How would we formulate data without links?

As I’ve been wondering here about „where education should*, must and will go“, I want to dig deeper in this and further articles on the realization „how to get there“.

First Question: How to represent the data?

The question is a bit ill formulated because there are always links between data. Else we would have chaos, but I’m stepping over the obvious and getting back to it, as soon as it makes problems. So if I try in XML I get quite a hierarchy of facts (even without the connections). If you are not into technology, just ignore all the ‚<‚ and ‚>‘ doesn’t make any difference.

So here I go with a quite famous sociologist (Emile Durkheim) and his works on Division of Labour and Suicide:

<author>

<name>Durkheim Emile</name>

<links>

<link type=“video“> youtube link</link>

<link type=“lecture notes“> yale lecture notes </link>

<link type=“quiz questions“>berkeley quiz questions </link>

</links>

<birth>1858</birth>

<died>1917</died>

<works>

<work>The social division of labour </work>

<publication-year>1892</publication-year>

<translation lang=de>19XX </translation>

<concepts>

<concept>Functionalism</concept>

<concept>Solidarism</concept>

</concepts>

</work>

</works>

</author>

This looks good. If I add another author I get large amounts of repetition. I won’t do any additional linking (to avoid this repetition). Because different people shall be able to contribute. Repetition can be smashed in refined internal representations.

Second Question: Why XML and not a super Artificial-Intelligence-Geek-Language?

So why XML (and not Prolog):

-From a technical point of view: You can transform XML to Prolog database facts 🙂

-From a users point of view: You can generate xml with a thousand tools, but who knows prolog(or other KI languages) ?

Third Questions: You’ve got authors, but what about eclipses and earthquakes?

Now comes another question, which I personally find hard to answer: There are things that don’t come from authors. How do they fit in (e.g. Earthquakes, The Battle of Hastings, and so on)

Simplest Solution: Author=God/Krishna/Hawking/… ( 🙂 )

My answer, which I find quite satisfying is: If there is no author, how do we know. Erruption of the Vesuvus – Plinius the Elder was not the author but the „sensor“ for mankind. And we are talking about knowledge. Knowledge is „justified true believes“. So there is always a human (intelligible) part in it, that we can attach events to.

I think I’ve to dig deeper into Knowledge Management and KI, but currently this seems all sound to me.

Example from another domain: Biology

I try a biology example:

<author>Henry Gray</author>

…<work>Gray’s Anatomy</work>

<concepts>Anatomy</concepts>

..

<author>Charles Darwin</author>

<work>I think

<concept>Mindmap

<concept>Evolution

<work>On the origin of species<work>

<concept>Evolution

So this works too. Some books have more than one author. But I don’t think this as a bad problem. We can introduce a tag named co-authors, illustrators (and even lectors 🙂 ).

I’m quite happy with my little brainstorming. What do you think? Please leave comments.

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