Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Knowledge Representation … A Visual Cloud

The many metaphors for knowledge to allow rapid assimilation all revolve around being able to “see” ideas and thoughts … think to the rapid growth of tagging of information in enabling the rapid sifting of ideas and information … tagging has reached an almost ubiquitous status in web 2.0 tools …

The cloud has also enabled individuals to use the collective abilities of the “group” to bring value to knowledge that is disbursed and diverse without boundaries or distinctions.  Think of the explosion of knowledge that has occurred over the past few decades … more than all the knowledge combined since the first century of our existence … with this explosion comes the problem of how to address the information and the inception of the term “information overload” …

How can we take advantage of all these bits of isolated information without having things fall through the cracks.  A seemingly daunting task for any individual and collectively more impossible for an organization.

Consider the use of several tools that are “off the shelf” presently and can be combined to create a community application that may be of great value.  I believe the core application to be a mind map to visually represent a presentation, thought or idea.  By using the map as a methodology to distill the essence of any knowledge is the initial building block.  This thought occurred to me today as I discovered Academic Earth which has videos and audios of thousands of lectures and presentations from some of the greatest thinkers and professors from the top of the academic food chain.

If you take any lecture, one could deconstruct the message and create a map showing the knowledge and how it is presented all within the confines of a “picture” of the presentation.  Now link all these presentation maps and tag them to form a cloud of knowledge.  By then operating this large undertaking in the cloud, you would create a readily accessible and efficient repository of great ideas and thoughts.  Since most modern mapping applications have built in search engines, this combined knowledge map would have the uncanny ability to then reference any mention of key terms and create a knowledge mashup on demand.

By combining the visual clarity of a mindmap and the ability to view information on many levels along with the ability to electronically sort and combine, one has created a super set of knowledge which can add great utility to organizations or communities.

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