Ontological Views

Ontiki is largely a tool to assist users in using and developing (e.g., creating, editing, sharing) "ontological views". This sub-web introduces the basic idea and presents assorted examples.


Generally, when looking up a topic on Wikipedia (WP), the user has some notions (collectively, an "ontological view") about its context, definition, etc. For example, s/he might assume (incorrectly) that SFO is located in San Francisco. By following links and reading pages, s/he can correct, extend, and refine these notions.

However, this process tends to be largely implicit and/or unconscious. The user studies and navigates among the trees (e.g., WP pages), acquiring knowledge about the forest along the way. And, unless s/he happens onto an intriguing link, other pages (however relevant to the current inquiry) may never attract the user's attention.

The fundamental problem is that WP pages are static (at least, between edits :-). So, links can only point to pages which are related, in general terms, to the current one. That is, pages cannot take into account (for example):

  • the user's background or interests
  • the nature of the current inquiry
  • what pages the user knows about
  • what pages will be most relevant

Obviously, Ontiki cannot know all of this, either. However, because it has a dynamic, user-driven interface, it can work with the user to address this issue. Specifically, it can support explicit use (e.g., definition, publication, recognition) of ontological views. Think of it as a mechanically-assisted editor and exchange for ontologically-organized "reading lists".


I won't have a solid idea of how Ontiki's support for ontological views will look (let alone behave) until Ontiki has been deployed for a while. Each user will have unique interests, needs, use cases, etc. However, that doesn't mean that I can't speculate. So, I've spent some time mocking up trivial examples, using OmniGraffle diagrams and supporting text.

This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r76 - 03 Dec 2014, RichMorin
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