[okfn-labs] Parallels

Steven J. Dale lifeinchords at gmail.com
Tue Jul 30 21:48:04 UTC 2013

Hello all !
I'm an independent researcher with a design + comp sci background and a
strong interest in the connection and evolution of ideas. I've recently
started work on Parallels, an open platform for fluidly creating, exploring
and remixing bits of data, in connection with others

It consists of 2 parts which work together, (A) the tool: an open-source,
canvas-based document authoring software system and (B) the resulting data
as an interconnected, open-data knowledge base

(A) Draws on many features and concepts found in mind+argument mapping,
notetaking, and visual design layout software. Think Google Maps for your
ideas: Instead of linear documents, files or folders, documents are maps:
combinations of bits of different media types, which can be arranged and
remixed together. A central idea is in defining connections between bits,
which I call parallels. In essence, a parallel is a piece of metadata that
defines the relationship between 2 things, similar to RDF. See this [early]
demo video : http://www.makeparallels.org

(B) Users can granularly publish and share content generated by using (A).
This data could be as small as a tweet for example, or as big as an entire
paper or say a long period of research that spans many documents. Whatever
is shared retains the timeline, or evolution, of the changes comprising its
development. Very similar to repositories in source control software like

I've started developing (A) as a web-based prototype
https://github.com/lifeinchords/parallels, though for this to really
function fluidly, I see it existing one level higher than a web platform,
but on the OS level: as a GUI layer to a cloud-based linux distro

My goal is to get a web-based prototype with the core ideas working by
year's end, get it in the hands of users in a variety of contexts:
education, design + engineering, art etc..  and then apply for larger
grants and funding next year to push it further.

This project touches on elements/issues present in many OKF projects,
including metadata, annotation, copyright, attribution etc, and so I'd love
to hear any ideas, critiques, references you may have. Also, if you want to
contribute, please let me know!

A more detailed writeup is here :

Looking forward to starting a conversation!

=: Steven J. Dale    @lifeinchords
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/okfn-labs/attachments/20130730/febb18a6/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the okfn-labs mailing list