[Note: The following is a transcript from the Facebook P2P Group of threads discussing some possible directions for the information technology we may wish to apply to our work. The bulk (not all) of the discussion is of a technical nature assuming some information science or software engineering background. This conversation transpired over seven days in October…]
Poor Richard: I hope no one will mind if I indulge in a little visioneering here. I am imagining an information system of P2P practice and research. The P2P collaborative economy, free culture, and new commons movements are creating a lot of digital content. Most is in discursive and narrative form that is time consuming to read. Among this volume of content are case studies in a variety of formats (many very informal), business plans, proposals, and presumably many legal documents (charters, agreements, etc.).
I am imagining a semantic ontology according to which the key ideas and data of this content could be parsed and tagged to form a distributed database using semantic linked-data structures. This would help transition the collective knowledge base of the research, activist, and social entrepreneurial communities into a machine-readable, semantically linked, searchable form.
The P2P Foundation Wiki is an excellent searchable resource, and perhaps the semantic wiki extensions for the wiki engine could eventually be applied. “A semantic wiki is a wiki that has an underlying model of the knowledge described in its pages. Regular, or syntactic, wikis have structured text and untyped hyperlinks. Semantic wikis, on the other hand, provide the ability to capture or identify information about the data within pages, and the relationships between pages, in ways that can be queried or exported like a database.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_wiki
A fringe benefit of creating such data structures for existing content would be to provide common templates for future content creation and data collection.