Relating Human Knowledge

Here’s a few random “talking points”:

Hypercard  ( – an awesome app that Apple created “in the day”, letting people create their own “knowledge stacks” and how each “card” in the stack relates to other “cards.”

NIEM (, recognizing that data is persisted in unique schemata but needs to be exchanged in a common understandable way.  But rather than forcing a particular communication protocol, data exchange in NIEM is extensible by leveraging XML and XSD to essentially “define the definition.”

Semantic Structures ( – “encodes meanings separately from data and content files, and separately from application code.”  OK, fine, but what we need is meaning encoded WITH data, not separate from data.

So – what am I getting at?

1. People need autonomy in how they work with data and how they want to persist data.
2. However, for people to be effective, we need a way to query and exchange information meaningfully
3. “Information” has little worth.  “Knowledge” has great worth, and one definition for knowledge, in my thinking is “information with meaning.”  Another definition might be “knowledge is the relationship of information.”

Then, we finally get to visualization technologies, such as mapping in general and metamaps in specific as a way to explore the relationships between information.  Key though, to any visualization system is that it must be “living”:

1. I need to be able to see and create the relationships that are meaningful in my context (the micro-context of my “dataset”)
2. Information and relationships need to be continually growing, in and of themselves (the macro-context of the “dataset”)

Share your thoughts!


One thought on “Relating Human Knowledge

  1. What we need is a Knowledge Tree as I call it. A backbone structure that organizes knowledge and info packets/seeds/fruits/whatever to call it and allows people to view and add to it.

    Consider your typical “knowledge base”. You have to do free form text string searches on a myriad number of text entries which may or may not be relevant or in or out of date. Very slow and ponderous. If the topics were organized in a tree structure with multiple views then information retrieval and updating would be much more efficient. The current system is much like a library without a book numbering/classification scheme. Image going to a library to look up something and having to paw through jumbled piles of books randomly distributed throughout the many floors of the library….

    – Grant

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