Building the Knowledge Network

Tony Smith, Meme Media, PICA Pty Ltd

In discussing how we are, and how we should be, Building the Knowledge Network, I will avoid consideration of the pervasive role of the Net-Web as a general informational and communications network, especially its uses for promotion and transaction which are amongst the subjects of my workshop and one being given by David Fox.

We firstly need to appreciate just how novel and how pervasive this new medium is. We will next be concerned mainly with knowledge, in particular issues of representing knowledge in various media, of the academic production and the educational distribution of knowledge. In conclusion we will discuss new ways of understanding which can be profitably applied to this new medium and the kind of visionary thinking which drives it onwards.

While the Net has a long history and the Web a long heritage, their current visibility dates form the closing weeks of 1993 when NCSC released Mosaic for the Macintosh and other PCs and Al Gore made his first Information Superhighway speech. The early weeks of 1996 promise a shift of similar magnitude with releases of Netscape 2.0, Java, VRML, Shockwave, etc. This adds to the uncertainty of my task here.

The context of this presentation

The limits of knowledge

In talking of a knowledge network, I am unapologetically confining myself to shared, generalised knowledge. I am not going to be concerned with mere facts in isolation nor with the simple personal knowledge that we each accumulate during a lifetime. It is only when knowledge is taken up by others that it can become part of this knowledge network.