To what extent can the same technological infrastructure be used to support all of the aspects of knowledge networking, or do we need different infrastructures for different aspects or forms of the process? This is a key research question for Networking Knowledgescapes. To answer it, we need projects that produce better knowledge both about the different aspects of knowledge networking and about which technologies help and how.
To investigate this question, Knowledge Networking has launched two deliberately different prototype knowledge networks. The Networking Anthropological Knowledge prototype, oriented toward the academic discipline of anthropology, supports the creation of new knowledge about…knowledge!
Anthropology has a long history of gathering knowledge about knowledge in different cultures. Until recently, however, anthropologists tended to treat their knowledge in the same way of most other Western scholars did, as an abstract thing separable from its context, something which it was important to separate from the social processes that produced it, both those of the “native” and the anthropologist. The critique of standard approaches to knowledge often associated with “the linguistic turn” in anthropology, or Postmodernism elsewhere, prompted a reassessment of anthropological knowledge. Combined with awareness of the potentials of new knowledge networking technologies, this reassessment has led to a number of new field studies of knowledge networking in diverse cultural settings, including cyberspace.
Under the NAK prototype, we would like to develop several components to support the networking of anthropological knowledge about knowledge: