Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My online encyclopedia and blogs: knowledge management

Most of the material on this blog is intended to be newsy, but here I’m going to generate the news with some general discussion of how I manage my own presence on the web. (This reminds me of an assignment in freshman college English: to write an "annotated bibliography" of the term paper to be written later in the semester.) That’s become controversial because I expect to enter the job market again and employers now regularly look at applicants’ online presence as if it were “clothing”, so I want people to understand what I am doing.

The main body of information is on one site (, which is a repository for discussions and footnotes about a huge web of issues affecting individual liberty. In a loose sense, the site is organized around the three published books, with the chapters leading to “footnote files” that in turn lead to various sidebars and editorials. There is also a library of movie, book, and drama reviews, which are slanted towards their relevance to issues concerning personal liberty and artistic expression.

The nucleus of the material is personal—that there is a psychological nexus between an incident that happened to me in 1961, and today’s debates over sexual orientation and the ability to share responsibility, and to some extent balance being one’s “brother’s keeper” with personal choice. The personal stuff gives me the credibility to enter the debates. What I have come up with over nine years is almost like an encyclopedia of issues, organized as a network around a certain logic of thought, rather than alphabetically (as Wikipedia or any encyclopedia).

Although I update the site in place, what I find effective is to use the blogs to provide “breaking news,” stories about specific technical or legal developments that have hidden implications for personal liberty. I can link to the individual blog elements from “the encyclopedia.” That is necessary because the blog entries drop out of sight with time, although they remain available in archives. As a practical matter, visitors will find them only if I provide the direct links (or they will find them in search engines).

I do have blogs for movies, books and plays, but what I put on the blogs now (at least going forward) are newsy stories about these art-forms. Sometimes whole reviews will go onto the blogs only if the movie content itself is newsworthy enough; direct links will still be provided from the link indices on the “encyclopedia.” If you look at a lot of the entries for any blog, going back into the monthly archives, you can see what I am getting at. Blogs, compared to static content, offer the possibility of comments and message-board-like discussion of a current story.

There are two other special sites in the “nucleus”:, which contains a small amount of static material that is selected to be more suitable for advertisers and is in a prettier format (I haven’t put the ads there yet). will be used for resume and other critical business information only.

All of this is what could be called “knowledge management.” Technology, most of all search engines, is making it practical for one “retired” person, with moderate resources, to take this on. When this can me made available to the public at low cost, there is less reason for people to depend on lobbying groups or other organizations to represent and “protect” them. I see this as a new way to carry on the business of democracy.

There is an index to the blogs at the home page of, or through the profile here on blogger. Remember that the monthly archives of this blog can give a much fuller idea of what the scope of all the issues is.

No comments: