Knowledge Representation Penel at the WWW4: Karen Sollins Position

"As network-based applications and knowledge-based systems become more prevalent and useful, it will become increasingly important to provide a common, long-lived model of the infrastructure on top of which such applications will exist. Not only does the longevity and evolvability of the infrastructure have a direct impact on the value of the information in it, but also the provisioning of a meta-level infrastructure capable of defining relationships among the pieces of information becomes increasingly important. In this paper, we first examine a general, flexible information architecture and then enhance it with an extensible, simple model of link, recommended as a component of the substrate of network-based applications and knowledge-based systems of the future."

This is the abstract of Linking in a Global Information Architecture by Sollins and Van Dyke, being presented at this conference. The work is part of the Information Mesh Project which is addressing problems of longevity, mobility, and evolvability in a global information infrastructure architecture. The intention is that the Information Mesh will support a varying and evolving set of distributed or network-based applications or application building environments, allowing the information to be persistent, having a life span potentially longer than the applications for which it was created. Without a such an infrastructure or abstract model, exchanging, accessing and sharing information across domains or applications cannot be supported systematically. Furthermore, if the information itself and any new applications requirements for types of information cannot evolve, we will be tied to the 1995 models of what are useful information types, or at best ad hoc approaches to extending those models.

The Information Mesh architecture is a substrate on top of which knowledge representation systems can be built, but it is not the whole story. Much of the remainder of that needs to be addressed by people in the knowledge representation field, as well as such services as resource discovery, user-friendly local naming schemes, and many additional functions and services..