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Timm Amstein

Student , TU Dresden

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We need knowledge maps for students and pupils!

The ideas of data mining and data visualization are big challenges. But I think the principles Berlow and Gourley are using, are similar to algorithms search engines and other web services are using for proposing answers, ads and more. I think we need to take these ideas and bring them to the world of education. We could build up knowledge maps like the one thats used at Khan Academy. A map based on open knowledge e.g. wikipedia would give students the possibility to see the connections and explore the world of knowledge instead of attending in different courses, with different subjects, with different teachers, who think their subject is the best and aren't interested in building up connections (exaggerated to make the point). To go further you could use these methods to visualize stuff you can find on google scolar or in librarys. As people who can work with algorithms and data I think it would be nice if Google would offer such visualization. For me as a student it would be a big help to see the connections between all the different books, articles, journals, conferences and so on, to get a complete overview of a subject. That would also clean up a lot of redundant BLABLA made just because it's not sure that, if a statement is made, everybody understands the concepts behind it like the author does. I think that if you work on a thesis and you could see witch topics are connected, what concepts do I have to know, what are the most important authors and texts I have to read and so on, then the quality of new ideas would be impoved very much. Students wouldn't have to read for example 30 articles in journals where the ideas are just slightly different but the main idea is the same, For the beginning I think taking just the citations in books or arcticles and connecting them, would make a huge differnce in research techniques.


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  • Oct 7 2013: Knowledge map is a good idea, but the way either Google search or Wikipedia could collect lot of information is that they had to do it in a cursory way which amounts too much material and too little selectivity. When I did my doctoral dissertation many years ago, I did it the paper search in books and journals, but they were so specific. You could just follow the reference "trails" and arrive at more or less the exhaustive result. But by modern internet search, you get so much redundant or irrelevant materials to go through to find the same amount of RELEVANT MATERIALS YOU TRY TO FIND.. But , we can't expect Google or Wikipedia to do the fine-comb work for us,you need large number of knowledgeable scholars to make out one single map, even in one specific field. In other words, Google or Wikipedia are very good making an academic encyclopedia, but it would be very difficult for anybody who want to make sub-encyclopedia for a given field. For example I searched the Google Search on my personal publications. There are so many redundant and irrelevant information in it that I had to screen them 4 times to shrink them from 18 pages to 4 pages, Now if we want to select or simplify all the information in a given field, one may find thousand of pages of materials from the Google search,but without at least some good familiarity of the specific knowledge in the particular field, it is very difficult or impossible to pick and choose the simplified materials into one "map location".
    Yes, your idea is very good. But the problem with the "citation", "reference" or the "topics" , for example, in your introduction above, won't work so well when all are going to be relied on electronic big data summary or cross-reference approach.
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      Oct 7 2013: I understand your concern and I yust picked these examples to explain the problem. And I thought especially in Google scholar there still exist a database of citations. I thought that could be a good starting point to see if an approach like that could be helpful. I don't expect that there will be much use for it in a professional way, because as you said there will be so much redundancy. But if its promising you could start a big project to create something that gives real relevant information and holds the possibilities for submaps and so on. As you said that project can't rely on existing databases and has to be build from scratch as an open crowdbased project.

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