KN^2 Knowledge Networking Knowledge Networking v.1.0.b

1. How did KN^2 get started?

In the late 1990s, a number of ethnographers got involved in projects to study knowledge networking in organizations. David Hakken, a cyberspace anthropologist from the State University of New York, developed a project to network the knowledge that each of them gained in their field sites. This project evolved into the set of tools and resources that support the website that you have now accessed. The website is itself part of an action research project on using automated information technology to support the broadest possible knowledge networking.

2. How is KN^2 supported?

This website was designed and implemented by a planning grant from the Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology of the US National Science Foundation and maintained by Cultural Practices, a techology and action research consulting organization.

3. What is the Open Source/Free Software Movement?

OS/FS is an “open” approach to computing, one that maximizes the extent to which computing practices extend knowledge networking rather than limit it. Under “open source,” like in the Linux operating system kernel, the movement makes available for examination and change the coding that goes into all the software used, rather than trying to make software into something privately owned or “proprietary.” Under “free software,” the movement makes software available under the least restrictive conditions and at the lowest possible cost.

4. In what sense is KN^2 part of the OS/FS Movement?

All the software used to support this website is free and open sourced, available for use by anyone willing to keep it so. You can modify it for any purpose, as long as these modifications are themselves available to others on the same conditions. For this to come about, a special agreement had to be negotiated with the Research Foundation of the State University of New York. Contact David Hakken for details of this agreement.


A new initiative which is worth following involves Manuel Castells and Linus Torvalds: Berkeley Center for the Information Society.

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