Re: [unrev-II] Upcoming Agenda Items

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Tue Apr 25 2000 - 14:31:56 PDT

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] Why WBI?"

    Jack Park wrote:
    > An open question, one that I am not able to answer by mining Dougs
    > writing, asks if what we intend to build in a DKR is, indeed, a public
    > knowledge acquisition system (as opposed to, say, a searchable
    > database of factoids entered by users).
    Yes. To the point. We is it that we intend to build?

    > Knowledge can be acquired in many ways, including those ensconsed in
    > instructivist, and constructivist theories.
    I need more background on these. Can you elaborate?

    > As a public system, one
    > involved presumably in the activities of a broad range of cultures,
    > the DKR will have to present views to individual users that most likely
    > cannot be uniform in nature. Those views, however, will have to be
    > derived from a central repository. This leads me to suspect that
    > issues involved with transcoding will be of greatest importance to
    > the project.
    I'm inclined to agree -- on the limited basis of transcoding information
    *in* the repository for the purpose of getting information back out.
    That possibility takes on great importance in the context of some
    *abstract* knowledge representation -- the transcoding then presents the
    information in a language or graphical system that the user can

    > ...We can imagine a scenario where the DKR is
    > seeded with numerious factoids (instructivist teaching). We can also
    > imagine a scenario where the DKR bootstraps itself (constructivist
    > learning).
    I think I've got a handle on instructivism now. But I don't get this
    "self-bootstraping" concept, yet.

    > Perhaps a middle ground is one in which we seed the DKR with CT, then
    > begin "talking" to it.
    > My main point here is that at some time soon, the use cases should
    > instruct us as to which of the three scenarios will guide DKR design.
    Seems reasonable.

    > It seems to me that if we are going to build from the constructivist
    > view point, then it is likely way too early to decide what the atomic
    > structures might look like; I suspect they will look completely
    > different from a design that would satisfy
    > an instructivist project. Formalizing use cases implies agreement on a
    > larger picture of the DKR.
    I agree that data structure design is "premature", given a waterfall
    design model. However, as pointed out in Conklin's excellent paper, the
    design process jumps all over the place as a matter of course. The
    difficulty in a collaborative setting is that individuals bounce to
    different levels at different times, making it hard to reach agreement
    on what the "right" next step is.

    The IBIS-inspired repository I see (for which the email archive is a
    weak approximation) lets me put forth the "Atomic Data Structure"
    proposal as an alternative under the question: "What data structure(s)
    should we use?"
    The nice thing about that process is that it leaves room for several
    other proposals, as they occur to people.

    Note that there is nothing wrong with the timing of the proposal. Now is
    as good a time as any. However, it is clearly the wrong time to
    *evaluate* that proposal until, as you say, we have clearly defined what
    it is that we intend to build, and how we expect it to work. At that
    point, we can begin to evaluate alternatives with a sense of direction.

    [For me, constructing that proposal was an act of love. The problem
    first appeared on my radar 15 years ago, when I began thinking about how
    to extend the hierarchical paradigm in useful ways. Coming up with an
    "atomic data structure" scratched a long and lingering psychic itch...]

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