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Submissions/In the shadow of Wikipedia: PlanetMath at Ten

From Wikimania 2010 • Gdańsk, Poland • July 9-11, 2010


This is an open submission for Wikimania 2010.

Title of the submission

Out from the shadow of Wikipedia: PlanetMath at Ten

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Joseph Corneli

E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)

Arided (holtzermann17@gmail.com)

Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

PlanetMath.org, USA and Knowledge Media Institute, UK

Personal homepage or blog


Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

PlanetMath.org is a popular online mathematics reference work, but it is no where near as popular as Wikipedia. Although the two projects share the same license, it's intuitive to ask if Wikipedia's visibility takes anything away from PlanetMath. Conversely, we may wonder what PlanetMath's math-specific tools have to offer in a Wiki World?

In this presentation, I will describe the history of PlanetMath.org, compare it with various Wikimedia projects, and hopefully incite discussion. My contention is that Wikimedia, PlanetMath, and others should work together over the next decade to create the next landmark project for open online collaboration: a functioning platform for crowdsourced education.

I will develop this theme using the idea of "shared context in motion" (basho, 場所 in Japanese, or "ba" for short) as it has been developed by two progenitors of the knowledge management paradigm (Nonaka and Toyama (1)) to frame this discussion. The idea of ba can help us think about how a given context constrains or supports different types of (inter-)actions (Abe (2)).

Specifically, Nonaka and Toyama suggest that knowledge is created as people interact in a shared context, through process that can be broken up into repeated phases of Socialisation, Externalisation, Combination, and Internalisation (SECI) (3).

Returning to the theme of crowdsourcing education: the idea of ba can help us move from the big but amorphous picture of stakeholders in education (e.g. Professions, Research), towards a clearer picture of the roles of actual participants (e.g. students, teachers). SECI can give us a detailed understanding of the activities which support these roles (e.g. a student's activities include going to class, collaborating on a class project, building a transcript, and ultimately gaining a skill).

In short, this analysis can give us a "check list" of the forms of engagement we need to support to create systems that have a broad impact in this field. I will conclude the talk by sketching some ways in which I think PlanetMath.org, Wikiversity, and others, may be able to check some items off of this list -- and why "visibility" is so critical for success.

(1) I. Nonaka and R. Toyama (2003), The knowledge-creating theory revisited: knowledge creation as a synthesizing process, Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 1(1), pp. 2-10

(2) Masao Abe (1988), Nishida's Philosophy of `Place', International Philosophical Quarterly, 28(4), pp. 355--371

(3) I. Nonaka, R. Toyama, N. Konno (2000), SECI, Ba and Leadership: a Unified Model of Dynamic Knowledge Creation Long Range Planning, 33(1), pp. 5-34.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)


Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Yes (I'll be in Gdansk for WikiSym).

Slides or further information (optional)

Various background material at http://metameso.org/~joe/docs/

Interested attendees

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  1. Arided 15:23, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Kocio 01:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]