Collective Sensemaking in a Knowledge Federation

The term I prefer for this is Knowledge Gardening.

Let me introduce the elements of knowledge gardening as I sketch them in my slides from the Knowledge Federation 2008 conference. The elements are these:

  • Tagging: leaving trails, markers, scents, reminders
  • Annotating: lifting key ideas, questions, and arguments out of much larger resources, creating addressable information resources in small chunks
  • Connecting: linking small and large chunks (ideas, etc) using semantic relations; Cohere calls the links coherence relations
  • Federating: bringing together all knowable information resources in a subject-centric fashion, without filtering; filtering is a social process left to those who participate in the federation and should not be performed when resources are merged into other resources according to the rules of subject-centric federation (topic maps merging processes)

Subject-centric federation aims to bring all beliefs, world views, facts, and so forth together without filters. It’s reasonable to expect that a lot of so-called noise will enter into the knowledge base; deciding what is noise and what is signal must be left to social processes. To deal with noise, we anticipate the application of tags as filters, reputation and trust and value metrics, and other devices will combine with user interface filters (sorts) to mitigate issues associated with noise and allow users to create experiences that provide the highest possible signal to noise ratio according to individual criteria.