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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Organic Growth of Knowledge

Eric Armstrong wrote:    (01)

> It is here that the *Brilliant Idea*(TM) enters in.
> Using a form of intellectual judo, I propose accumulating topical
> classifications organically, precisely because they let people be    (02)

> *lazy*.    (03)

I think this is a necessary and pragmatic presumption for success.
I wouldn't call it necessarily "lazy" though, as in my experience
working as a consultant at a university, the faculty I was helping
were already overburdened -- they didn't want to have to learn any
new tools or technologies -- they just wanted the job to get done.
When people come to search for content, they already have a task
in front of them, they don't want the search itself to become
another task. It should be almost invisible.    (04)

> The people most motivated to do so, I believe, are people doing support,
> because accessible knowledge can save them from having to spend their
> time answering the same question over and over and....
> But a knowledge base that makes it possible for people to find answers
> themselves requires a lot of categorization and extra overhead.
> So my suggestion (and prediction) is that support personnel will become
> ontologists. Whenever a user query fails to find an answer that the
> support personnel, with their superior intelligence, *can* find, they
> will take a moment to make make the KB a little "smarter".
> They may add a concept to the ontology, refine a scope, or use existing
> ontology entries to further categorize extant information, so it can be
> more easily found in the future.
> Over time, knowledge will accrete, because the "extra effort" entailed
> in categorizing will be paid back with an overall savings in effort.    (05)

I would suggest this idea be taken to the library community, who
already perform many of these amazing feats, though usually enabled
by what's in an experienced librarian's head. Being able to augment
what a librarian (or library) does in ways similar to your description
above seems like a very reasonable (and tractable) project.    (06)

> One can imagine measurement systems, in fact, that track ontology
> changes and categorizations, and rate personnel on the number of
> questions automatically answered in a satisfactory manner as a result
> of the interventions.
> I believe the whole system is expedited by purple numbers, even though
> they are not a necessary precondition. With them, sections of existing
> material can be easily categorized, without having to break it up into
> multiple parts. That makes it lot easier to incorporate existing
> documents, without having to build the KB from scratch.
> But if one were to invest extra effort in building the KB, it would be
> possible to get by without the fine grained addressing that purple
> numbers provide.    (07)

In a library situation, resources are already tracked. It may be that
granularity of those resources is at issue, but perhaps not. It sounds
to a great degree like a classical search problem in the end.    (08)

But on the whole, it does sound a bit brilliant! Too bad it'd likely
be a product rather than a new way of functioning. We don't need any
more products. And with the US patent office and scores of lawyers,
anyone attempting to work in that arena would be sued. (gad, do I
sound the pessimist lately!) I need some of your optimism, Eric.    (09)

Murray    (010)

Murray Altheim                  <http://kmi.open.ac.uk/people/murray/>
Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK    (011)

      If it wants to be a global power and a player in the
      Atlantic alliance, Europe has to get back into the
      business of making war. -- Newsweek Magazine, June 3, 2002    (012)