Integration,  Perspective,  Priorities

Moving Forward


For me, the most important problem that I am interested in working on is the creation of documents which are as findable readable and citable as possible.

By ‘document’ I mean an enclosed unit of information which links to other information implicitly or explicitly and is self-contained in its ability to be shared as an individual item. I think of a document as a framing of human intention and this is why it is a unit of knowledge worth investing in to make more accessible than simply a copy of the paper substrate document which had no inherent interactive or connective capabilities beyond what happened in the readers mind or by the readers pencil.

By as ‘findable’ as possible’ I mean that the document should make clear to the world what it contains and how it’s connected as well as possible, so that external systems can, through various means, determine it’s relevance, veracity and credibility without a human reader having to do this evaluation alone.

By ‘as ‘readable’ as possible’ I mean augmenting the author’s ability to present their intent and to connect it with the larger environment as clearly as possible in a package where the reader can unpack to extract information and evaluate it with as little time or effort wasted as possible.

By as ‘citable’ as possible I mean allowing a reader of the resulting document to cite clearly, with high resolution addressing and types links as well as any other useful means for their reader to determine the credibility and relevance of this document.

What my system does and what it is trying to solve

The Liquid Information Environment is an open ecosystem of rich interactions, not one single application or system: It is based on the premise that the richer your ability to grasp your information, the deeper your insights can be, and the clearer and more credible your communication can be. Please have a look at the tools and try them if you are a Mac user:

  • Author is a word processor and my main product, Flow my smaller but older utility for interacting with text in any application
  • hyperGlossary and the collaborative project with Chris Gutteridge (name still under evaluation, it could end up as weblau, Liquid Space or something else entirely) are the new, web based projects.
  • It is my firm belief that providing rich information interactions is important in and of itself.

    Marshall McLuhan said that “The movie, by sheer speeding up of the mechanical, carried us from the world of sequence and connections into the world of creative configurations and structure.” He further said that “All media are extensions of some human faculty- psychic or physical”. These two insights suggest that when we cross the threshold from slow and simple interactions with our information, such as clicking on icons in Word being analogous to looking at one picture at a time, and transitioning to interactions that are fluid and immediate, such as the freedom in a first-person-shooter computer game being analogous to the fluidity of a movie, we will transition from a passive stance of information management into an active flow.

    How I would like to collaborate

  • Development: Develop and implement APIs where useful to both share information and to access it
  • Inter-team communication: Use blogs, at least as a single stop for important updates/documents, but I am also happy to collaborate by using other systems, such as Exaptive and KnowFlow
  • Work on the tools we use to collaborate: Improve how blogs can better connect

What I need from others for my own system

Testing please.

What I think we should build / Problem to solve

I think we should focus simply on sending information back and forth. We are all working on important aspects of augmenting the users ability to understand and communicate so if we can help the user send information around we are making a much richer space for them to try out ideas. Different views and different interactions themselves provide deeper insights.

What I need from others to enable interoperability

I believe in the power of the hyperGlossaries to act as bridges to other systems so I would really like to have a way I can publish to WordPress as glossary entries with clearly marked links with types which can then be imported into other systems. Therefore please tell me what fields you would like me to use. Currently this is the design:

What functionality I would like to see in other tools to provide to the ecosystem to complement mine

The means to import hyperGlossary terms with useful links and tags.

User Story/Scenario for how my system should work with others

User writes a document in Author and chooses to create a glossary item.
User then publishes to the web using WordPress.
Reader accesses the posted article and chooses to see more about a glossary term.
Reader then chooses further to access a graph view of the glossary term in a space with other graph nodes, such as in a LiquidView.

User Story/Scenario I think we should build for together

Here I would like to see a scenario with a document at the start and a document at the end, with a richly interactive environment in the middle and the final document containing as much rich interactivity and connection as the user wants to preserve on publishing.

The end-goal is to produce a thoroughly readable document where the reader can quickly grasp what the author wanted to present, in a critical way, and further integrate into their work.

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