The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) has produced a new tool that lets users surf semantically through the online content relating to the University and interact graphically with the information: UOC – networked knowledge. The platform has been developed in collaboration with Bestiario and offers an innovative system for exploring and working with the web.
The new platform provides access to 350 resources through a search system based on tags. The idea is to offer content linked semantically to other resources. The result is an interactive tool that intuitively connects users to networks of content similar to those they have accessed.
The basis for the whole knowledge system is the tag. Each resource is given a number of tags to define it and link it to other content. Thus, a given combination of tags creates a network of resources and highlights the relationships between these in terms of their semantic likeness, ie, in terms of the tags they share.
The graphic representation of this network and its browsing helps users find new contents that are relevant to their search criteria. According to Santiago Ortiz, member of Bestiario and an expert in information visualisation, “the proliferation of the use of tags linked to different content and sources has led to another non-hierarchical sub-network that can be taken advantage of to share content and knowledge.”
The basic idea behind UOC – networked knowledge is to highlight networks of similar resources, grouped in terms of a series of criteria, and to help generate new knowledge. Santiago Ortiz describes it in the following terms, “The idea of grouping is of vital importance on the internet, as the web is rich in small and isolated content. Smart correlation of a range of content can produce a complex message, a canon of knowledge.”
UOC – networked knowledge is the graphic interface for the UOC’s online resources and structured around the uoc_net delicious account. The software used to graphically represent the content networks and links is 6pli. The result of applying this software to the online resources relating to the UOC is an interactive environment for the articulation of content.
According to Santiago Ortiz, UOC – networked knowledge “lets you create bodies of content with important interrelations between them. It is a space that lets you create different groupings depending on a number of criteria which you can combine together. It makes the networks of relations visible, letting you surf through them while maintaining an associative context for the content based on a literal and spatial idea of the web.”