Re: Knowledge Databases LO1960

Carol Anne Ogdin (
6 Jul 95 8:53:13 EDT

Replying to LO1945 --

Michael McMaster, replying to LO1927 in LO1945, wrote (in part)--

> I think the breakthrough in this "knowledge database" stuff will
> occur from a combination of operational definitions that distinguish
> clearly between data, information and knowledge and that get away
> from the idea of "database" (you can begin to see what I'm pointing
> at in the distinctions - we don't call them "knowledgebase") and into
> the area of relationship, process and context.

Just a quibble...but, yes, the industry *does* call them "knowledge-
bases." We've even heard nascent rumblings of people referring to
<shudder> "wisdombases."

What these (generally technologist) speakers don't realize is that in
"container-izing" knowledge and wisdom, they are establishing limits
and boundaries...which, as you climb up that tree from data and in-
formation, becomes progressively amorphous and boundless. I fear,
however, that this language reflects the actual thinking going on
inside those technologically-sophisticated minds! By shaping the
language of the discourse, they subtly set the boundaries considered
by their correspondents. It's sorta like setting up the expecta-
tion that you *must* "think inside the box."

> The object oriented stuff is giving us some access and, I think even
> more important, is the groupware stuff.

"Object oriented" is just a programming trick. Don't put too much
stock in it. Groupware is the *first* technology that has been
provided by the computer industry to facilitate and foster the
organization's, I agree, it is a valuable tool.

> I think we need to take approaches of synthesis rather than analysis
> if we are to make headway. By synthesis, I mean that we have a
> theory to begin with and then we "play the theory" out rather than
> prove or validate it by analysis.

Sorta like Marjorie Mulligan's metaphor, in the message preceding
yours: "... the 'crack' test pilot who just keeps on trying
something new...even as he/she is heading down...perhaps to a
crash...and has the attitude 'maybe this one will help' about
each new approach tried."?

Carol Anne Ogdin                "Great minds discuss ideas,
Deep Woods Technology            average minds discuss events,            small minds discuss people."
                                    --Adm. Hyman G. Rickover