Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wilbanks on cyberinfrastructure

John Wilbanks, Cyberinfrastructure, University Policy, Innovation, john wilbanks' blog, February 21, 2008.

... [One-to-many] is an incredibly powerful idea – I bind myself to fulfill the deal, no matter who accepts it. To reference Tony Hey's wording, the transformation of data to information to knowledge is the key. But if we exact technical, legal, social transaction costs at each step of the transformation, the alchemical transformation, from raw data to usable knowledge, fails. The one to many offer is one of the only non-miraculous tools available to us ...

Thus, the web recapitulates aspects of the network itself. Rather than a feature-rich hypermedia and IP restricted system like dynatext, the simple version with the minimum amount of control exploded, into something it was not designed for – its end goal was to make it easy to get CERN data to other places, and get data from other places to CERN. I once asked [Tim Berners-Lee] what surprised him most about the web in 2004 and he said google – not because of the size of the web or the power of the search, but simply that there was enough storage and processing power to download, store, and compute across something that big. The innovations frequently come from lateral thinking.

So perhaps our end goal is enable things we can’t imagine, to create a world in which knowledge can be used the way we use content. ...