U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Wikis, Semantics, and Collaboration

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Designing software for collaborative sensemaking environments begins with a set of very challenging requirements. At a high level, the software needs to be flexible enough to support multiple lines of inquiry, contradictory hypotheses, and collaborative tasking by multiple analysts. It should also include support for managing evolving human/machine workflows and analytic products at various levels of strictness and formality, processing partial and ambiguous evidence arriving in streams, and developing explanatory scenarios based on both serendipitous and structured discovery. Eventually, it should support the analytic team as they evaluate multiple alternatives and converge on one or more consensus responses, while preserving the history and underlying reasoning. Finally, it should be delightful and simple to use, not require an inordinate degree of precision and exactness, and be quickly and inexpensively deployable in a variety of rapid-response analytic situations. It has not been possible thus far to create a single software architecture that adequately balances all these goals. However, we can shed useful light on this problem by looking at the experience of semantic wiki architectures: an emerging class of software that blends wikis, databases, social tagging systems, and Semantic Web representations.
Greaves MT. 2014. "Wikis, Semantics, and Collaboration." Abstract submitted to Symposium on Collaboration Analysis and Reasoning Systems, at the 2014 Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems, Minneapolis, Minnesota. PNNL-SA-101599.
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