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Announcement: Online Knowledge Bases

“Knowledge Base” here to refers to sites or projects which have employed some kind of innovation or collaborative approach to knowledge-shaping on the Internet.

Google’s Knol

Knol is a new publishing platform in testing by Google. Compared to Wikipedia, Knol differs in one crucial aspect: authorial transparency. “Knols,” or pages, are created by one author who then has editorial control over the article. Other users may submit revisions to the author, but they may not edit the page on their own. Knol will include multiple pages on the same topic and will allow users to rate and comment upon individual “knols.” As of this writing, Knol is in a preliminary testing phase and there is no projected public release date.

Starter Links: Google Blog announcing Knol | C|Net Article |

History Flow

History Flow is a tool created by Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenburg as part of the IBM Collaborative User Experience Research Group. Viegas’ and Wattenburg’s creation visualizes “dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors. In its current implementation, history flow is being used to visualize the evolutionary history of wiki* pages on Wikipedia” (history flow home page). The tool works by color coding edits according to the user who makes the changes. The result is a richly detailed visual overview of the life of a page. History Flow’s outputs allow visual analysis of issues critical to the credibility of Wikipedia, such as collaboration, vandalism, edit wars, etc.

Starter Links: History Flow home page | IBM Collaborative User Experience home page | Wikipedia

LibraryThingTransliteracies Research Report

A website that allows users to catalogue their personal libraries.

“LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth” (LibraryThing website).

Starter Links: LibraryThing website

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

Connexions

An online knowledge base for building courses and textbooks.

“For authors and instructors worldwide, Connexions combines free authoring, course building, and publishing tools with an open-access content repository (see cnx.org). For students, it provides modular, interactive courses that are freely accessible. In Connexions, an author can create “modules” of information that are small documents intended to communicate a concept, a procedure, or a set of questions. String some modules together, and you have a web course or textbook, or weave a curriculum entirely of your choosing. Connexions directly challenges the current notion of a “textbook” by exploding it and asking different people to create its parts in a semi-structured but re-configurable manner, rather than having a single Maestro do it all and take all the credit. All Connexions content is open-licensed using the Creative Commons attribution license. All Connexions tools are free and open source.” (Connexions Overview .pdf file)

Starter Links:
Connexions | Overview document

iTunes U

Apple-owned initiative that allows students and universities to share content online.

“iTunes U* is a free, hosted service for colleges and universities that provides easy access to their educational content, including lectures and interviews, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Based on the same easy-to-use technology of the iTunes Store, iTunes U also offers typical Apple simplicity and portability. Through iTunes U, students can download content to their Macs or PCs, regardless of their location. They can listen to and view that content on their Mac or PC, or transfer it to iPod for listening or viewing on the go. Instructors can easily post and change content on their own without impacting the IT department. And, of course, students can upload their own content to share with professors or with the class.” (From the iTunes U home page.)

Starter Links: iTunes U | related article from the Michigan Business Review

Collex Transliteracies Research Report

Developed by ARP (Applied Research in Patacriticism) in collaboration with NINES (Networked Interface for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship), Collex allows a user to access resources from nine different online scholarly resources. Using semantic web technologies, Collex facilitates collaborative research and access to a variety of sources, while retaining the unique characteristics of each source. Resources are added on an on-going basis as they are evaluated by the NINES editorial team.

“Users of the web-based NINES aggregation can now, through Collex 1.0:

  • perform text searches on finding aids for all 45,000 digital objects in the system;

  • search full-text content across participating sites (currently Rossetti, Swinburne, and Poetess);

  • browse common metadata fields (dates, genres, names, etc.) across all objects in a non-hierarchical, faceted manner;

  • constrain their search and browse operations to generate highly-individualized results;

  • create personal accounts on the system to save and share their research work;
    publicly tag, privately annotate, and ultimately “collect” digital objects located through Collex or in browsing NINES-affiliated sites;

  • browse their own and others’ collections in an integrated sidebar interface;
    and discover new, related objects of interest through the Collex “more like this” feature”.
(from the NINES Collex press release)

Starter Links: Collex | NINES website | ARP Collex Blog | ARP Webpage

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

Turning the Pages

British Library projects that allows the online user to view items held in the Library’s special collections.

“Turning the Pages is the award-winning interactive program that allows museums and libraries to give members of the public access to precious books while keeping the originals safely under glass. Initially developed by and for the British Library, it is now available as a service for institutions and private collectors around the world.

Turning the Pages allows visitors to virtually ‘turn’ the pages of manuscripts in a realistic way, using touch-screen technology and interactive animation. They can zoom in on the high- quality digitised images and read or listen to notes explaining the beauty and significance of each page. There are other features specific to the individual manuscripts. In a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, for example, a button turns the text round so visitors can read his famous ‘mirror’ handwriting.” (From the Project’s web site.)

Starter Links: Turning the Pages | BBC article on their digitization of Mozart’s diaries as part of the project | BBC article about their digitization of what was to become Alice in Wonderland

ISI Web of Knowledge

Online service that manages access to archives of hundreds of academic journals, across disciplines.

“Coverage of 22,000 journals, 23 million patents, 12,000 conference proceedings, 5,500 Web sites, 5,000 books, 2 million chemical structures, and now scholarly Web content via the Web Citation Index.? (from About ISI Web of Knowledge.)

Starter Links: ISI Web of Knowledge

The Scholarly Journal Archive

Online resource manages access to archives of hundreds of academic journals, across disciplines.

“JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization with a dual mission to create and maintain a trusted archive of important scholarly journals, and to provide access to these journals as widely as possible. JSTOR offers researchers the ability to retrieve high-resolution, scanned images of journal issues and pages as they were originally designed, printed, and illustrated. Content in JSTOR spans many disciplines. ” (from JSTOR.)

Starter Links: JSTOR

Wikipedia.orgTransliteracies Research Report

Collaborative online knowledge base that allows readers and users to contribute to and edit its encyclopedic-like entries.

“The content of Wikipedia is free, written collaboratively by people from all around the world. This website is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit entries simply by clicking on the edit this page link. Begun in 2001, Wikipedia has rapidly grown into the largest reference website on the Internet…Because Wikipedia is an ongoing work to which anybody with Internet access can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in some very important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this in order to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation which has been recently added and not yet removed.” (from Wikipedia)

Starter Links: Wikipedia.org | Article about the contraversial use of wikis

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight