Michel Bauwens: Open Knowledge Production and Exchange of Local Content in Local Languages

Michel Bauwens

Open Knowledge: Production and Exchange of Local Content in Local Languages

Open Knowledge means a set of methodologies and principles that are related to both the distribution and the production of different knowledge works. In this context it is important to mention that the production as well as the distribution of knowledge works occurs in an open manner. The general term ‘knowledge’ is defined to include data such as historical, geographic and scientific information, content such as books, films and music, different topics such as for instance cars, plissee, nature, poetry, etc. and also general information that are produced by governmental or other administrative authorities.

There exist a number of different initiatives such as the so-called Open Knowledge Network that defend and stand up for the general protection, production and exchange of local content in local languages. The Open Knowledge Network operates as a human network in parts of Africa, South Asia and Latin America – strictly speaking the whole network is active across the South in order to collect, support, disseminate and share local knowledge. In this context it should be stressed that the Open Knowledge Network is supported by a variety of flexible information and communication technologies.

The Open Knowledge Network is designed on seven basic principles which are based on intensive and complex research. The seven principles and methodologies are the following ones:

  • building on the experience of others
  • building capacity in communities to support knowledge sharing
  • working offline for free, but synchronizing with the Net
  • peer-to-peer networking of existing Knowledge Workers
  • standards for metadata using XML
  • agreed open content copyright licenses
  • sustainable business models adapted to different contexts.

The main aim of the Open Knowledge Network consists in the consolidation of New Media artists, designers, filmmakers, programmers, musicians, and people who work creatively with flexible technical solutions to manage and exchange ideas as well as experience. In order to provide the possibility to share technical knowledge, the Open Knowledge Network organizes a variety of special events for interested people.

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