Multiple sources for information
Sources from a conceptual perspective
When you look at a Context-map you see a graph (diagram or picture depending on your taste of analogy) of interrelated concepts. By now you have probably also learned that there is more to it than the graphics, there is contextual neighbourhoods, metadata, and content which is the basis of how we realize the idea of conceptual browsing. All this information has to be loaded and preprocessed before you can look at it.
Now, the thing is: a Context-map as you see it on the screen is in the general an 'assembling of information from many different sources'. These sources may be provided by different individuals aware of each other or not. For instance, if I discover a Context-map of my liking I can add concepts to it, provide helpful translations or comments in the metadata of some of the concepts or concept-relations, I might even add new content to concepts or concept-relations that I find especially relevant. This is possible because I can do it within my own information source (a place where I have write access). If I like to, I can publish these addition so that others might discover them and include them when they look at the Context-map. If they do not choose to include my information source, it will obviously not show or even be loaded.
Uses of multiple sources
We believe in a incremental growth of information and a gradual calibration process? when it comes to agreeing on things. It is our conviction that multiple information sources will be a good technical support for this. Especially since it allows easy reuse of information and collaboration without one of the partners being aware of it.
We also believe that this design allows easy overview of information since you can have multiple sources of information loaded and easily switch them on or off to see the differences. This requires a good design of the tool, which we are working against with Conzilla2.
On a more practical level it allows for collaboration around Context-maps without an advanced backend system with locking of resources to avoid overwriting information.
Support for multiple sources in Conzilla2
With release of Conzilla2.1 collaboration is fully supported as well as an improved user interface. Sources (called contributions) are loaded when needed and can easily be activated or deactivated on a per context-map basis. There is also server side support in Collaborilla, an information directory to which context-maps and sources are published.