July 12, 2006
Impact 2006: Wednesday Morning Keynote
Dr. David Wienberger: "Rethinking Knowledge".
This is a quick summary of the key points. More details to follow as I get time to enter them.
This session dealt with the idea of Knowledge in the web society. Some important points.
Traditioinal handling of Knowledge:
- Traditionally we organize knowledge in Hierarchies. This is because knowlege usually refers to specific things and you can only put things in one place at a time. For example, books in a library.
- Sometimes we take "metadata" about the physical items, and organize those separately. For example, the card catalogue for a library. We can then organizse those by author, subject, etc. But it is still very structured.
- We've come to trust other authorities to organize our knowledge for us. The encyclopedia Britanica. Librarians, etc. We trust the Encyclopedia Britannica because we know the information there is put there by experts.
The web is changing this in many ways:
- No longer a hierarchical structure. Web sites are moving more towards letting people form their own hierarchies. For example, a library where a person searches for 19th century history. Then within that searches for female authors, then within that for non-fiction. The user builds the hierarchy, not an external person. "Every time you optimize knowledge you deoptimize it for someone else".
- Metadata is disappearing. Now that we can store the entire document online, the document itself becomes the metadata. For example, I search for the first line of a song. I can then find out the author, what albums contain the song, etc. The song itself is the metadata.
- Tools like Wikipedia allow the development of community shared knowledge. The information is developed by the entire community, and NOT OWNED BY ANY INDIVIDUAL. This implies some trust in the information (is this person posting the information an expert). But it is also self regulating. As the wikipedia inventor says, a topic is stable once people stop posting corrections to it.
Posted by kvl014 at July 12, 2006 11:56 AM