideas are ripe and right. ( And absolutely sure that in hindsight I would have done something differently, whatever I do).

When I suggested the use of cultural probes in my original proposal, I guess I envisaged using them to get a glimpse into user’s everyday pursuit of fashion through media, i.e. I understood them as a potential ethnographic tool. In the meantime, however, my research interest has shifted away from user practices and media ecology and over to museological discourse and practice (as described in this post). As it turns out, this makes the cultural probe-approach all the more appropriate.

Dagny Stuedahl’s presentation at The Transformative Museum conference refered to this map of design-research types by Liz Sanders, which I found very inspiring.

Design-research types, map by Liz Sanders

It made me realize that the way I intend to include users in my study is not really participatory or even user-centered. Instead, my plan to let input from users inform an exploratory design process aimed at posing questions to and discovering problems in the use of new media platforms for museum mediation has more in common with critical design.

I was already headed this way after reading (during a truly inspiring and thought provoking PhD course on Varieties of Design Research) about Dunne & Raby’s Placebo Project as well as Mazé & Redström’s article on the Switch! programme, as the way they were using design objects or concepts to elicit thoughts and discussions really resonated with what I am hoping to achieve. I agree that design is not only about finding solutions but also about finding problems, as described by Dunne & Raby in Design Noir (here cited in Koskinen et al. (2011) : Design Research Through Practice p. 46)

Critical design, or design that asks carefully crafted questions and makes us think, is just as difficult and just as important as design that solves problems or finds answers

and that sometimes the imperfect is a richer source of knowledge than perfection, as suggested by Mazé & Redström:

Thus, our ambition is not to converge upon a single problem or solution, nor to provide a roadmap to a particular preferred future, but to materialize a territory of possible viewpoints as a basis for curating—and catalyzing—a conversation in the here and now.


we have wanted to encourage more nuanced or thoughtful responses to a potential object, situation or future, so as to counteract tendencies towards the commonplace and polarized responses of “I want this, where can I buy it?” or, correspondingly, “I do not like this, I’m not going to buy it!” Therefore, many of the design examples have a rather unsettling or ambivalent character, which was achieved through exploring and testing out different aesthetic strategies.

Now, I don’t know if I will or should embrace all of the thinking behind Critical Design (although I know that I need to address this thinking and my own use if it in my thesis) – so far, I have just been learning about the influences from the situationists, dada and surrealism etc. in Design Research… (above), and am curious to see how much of Dunne thinking in Hertzian Tales, which I’ve ordered form the library, I can relate to.

Either way, I’m not looking for a recipe for research or a set methodology, but rather see this as a tool in my own method. Still, I have been happy to see that my current plan for using cultural probes is more in keeping with Gaver’s original intentions, as he’s felt it necessary to explicate in the article Cultural Probes and the Value of Uncertainty.

Appropriating the Probes into a scientific process is often justified as “taking full advantage of the Probes’ potential,” as if, by not analyzing the results of our original Probes, we had let valuable information slip away. But this misses the point of the Probes. Sure, they suggested that research questions could be packaged as multiple, rich, and engaging tasks that people could engage with by choice and over time. Beyond this, however, the Probes embodied an approach to design that recognizes and embraces the notion that knowledge has limits. It’s an approach that values uncertainty, play, exploration, and subjective interpretation as ways of dealing with those limits.

This, at least, will make it easier to explain what I’m doing and why. For a while, presenting my project to people, I’ve experienced that the has been a stronger demand for explanation, justification and critical consideration of my method than I expect to have met if, say, I’d chosen a more traditional ethnographical route. That’s been (is) hard, as I’m still feeling my way, yet, as  critical reflection on your method and your own influence on the research should be demanded of any research(er), I actually find that choosing a method that makes this demand so obvious and prominent is an advantage, as I won’t be lulled into a false sense of ‘getting it right by doing it by the book’.

Similarly, I really like that the cultural probes approach (or ‘probology’ as Gaver suggests) is so openly subjective and that the returns will defy analysis: it’s a tool for design, rather than for sociology. So rather than trying to design for and read some objective truth into my probes and the responses I will receive, I can allow my self to be creative and curious, i.e. truly explorative, which is a great freedom at this early stage of the process. And good fun too!

Of course, deciding to use design as a way of addressing a scientific question is also a bit of a gamble. Not only is the approach not tried and tested, I’m also having to consider whether I’m actually capable of pulling it off. Am I a good enough designer to make good use of this approach? Am I a designer at all? Then again, am I a good enough researcher? A proper humanist scholar, qualified to take on Latour, Adorno or whoever else I will be pulling in for my analysis and theoretical discussion? Maybe not. But I’m trying to become one, and this is the approach that I have decided is right for addressing my field of research, my project, my problems. And if I fail – or where I fail – I can only hope that maybe in this aspect to, the imperfect can be a rich source of knowledge.