Semantic Time Travelling - Tagging and branching knowledge with SMW (a vision)
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Semantic MediaWiki is a natural fit for many knowledge management needs. It enables communities to collaborate on a growing and evolving body of knowledge. This is a Good Thing, but at the same time ...
Semantic MediaWiki is a natural fit for many knowledge management needs. It enables communities to collaborate on a growing and evolving body of knowledge. This is a Good Thing, but at the same time poses some interesting questions - especially in an enterprise setting. Many organizations have quite strict procedures for approving certain 'versions' of the body of knowledge. In our architecture consultancy, for instance, we frequently encounter the situation that an architecture board formally and periodically determines the contents of a new version of the architecture. Even though there are several extensions (such as ApprovedRevs and FlaggedRevs, Semantic History or Semantic Watchlist) that support this kind of approval cycle to a certain extent, this support only goes so far.
There is an interesting analogy to be drawn with the way code development works. Here, too, we see communities (of developers) that contribute to a shared body of knowledge (the code base). And unlike the knowledge management community, the coding community has several proven tools to manage the release of new versions. Most serious development efforts are supported by version control systems such as Git, Subversion and CVS. When a new version of the software is released, the code is 'tagged' so that the state of the code base at the time of release can always be reproduced. The code base can also be 'branched out' to maintain earlier releases or to try out new ideas without disturbing progress of the main development. This is what we need for knowledge too!
In this talk, I would like to explore with the audience the possibilities to 'travel through time' in Semantic MediaWiki, borrowing concepts and ideas from version control systems. What does it mean to 'tag' and 'branch' knowledge? What are the use cases? And what would it take to implement this in SMW?
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