[unrev-II] OHS / DKR problem revisited

From: Garold L. Johnson (dynalt@dynalt.com)
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 11:04:29 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Is "bootstrapping" part of the problem?"

    I would like to try to capture what I think Paul and I have covered so far.

    * This community is interested in developing and promoting an OHS /
    DKR system.
    * Since tools are built with a function in mind, it makes sense to
    look at the uses to which KM can be applied. This gives rise to the
    investigation of the large scale problems addressed by the colloquium.
    * What can we learn from a study of problems for KM application?
    o These problems are socio-technical in nature. Most of them are more
    social than technical.
    o Solutions to these problems will be socio-technical. Solutions will
    be developed and implemented by groups of individuals collaborating in their
    solution. Therefore, tools which facilitate collaboration will facilitate
    the solution of many of these problems.
    o We need to distinguish the investigation of the nature of the
    problems and the attempt to solve the problems. From a KM development
    perspective, the nature of the effort to solve the problem drives
    requirements. Some investigation will be required in order to prototype, but
    it would be better if we could tackle problems that we know we can solve so
    that we can tell when our tools are helping. If we fail to solve a major
    social problem with our evolving tool, is it the tools or the problem?
    * How should we proceed to develop such KM solutions?
    o We need to reach agreement on what the tools should do.
    o We need to use the tools to determine that they really contribute
    to problem solution.
    o We need to iterate the solution and the requirements as necessary
    until the tools become useful for larger problems.
    o All of this would be a lot easier if we already had the sort of
    system that we wish to build! It sure sounds like bootstrapping to me!
    * What can we say about the nature of the KM tools we want? Without
    trying to do all of the requirements analysis in one shot, here are some
    things that seem obvious.
    * Scalability
    o We need to be able to represent addressable atoms of information.
    The kinds of information, the nature of the representation, and the
    operations that can be performed on them is part of the problem
    o Since all input from the system will be by individuals, a
    successful tools will be usable by a single individual for managing the
    information with which he is directly involved. Start of scalability is 1
    o The next step beyond the individual is communication with other
    individuals. This is essentially publishing at varying levels of formality.
    o Beyond publishing is accepting feedback.
    o Beyond feedback is collaboration.
    o Beyond collaboration is ???
    * Functionality
    o Studies show that people resist formalisms in capturing information
    even if they use such conventions by observations.
    http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/~shipman/aiedam/aiedam.html Given this, we need
    ways to capture information as it arises, and connect it in various ways
    o The tools need to allow us to capture and organization generated
    * Free text to support totally formless, formality-free information
    * Outline capability to support hierarchy. Hierarchy can be
    overused, but it is still a way to organize and manipulate information.
    * Indexing support tools. Both automated tools and ways to add
    indexing to existing material.
    * Multiple hierarchies and networks. Hierarchy assumes that there is
    a single location for any piece of information, a single classification
    taxonomy. Humans donít work that way. We use multiple hierarchies and
    networks to classify and organize experience.
    * Easy reference to existing material.
    * Hyperlinking in as much generality as we can envision uses for.
    * Ease of gathering and reorganizing existing information.
    Refactoring is necessary since abstractions evolve over time, and
    classification structures change.
    It seems to me that an approach similar to this has the following
    * It will provide tools that a single individual can use on a local
    * Information organized using the individual tools will be able to be
    published to a web site and maintained there by the individual.
    * Tools will scale from there to allow feedback, and then
    * Both individual and web site information can be merged easily either
    between individuals or web sites or central repositories.
    If we do this, we will have tools useful at various levels that can be
    applied to the problem of developing the tools themselves and also to the
    problems that we are developing the tools to address. At any point that the
    tools reach the scale where they are sufficient to any specific problem,
    that problem may be attacked in earnest by those people concerned with the

    ďYou canít start from where you arenít, you have to start from where you

    What tools do we have that we can start to use for discussing the
    development of the KM tools.
    * This egroup and similar email lists. This is a communication tools
    with little or no ability to post-process the data. Following it up with
    tools to help organize the information would help. Question: Will this
    egroup support the correct use of the ďin-reply-toĒ field so that we can
    vary the subject within a thread? Does this break the tools that people use
    * WikiWeb, manila or similar editable sites. This works well for
    information that has some persistence. It allows refactoring and some kinds
    of indexing. I believe that there is already one at
    o The source for several varieties of Wiki is available so that the
    tool can be extended in various ways
    o There is a substantial community of experience in the use of Wiki
    that we can draw upon.
    o All information is available in straight text allowing relatively
    easy analysis and post-processing.
    * Weblogs, journals, or import of email data to Wiki style repository.
    * Other, possibly proprietary tools? I donít know abut these. SDS has
    been mentioned. Augment/NLS exists. There may be other systems that could be
    * Open Source development support systems when we get to the point
    that it makes sense.
    o SourceForge provides all kinds of tools for managing an open source
    o Issue tracking systems that are web based
    o Requirements tools
    o Nearly any existing tools to support collaboration among software
    o General collaboration spaces such as Groove, BCSW, etc.
    o Others?
    I think that this provides a good base for collaboration. I would like to
    see a good outliner with HTML or Wiki pages as a result. Thinker <
    http://www.webcom.com/thinker> sounds good, but I havenít been able to get
    it installed.

    That should be enough to get a discussion started! <g>


    Garold (Gary) L. Johnson

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