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Context


Coherent Organization of a Navigable Problem-Solution-Learning Space (Part #2)


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As briefly indicated above, several interconnected thematic spaces provide the context and immediate justification for this research. They are as follows:

International organizations: Profiles of 20,000 international non-profit organizations and networks (governmental and nongovernmental) are maintained in a relational database that reflects the formal working relations (some 100,000 links) between such bodies. This thematic space calls for interface characteristics that would enable users to go beyond access via title, text, subject or relational access. The challenge is how to make sense, according to their need, of complexes of organizations in any given subject area, how to detect gaps and opportunities, and how to perceive communication and coordination possibilities -- but especially how to offer new users with the possibilities of participating in this evolving organizational space, notably through their own initiatives. Especially interesting is the question of how to balance involvement of the widest public and user suppression of communications considered non-significant.

World problems: Profiles of some 12,000 world problems are maintained in a relational database that reflects both hierarchical and systemic relations (some 100,000 links) between them. These 'problems' are perceptions currently culled from the literature of international organizations (see above) and other consituencies, including the media. As such they reflect a wide variety of public understandings of the global problematique. The special need of this thematic space is for users to be able to configure patterns of problems, notably vicious loops or cycles across conventional sectoral and disciplinary boundaries, in ways which shift the level of understanding and analysis to a more systemic level -- but without dampening specific concerns. The concern is to provide users with pathways across conventional category boundaries whilst giving form to a new sense of context.

Strategies and solutions: Profiles of some 29,000 advocated or implemented collective initiatives, in response to world problems (see above), are maintained in a relational database that reflects both hierarchical and systemic relations (100,000 links) between them. These strategic initiatives are currently culled from the literature of intrernational organizations (see above) and other constituencies, including the media. As with the 'problems' they reflect a wide variety of (often conflicting) understandings of what needs to be done, and what could usefully be done. The special need of this thematic space is for users to be able to configure patterns of strategies, notablyserendipitous loops across conventional sectoral boundaries, in ways that shift the level of understanding and collective response to a more systemic level -- but without dampening enthusiasm for specific initiatives. Again the concern is to provide users with pathways across conventional category boundaries whilst giving form to a new sense of context, especially to ensure the viability of broader coalitions. It is this sense of context which should enable users to assess the relevance of initiatives they might promote through this thematic space.

Human values: This seemingly elusive thematic space may be seen as underlying the perception of problems (it takes recognition of a value to perceive a problem) and formulation of solutions (to enhance some value). The UIA relational database on some 3,000 positive and negative values in fact provides a vital link between problems, strategies and understandings of human development (see below). In this space the interface challenge is to enable users to articulate understandings of values that attract and repel them, whilst at the same time enabling them to transcend the value polarization which is so typically divisive in society. The question is whether it is possible to configure value polarities in new ways, providing genuine global frameworks (or templates) to interrelate disparate strategic initiatives.

Human development: In complex, multi-cultural societies there are many (often conflicting) understandings of the phases, modalities and goals of human development. These may be articulated by spiritual traditions, by academic disciplines, or through other individual and collective explorations. As means of increasing sensitivity to subtle value understandings, they are often the driving process behind particular collective strategies. The complex relationships between development processes passionately favoured (or violently abhored) by different users are a special challenge to interface design, especially since the subtle insights (and challenges to learning) associated with them are often held in non-textual forms, such as symbols, mandalas or even music. The UIA relational database on 4,000 concepts of human development and modes of awareness (15,000 links) is a challenge to the development of interfaces which offer modes of travel between extremely different configurations of insights that are often explicitly antagonistic to textual articulation.

International conferences: ????

Metaphors: ????


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