[okfn-discuss] The Four Principles of (Open) Knowledge Development (v0.1)

Saul Albert saul at theps.net
Mon Jun 5 07:35:09 UTC 2006

hi Rufus, all,

once again, sorry for the 2 week thread delay.. where does the time go?

On Mon, May 22, 2006 at 01:25:54PM +0100, Rufus Pollock wrote:
> Interesting. So what is your perspective on the open knowledge definition:
>   http://www.okfn.org/okd/

I think it's extremely sensible and as far as I can tell, mitigates all
the problems I've seen commonly used in 'open' licenses that actually
place further restriction on knowledge. Perhaps definitions are kind of
useful in this case :)

> >I think these are very good and clear, the only worry I would have is
> >that many people have no idea what a package manager is, and perhaps
> >there are examples of componentized knowledge that are more widely
> >understood. However, I do see the very real value of the apt-get example
> >because it is so amazingly well done (apt-get install anarchism!).
> >Perhaps another example to go alongside it - or another section called
> >'examples'. This section could look something like this:
> Good idea again. I wonder if we can think of any more examples other 
> than the 2 we now have (apt and bibliographies). This also prompts me to 
> bring up the idea of doing a simple 'hello-world' type knowledge package 
> -- more of which in a seperate post.

Well, I had a think about this and an interesting talk with Fabian
Tompsett last night. I mentioned to him the Open History threads and the
Open Shakespeare idea, both of which sound good and have been discussed
interestingly on this list, although from the sounds of it, bootstrapping
Open History from Closed History will be a challenge :)

I have one more idea - which is still a bit of a mess of interests, to
add to the pile:

We were talking about the Distributed Library Project
(http://dlp.theps.net) - a project we worked on together with other
members of the University of Openess a few years ago, it's basically a
library catalogue that allows people to store books and other catalogue
entries in their own home, but share a simple library card / borrowing /
commenting / listing system.

It's pretty limited at the moment - and the code base (and data model) is
somewhat inflexible. It does, however, work, which is the important bit. 

We were talking about our aspirations for the project, which included,
most centrally, a system of emergent categorisation and book-threading -
based on borrowing patterns and lists (somewhat like del.icio.us and
amazon's recommendations systems). This kind of system is proven and now
exists. The other kind of categorisation system we discussed, more
pertinent to this discussion was bibliographical chains. 

The academic reference system is great - as discussed earlier in this
thread, and is a *kind of* example of packaging knowledge. The problems
with it are that technically marked-up dependency chains of books -
mentions and cross-references in bibliographies, are

a). often an academic publication in themselves, with all the attendant
closeting of info and copyright issues.

b). not technically standardised as far as I can tell

c). not built into easy to use software tools.

We envisaged a system - probably using existing RDF biblio name spaces
(I know some exist somewhere...) that would allow dependency-chain or
tree-like browsing of book collections through cross referencing their

Adding this kind of navigational system to the DLP would be even more
interesting as if the books exist within DLP collections, they also
become a set of geographical indicators that have owners - presumably
people who have read and can comment on the books.

It wouldn't be a particularly easy project - I mean, some code is there,
some use exists, we are probably going to start developing a simple RFID
library card system in the near future, which would make borrowing much
easier... along with that we might look at this bibliographical
navigation system, but like all these projects so far proposed, it's
a lot of data entry!



More information about the okfn-discuss mailing list