Wow, that was a really interesting thread you linked to, many good terms: garage, tools, workbench, incubator, even Lion Kimbro was mentioned, which is impressive. And I must say your perspective is a treasure to have; thank you for this dialogue.
I have some thoughts, especially about ‘maps’, and I hope it doesn’t come across as just semantics.
- Ontologies represent what is real, maps are an interpretation of what is real.
- On a given topic, there should be one ontology, but there can be limitless maps.
- Maps of content float above the note collection, offering an augmented and customized, but non-destructive perspective
- While we will also read our maps, at the heart of the process, we are the cartographers.
‘Ontology’ is a term I haven’t spent time with, so I’m still wrapping my head around it, but let’s go with “simply represents what is real”.
A map is not that aspirational. A map is just an one interpretation of reality. Same goes for MOCs.
My map on “habits” might be accurate and truthful but be completely different than your map on “habits”, which might be equally accurate and truthful. This is just like all the different interpretations that have been mapped for our planet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections . This quote jumped out:
Because there is no limit to the number of possible map projections, there can be no comprehensive list.
(As a sidenote, this is why I am skeptical of collaborative knowledge bases. On whose authority are changes made, and what if I like my version and not the group’s that version. But that’s another topic entirely.)
So the analogy of “map” has agency in that it allows for non-limiting interpretations of reality. Am I wrong that an ontology doesn’t have that same flexibility?
Complimentary to that “interpretation” is the second area where the analogy of “map” carries agency: as an augmented layer. Go to Google Maps, search “starbucks” and what do you get? A customized augmented layer that does not change the content it’s overlaid upon. An MOC does the same. It augments the one’s contents.
But who draws the map?
A quote I’d like to address:
a map is a (usually fixed) representation to help navigate a space—it wouldn’t necessarily contain the kind of qualitative inquiry you’re referring to.
Ah, but we are the cartographers! The map makers. And cartographers compile all their accumulated knowledge onto their workbench where thousands of tiny decisions happen in concentration, eventually leading to a unique interpretation of thought: a map.