Global Sensemaking

Tools for Dialogue and Deliberation on Wicked Problems

In the SocialLearn project here at the OU [fledgling site], we are developing an API for "Social Learning"... think Google's OpenSocial, but tailored for learning in social networks.

This is all under wraps at present, but we might ask what does it mean to create a sensemaking API? Is this really the same as a learning API, which might allow you to share learning objectives via Twitter, Facebook and SN-tool XYZ?

Or is this more specifically an IBIS API, or an API grounded in some other set of discourse/interpretive moves that are deemed central to sensemaking?

Do we need ONE SM-API, or is that a fruitless quest for the Holy Grail a la seeking THE master ontology. Instead, is it much more appropriate to think of a thousand APIs with people joining up a thousand sensemaking tools in whatever way seems useful? In which case, can coherence still emerge? Hmmm...

Views: 33

Comment by Jack Park on June 3, 2008 at 13:50
It is going to take a very long time to digest the material found at the "fledgling site". Many thanks for the link. Lately, I've been thinking in terms of the "craft" of sensemaking (which I've been calling knowledge gardening). I wonder what would relations between best practices of the craft and APIs look like.

Can we possibly know anytime soon what all of the sensemaking paradigms/methods/practices look like, each perhaps with its own API?

I have an inclination, at least for now, to follow the crowd and seek a standardized way to express REST queries. Following the http://server/, what comes next? Do we rely on GET and POST to differentiate between fetching and updating? Lots of questions.

This is a valuable blog thread.
Comment by Jack Park on June 24, 2008 at 18:56
Is there a pattern language, or a collection of pattern languages for sensemaking?
Comment by Robert Parks on June 24, 2008 at 20:11
Regarding the notions of "craft" and "pattern languages" for sensemaking, perhaps we could propose the work of the lexicographer as providing some models. I know most of us naturally see sensemaking primarily in terms of the product of sensemaking - the positions and supports/warrants that support the predictive value of an argument. But I think "sense making" involves approaching a topic from the starting point of "making sense" out of the world first, before making assertions and predictions. In that case, a pattern language makes lots of sense. And it may well be that the practical procedures and tools of lexicography could provide some patterns. I'm attaching an article by a lexicographer describing his experience when he was hired by a Washington contractor to negotiate among interested parties to create definitions of 5 words. It took six weeks!
PS... I can't seem to find an upload link.
Comment by Jack Park on June 24, 2008 at 21:35
Perhaps this conversation can be moved to the wiki where the controls are a bit more readily available. I like your ideas, Bob. Thanks.
Comment by Andy Streich on July 2, 2008 at 19:38
There is a related conversation / document development activity on ...

Bob, I think your notion that "the work of the lexicographer as providing some models" is an important one. And I'd love to read that paper you mention. Maybe it would be simpler/easier to attach it to the wiki page I've linked to just above.

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