WALKING THROUGH A LIBRARY REMOTELY. Why we need maps for collections and how KnoweScape can help us to make them
There is no escape from the expansion of information, so that structuring and locating meaningful knowledge becomes ever more difficult. The question of how to order our knowledge is as old as the systematic acquisition, circulation, and storage of knowledge. Classification systems have been known since ancient times. On the Internet, one finds both classifications and taxonomies designed by information professionals and folksonomies based on social tagging. Nevertheless, a user navigating through large information spaces is still confronted with a text based search interface and a list of hits as outcome. There is still an obvious gap between a physical encounter with, for example, a library’s collection and browsing its content through an on-line catalogue. This paper starts from the need of digital scholarship for effective knowledge inquiry, revisits traditional ways to support knowledge organization and information retrieval, and introduces into a research network, KnoweScape, where five different communities from all corners of the scientific landscape join forces in a quest for knowledge maps. The paper can be read as KnoweScape’s manifesto. At the same time it is a reflection about what one has to take into account when representing structure and evolution of data, information and knowledge and designing instruments to help scholars and others to navigate across the continents and oceans of knowledge.