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by Jay Fienberg

PlaNetwork conference, wiki, chat, and aggregation

posted: Jun 8, 2003 8:16:19 PM

Blogging the PlaNetwork conference in San Francisco.

I am at the Collaboratory wrap-up. Eugene Kim is talking. He just showed the log of the irc chat that has been going on during the conference (he showed a section where I was chatting with Mako Hill while he was on-stage about to give his presentation). Here is a link to the discussion logs.

Eugene was also showing how the PlaNetwork collaboratory site was aggregating blog headlines from the conference topic exchange. He is talking about the conference wiki now.

Wiki was used extensively in the conference in what were called assembler sessions. People also used the wiki to take notes on sessions. Here is a link to the wiki entry for the Online Communities session that I didn't go to because it was scheduled at the same time as the Digital Bill of Rights session (which I blogged about here).

Eugene is saying lots of good things about how the wiki helped the whole conference. It is really great to hear that people creatively used the wiki. He is saying how the quality of information evolved and people who were not technical ventured into learning to use the wiki. People had fun and started to create a good reporting of the conference.

So, check out the PlaNetworks wiki. I would be curious to hear what people who weren't here think of it. At the moment, I am too much in the middle of the conference to really absorb what is in the wiki in any kind of critical way (in terms of things I am into, like information architecture, user interface, usability, cross-referencing, and other things that might attract me to use this wiki ongoing).

I will definitely look back at this in a month or two and see what I get out of it from that perspective. In any case, it sounds like the wiki was useful for people here who, in real time, were wanting to track what was going on.

Gail Taylor is presenting now about collective intelligence and how what we feel and understand together here as a group may be lost when we are apart, but can be there when we get back together. (She is referring to studies that find that this does occur, and I certainly have experienced this phenomenom.)

So, it is interesting to consider how a tool like wiki might keep this collective intelligence alive. I don't think it can capture it altogether as much as remind each of us how to plug into that intelligence. But, I don't really know.

As a (former) librarian, I am always interested in the power of books. What makes books work so well is that authors embed huge amounts of energy into the pages to convey a message. In other words, a book conveys the intelligence of its author into a context separate from its author.

I think tools like wiki (and I am curious to see too how I make use of my own blog entries of the conference in the future) can work in this way. But, I think it may depend on how much energy people put into conveying their thoughts and understanding through the medium. This is my first time being part of something like this where these kinds of tools were used. So, I am really curious about this (and, like I said, I am curious about this even with regards to my own blog for myself).

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