Stewart Nickolas, creator of IBM’s QEDWiki, working in the Emerging Technologies group in IBM for the past five years, will be a keynote speaker at WikiSym 2008.
We interviewed him by e-mail to know more about his involvement with wikis and web-related issues, concretely OpenAjax and application wikis.
Q: How is the OpenAjax Alliance related to wikis?
The OpenAjax organization was created a few years ago and is dedicated to the successful adoption of open and interoperable Ajax-based web technologies. Within the Alliance there are several working groups actively addressing key challenges in achieving interoperability across the many Ajax toolkits. Some of the challenges include: How can toolkits coexist on a single page without corrupting the page? How do toolkits communicate with one another on the same page? How are widgets described in a common way so that aggregation canvases such as Wikis, Mashup Makers and traditional IDEs can use the widgets? Through our work with QEDWiki we recognized the importance of hosting content from multiple providers. Each content provider may use different Ajax toolkits to deliver a rich experience within a single page. To address this problem we originally developed a proprietary proof-of-concept technology for QED; however, we felt it was necessary to have open standards to enable and extend the content delivery ecosystem around Wikis, Mashups & content providers.
Tim Berners-Lee’s intended the web to be writeable by all. Yet, for decades it’s been stuck in a “read mostly” mode. Everyone web surfs, some add content but very few really get to fundamentally re-express and re-structure web content. We know this. We wiki. Problem is, many don’t.
It is hoped that the icon will draw contributions to wiki-based sites, by serving as a reminder to how changeable they are.
Martin Cleaver, Blended Perspectives. Toronto, Canada.
Wiki farm: a website that offers to the public a sectioned-off set of wiki pages
It’s evident that Wiki Farms, such as PBWiki, Wetpaint, Wikia and WikiSpaces are growing rapidly. Many content producers don’t have the resources or desire to install their own wiki platform behind the firewall or they want to dabble first, so these sites act as great places to experiment while allowing someone else to manage the content.
Typical users are professors at universities and colleges, who assign their students homework on them, towns, many not for profits and groups of knowledge specialists (such as legal, medical and accounting) who have the need to share effort or align on approach. The result is these sites act as wellpools into which effort is gravitated and content collects around seeds of common interest.
Martin Cleaver Toronto, Canada
Well, the deadline for posters has just passed, and for sure we have some interesting titles!
I won’t tell you who submitted what because until we’ve read them and made commitments I can’t promise they will materialize. But, I will go so far as to whet your appetite!
- Wiki intranets, Open Assessment, Maturity Models, Innovation Processes, Social Semantics, Analyzing large wikis
- Specifics for the Heath Sector
Notable, was that in addition to research contributed by our university crowd, are the companies submitting works to WikiSym Demos and Posters. These include: BT Group, Bosch, Microsoft, Vodaphone, and Sun – their offerings are certainly testament that cutting-edge firms are breaking ground with wikis.
George Landow, Professor of Art and History at Brown University, will be one of the two keynote speakers at WikiSym 2008.
We interviewed him by e-mail to get more information on how he became involved with wikis and web-related issues, as well as information on his point of view on wikis and society nowadays.
Q: How did an English and History of Art Professor get involved with web and wikis?
Martin Cleaver MSc MBA. Blended Perspectives, Toronto.
To improve business performance and to out-compete, an organization needs not only advantageous information but also to act upon it. Organizations that depend on a few key staff to gather information to help inform strategists who then “tell” the “workers” what to do will be at a disadvantage compared to those that “crowd source” to collect and consolidate ideas, observations and plans from hundreds of people who will have to execute that strategy.
Few companies have a shortage of information, for we all have Google. The issue is too much, unconsolidated, unactionable information.
Martin Cleaver. Blended Perspectives, Toronto Canada
What makes your wiki technology special? Do you build encyclopedias or applications?
While wikis are best known as a means to co-create knowledge, our industry is heating up and progress is being made in all sorts of technically interesting areas. If your organization is interested in cutting-edge wiki functionality, you’ll likely want to come to WikiSym.
Wikis primary involve humans adding and pushing content around. Knowledge becomes profound when the most universally useful ideas are presented first. Do you have tools that surface content that relate to the roots of knowledge? Perhaps you have or have dreamt of innovations at the editing layer to shuffle content between pages?