[EAS]Knowledge Web

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Mon Jun 17 20:50:33 EDT 2002

Subject:   Knowledge Web

The KnowledgeWeb Project
also of related interest

(from INNOVATION, 22 May 2000)

James Burke, the Oxford-educated historian whose fascination with 
technology and history led to the TV series Connections, has a new pet
project. Knowledge Web, as it's called, is intended to be the visual
and virtual extension of Burke's efforts to show how all knowledge is
somehow connected to all other knowledge. The project so far is
"totally grassroots," says project manager Patrick McKercher, and
volunteers have typically been Web surfers who just happened upon
Knowledge Web status announcements while looking for more information
on Burke's books or TV shows. "As soon as I heard about the project,
I know I wanted to be involved," says Lisa Colvin, a data architect
and member of the Knowledge  Web technology team. "The most
interesting part of Burke's Connections is the serendipitous ways in
which ideas, events and people are joined through history. In
contrast to the paid ontology work I've done in the defense industry,
Knowledge Web work is rewarding because I'm contributing to a great
educational tool." Site visitors will be able to follow a guided path 
or blaze a new trail through thousands of interconnected "nodes"
containing  information about a technically relevant person, place,
thing or event. 
>From each node, the user can link to other nodes that are connected
to the original node via some historical relationship. The site will
also incorporate 2-D and 3-D visualizations, and visitors will be
able to "interact" with people and objects. Burke and McKercher are
currently calling for new volunteers, especially programmers who can
work with Java, XSLT and XML, and experienced researchers and
writers. (Wired.com 20 May 2002)

An interesting undertaking of Wittgensteinian conception. On a much
more modest scale I have often hoped to represent the relationships
between courses in a curriculum in this way, but even that task is
still unrealized.  --PJK

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