Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Institutions and the Web done better

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
If you can wrap your mind around the challenge of moving "from document to data" then you'll have some idea of what may lay ahead for the web - and hence, for educational uses of the web. It's not the easiest thing to imagine. We are drawn, almost inextricably, toward a document-oriented way of thinking about content and information: not just books and essays, but forms, spreadsheets, certificates, policies, and pretty much anything else that constitutes a modern enterprise is thought of in terms of documents. In terms of bundles of one or more sheets (of paper). Data isn't like that. It doesn't rest in a document - it is fed (dynamically) into documents (which are now disposable). It's fluid, and micro-grained. And - on the web - it can be accessible anywhere.

Why is this crucial? It all goes to how we design what we're doing. "A traditional, well-designed website will be based on some sort of understood ‘information architecture', however simple. The idea of starting with important ‘entities' and making sure that they have sensible, managed and reliable identifiers is a somewhat newer approach, yet this is vital for the Web of data to function. The Web of data is, at one level, entirely about identifiers and how they link together." This is definitely how I want to work going forward - but first I have to fill a 'project document' to enable the process.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 12, 2024 11:48 a.m.

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