People everywhere have been organizing a more ethical economy, but they work in relative isolation, fragmented by geography, sector, and even organizational form.
Many organizations collect information about a small piece of these efforts. In every situation, there is another organization for which that information overlaps. In every case there is an opportunity to share that will strengthen all the organizations participating.
Sharing requires effort, it requires trust, and it requires infrastructure. The Data Commons is a cooperative of organizations that are sharing – sharing the costs of this effort, trusting each other with their information, and building infrastructure to make sharing is easy.
Members of the Data Commons Cooperative are principled economic organizations that want it to be easy to share with each other, and with the world, in the movement for a more ethical economy.
The budget crunch is hitting everyone. IT departments are being asked to slim down and do more with less. Apparently the government is no exception. The affordability of open source has the government’s attention and is changing the content management and enterprise playing field. Read more about the changes in the Information Week article, “Feds Move To Open Source Databases Pressures Oracle.”
The piece begins:
“Under implacable pressure to slash spending, government agencies are increasingly embracing open source, object-relational database software at the expense of costly, proprietary database platforms. That’s putting new pressure on traditional enterprise software providers, including Oracle, to refine their product lineups as well as their licensing arrangements.”
So giants like Oracle are feeling the crunch, and it is trickling down throughout the proprietary world. But many organizations might not feel comfortable going completely open source, as in creating their own customized solution. So many are turning to a smart compromise, a value-added open source solution like LucidWorks. Customers get the affordability and agility of open source, but the support and expertise of an industry leader. Check out their support and services for assurance that going open source does not mean you will be left out on your own.
As technology advances quickly, so do security concerns. It stands to reason that new technologies open up new vulnerabilities. But open source is working to combat those challenges in an agile and cost-effective way. Read the latest on the topic in IT World Canada in their story, “Open-Source Project Aims to Secure Cloud Storage.”
The article begins:
“The open source software project named Crypton is working on a solution that would enable developers to easily create encrypted cloud-based collaboration environments. There are very few cloud services that offer effective encryption protection for data storage, according to Crypton. Security has always been the top concern for many enterprise organizations when it comes to cloud services and applications.”
It is reasonable that enterprises are concerned about security when it comes to cloud services and storage. For that reason, many prefer on-site hosting and storage. However, some open source companies, like LucidWorks, build value-added solutions on top of open source software and guarantee security as well as support and training. And while LucidWorks offers on-site hosting as well, those who venture into the Cloud can have the best of both worlds with cost-effective open source software and the support of an industry leader.
Back in 2003 visionary artist Anne-Marie Schleiner wrote an inspiring paper entitled “Fluidities and Oppositions among Curators, Filter Feeders and Future Artists” describing the future role of online curators as nature’s own filter feeders. Anne-Marie is clearly referring to curators to and filter feeder in art world, but her rightful intuitions are equivalently applicable to the larger world of information, data, digital and content curation as well.
But let me explain better.
First. The term “filter feeders” is used in nature to describe a group of animals which thrives on its ability to filter organic matter floating around them. From Wikipedia: “Filter feeders are animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure. Some animals that use this method of feeding are clams, krill, sponges, baleen whales, and many fish (including some sharks). Some birds, such as flamingos, are also filter feeders. Filter feeders can play an important role in clarifying water, and are therefore considered ecosystem engineers.” From Wikipedia: “In marine environments, filter feeders and plankton are ecosystem engineers because they alter turbidity and light penetration, controlling the depth at which photosynthesis can occur.”
Second. If you re-read this last sentence slowly and look at what it could mean if applied to the field of content curation, it would read to me something like this: “In large information ecosystems like the web, filter feeders/content curators and content itself are ecosystem engineers because they: a) directly influence our ability to inform ourselves effectively and to discern truth from false and useless info (turbidity) b) shed light and clarity on different subjects which would otherwise remain obscure (light penetration) c) determine our ability to make sense of our own generated information streams (photosynthesis).” A very inspiring parallel indeed, giving a way to visualize the true importance and role that curation, disenfranchised from the confines of museums and art galleries, could have on the planetary information ecosystem. Anne-Marie writes: “Most web sites contain hyperlinks to other sites, distributed throughout the site or in a “favorites” section. Each of these favorite links sections serves as a kind of gallery, remapping other web sites as its own contents. Every web site owner is thus a curator and a cultural critic, creating chains of meaning through association, comparison and juxtaposition, parts or whole of which can in turn serve as fodder for another web site’s “gallery.” Site maintainers become operational filter feeders, feeding of other filter feeders sites and filtering others’ sites. Links are contextualized, interpreted and “filtered” through criticism and comments about them, and also by placement in the topology of a site. The deeper a link is buried, the harder it may be to find, the closer to the surface and the frontpage, the more prominent it becomes, as any web designer can attest to. I am what I link to and what I am shifts over time as I link to different sites… … In the process, I invest my identity in my collection – I become how I filter.” Anne-Marie vision (2003), pure and uninfluenced by what we have seen emerge in the last few years, paints a very inspiring picture of the true role of content curators and of the key responsibility they do hold for humanity’s future. Inspiring. Visionary. Right on the mark. 10/10