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Review: Toward Virtual Community Knowledge Evolution

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Note: In looking for articles to read, to understand better the mechanics and possibilities of digital technologies that can improve communities both online and offline, I came across this paper, ‘Toward Virtual Community Knowledge Evolution’. Published in 2002, and with the extraordinary rate at which digital technologies change, it seems outdated. However I see it as a classic. The beginning of the road towards collaborative technological advances, and the real value of digital technologies. It was a vision for the future, for digital technology to facilitate knowledge, which meant devising new systems, that would engage and enable users in digital literacies associated within their virtual community. A lot of these features we now take for granted, such as hyperlinks, but in studying the classics, we can realise the excitement as these new systems were developed by people, for people.

Introduction

          Toward Virtual Community Knowledge Evolution is a study carried out by a nine academics, Michael Bieber, Douglas Englebart, Richard Furuta, Starr Roxanne Hiltz, John Noll, Jennifer Preece, Edward A. Stohr, Murray Turoff and Bartel Van De Walle, who lecture in a range of universities, all working and excelling in their areas of computer science and information systems. In this paper, they propose the building of a ‘multimedia document repository’ or digital library, which has unique innovate supports which validates knowledge evolution. A series of tools and technologies based around the concept of community knowledge that can be build-on collectively, to constantly improve the workings of the system. This system, or Collaborative Knowledge Evolution Support System (CKESS), would provide a workflow that can be developed and upgraded through its users; the members who make up the virtual community.

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