Organization of a Navigable Problem-Solution-Learning Space

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Project date: 1996

This was a preliminary draft proposal for Intelligent - Information - Interfaces submitted in 1996 to European Commission DG XII.

The project concerned the development of interfaces which would enable a variety of Web users to interact with, and modify, information on a range of conceptual entities relating to current challenges of governance and community organization. Some of these entities were already managed in databases on the Web. In the case of the UIA, the entities profiled and interlinked in extensive relational databases included: world problems, international organizations, organization strategies, human values, international conferences.

The various conceptual entities, and their relationships, were considered as defining a shared information space inhabited by a dynamic collection of organizational actors, activitist networks, and individuals seeking to position themselves more fruitfully in relation to the global 'problematique', 'resolutique', and 'imaginatique' -- and who were themselves the source of such information. Users would have inhabited this space as 'embodied entities' either in their own 'unaffiliated' right or through representations of collectivities --such as local, national or international organizations, and they would have interacted with other 'disembodied entities'.

Users of such information would have ranged from the general public, through researchers, students, information and hyperlink editors, journalists, to policy-makers -- especially amongst international organizations, including citizens movements, or in relation to their activities. Requirements of the interface included facilitation of collective learning, and formulation and undertaking of initiatives by coalitions of partners within this space. It was specifically envisaged as a meaningful bridge between non-specialist and specialist users. In this sense non-specialists work, would augment and enrich the space according to their understanding, even though their focus may effectively fragment or dismember the shared space. Specialists might have sought new ways to configure the space and maintain its coherence, whilst preserving an appearance of fragmentation for participants for whom this would have been meaningful.