With the publication of the Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Knowledge Federation, Act One of Knowledge Federation development has been completed.
We have good reasons to be satisfied: Knowledge federation as an idea and as a way of working together has been designed and profiled. We have developed an embryo of a community. And we also have an excellent venue and infrastructure in Dubrovnik for continuing our project. The Inter University Centre with its large park stretching all the way to the Adriatic sea, combined with Villa Doda and its botanical garden, give us a setting reminiscent of the original Academia. A suitable site for innovating the academia, by preserving its original spirit and evolving new ways of working.
What has remained as a challenge is the federation part, the actual act of doing it. Or ‘bootstrapping,’ as Doug Engelbart called it. Or ‘eating our own dog food’ as Jack Park called it. We did have a dialog on the last day of the workshop, to federate our knowledge federation ideas and create a profile. And we did contact a journalist, Croatian Drago Pilsel, as a symbolic gesture of reaching out beyond the confines of our own academic silo. And he did write a newspaper article about knowledge federation. But we did not yet manage to get the process of actually using knowledge federation as our own way of working off the ground. Our community website, KnowledgeFederation.org, intended to be the a sandbox for co-creation, is still a sporadically edited MediaWiki, used only in connection with the workshop. And even our federated article, “Knowledge Federation Patterns,” which was meant to be co-edited by the community, I ended up completing on my own.
(I know, our traditional-academic values and habits stand in the way. But reason suggests that before engaging in knowledge work, we should make sure that knowledge work still functions as it should. Reason also suggests that organizing knowledge work should be considered as knowledge work par excellence! Can we listen to reason? I will return to this question in one of my next posts. It will be based on Stephen Toulmin’s book “Return to Reason.”)
So this – the transition from talking about knowledge federation to actually doing it – remains as core challenge for Act Two, which is now about to begin.