Ontolog Forum

NASA-Ontolog-KMWG OKMDS mini-series Session-06 - Thu 17-April-2008

  • Session Title: Knowledge Mapping for Sensemaking

From the SL virtual world event: screenshot-01 screenshot-02

(click on above links to view the full size images) . . . . . .


This "Ontology in Knowledge Management and Decision Support (OKMDS)" mini-series is a collaboration between NASA, Ontolog and the (US) Federal Knowledge Management Working Group (KMWG) and is co-organized by a team of individuals from various related communities passionate about creating the opportunity for an inter-community, collaborative exploration of the intersection between Ontology, Knowledge Management and Decision Support, that could eventually lead us toward "Better Decision Making."

The mini-series will span a period of about six months (Nov-2007 to May-2008), during which we will be featuring Talks, Panel Discussions and Online Discourse on pertinent issues. We expect all the talks and panel discussion events to be offered in both 'real world' (augmented conference calls) and 'virtual world' (Second Life) settings.

Refer to details about this mini-series at the OKMDS project homepage at:

Agenda & Proceedings: OKMDS Mini-series Launch Meeting

  • Session Format: this is a virtual session conducted over an augmented conference call. This virtual event is also featured concurrently at the NASA/JPL Explorer Island in the "Second Life" virtual world settings.

Title: Knowledge Mapping for Sensemaking


A "knowledge mapping" approach to managing information, knowledge and decisions places the emphasis on the creation of "cartographic" layers, which like spatial maps, weave different kinds of stories over the "raw data" of documents, deadlines, resources, problems. Just as the map is not the territory, neither is a knowledge map neutral, nor necessarily a consensus worldview, and not to be taken as truth. Continuing the spatial planning metaphor, a good knowledge map is a powerful representation for sensemaking: orientation, shared memory, filtering complexity, and maintaining shared attention for planning and decision making. In software, digital maps of such intellectual landscapes exploit the power of hypermedia, folksonomy, social tools, and (where possible) reasoning over formal ontology. The centrality of social processes in negotiating the meaning of a map is unquestioned. The speakers in today's session work from these assumptions, and will take you deeper into their particular approaches.
The panelists' presentations will open with Jeff Conklin introducing wicked problems which is germane to all of the work presented in today's session and provides a key motivation for dialogue and issue mapping.
Then SimonBuckinghamShum will present dialogue and issue mapping as examples of Hypermedia Discourse, and show how Jeff's work has been extended as conversational modelling, show examples, adding in argument mapping, and introducing Cohere.
EricYeh will then tell us about their project work, which takes forward a particular aspect of argument mapping with SEAS evidence mapping.
JackPark will round the presentations off by explaining that all of the above work, as well as other input available on the web, can be seen as sources of entries in layers of federating topics maps that connect them all up, in his process of Knowledge Gardening.

Wicked Problems and their Non-linear Process Demands - JeffConklin

When stakeholders engage with a "wicked problem" the biggest obstacles they face are (i) that they do not agree on a problem definition and (ii) their attempts to define the problem lead them into cross-functional and cross-disciplinary semantic tangles. It is not simply that they disagree about what the problem is, and thus how to proceed in solving it, but that their understandings about the problem-solution space are incommensurable - they don't even make sense to each other. To make sense of the situation they must undertake cognitively demanding conversations on a range of interconnected issues that cover the entire problem-solution space, and these issues interact so tightly that they cannot be settled in a linear fashion - they must be explored in parallel. This talk describes the Dialogue Mapping process, a knowledge mapping technique that facilitates and captures this collaborative learning process.

Hypermedia Discourse & Human-Agent Knowledge Cartography - SimonBuckinghamShum

I'll introduce the Hypermedia Discourse project at the Knowledge Media Institute, which since 1995 has been developing theory and tools for structuring and visualizing dialogue and argumentation. The fundamental assumptions are that meaning lies in the connections that we make between ideas, that we must be able to represent multiple views on an issue, and that we establish common ground and make decisions by talking, arguing if necessary. The ontologies of interest to us are not therefore the conventional codifications of consensus about a problem domain, because we're interested in contested domains, and often, real time decision making in response to unfolding events which may not be formalizable. Instead, the focus is on lightweight discourse ontologies: an agreed language for making and contesting claims about that domain. Illustrations will be taken from mapping the Iraq Debate, mapping deliberations in hostage recovery, and mapping simulated Mars-Earth geological exploration with the NASA Ames Mobile Agents project -- which we believe is the first demonstration of a knowledge mapping tool embedded within a human/software multiagent work system. Tools described are Compendium and Cohere.

Structured Evidential Argumentation System (SEAS) - EricYeh

The Structured Evidential Argumentation System (SEAS) is a collaborative tool which facilitates analysis of a problem by a group of analysts. SEAS makes explicit the lines of reasoning used to arrive at a conclusion by framing an analysis as a hierarchy of questions, starting from higher-level concepts down to observables. By using a structured approach, the lines of reasoning can be represented as concise graphics, allowing the consumer to quickly situate and understand the driving factors underlying an analysis. SEAS is template based, which allows the re-use and transfer of analytical methods and knowledge, and also sets a base for comparisons against historical precedents and alternative analyses and scenarios.

Federating hypermedia discourse for sensemaking - JackPark

Information resources accumulating on the web, including those created through tools of hypermedia discourse such as dialog mapping, social bookmarking, and relational annotations on the web, represent an opportunity for decision making support. To facilitate that support, a topic map-based portal provides a means by which those information resources can be federated (brought together), indexed, and organized along subject-centric dimensions. We describe a prototype knowledge federation platform and describe how it can be use in a process we call Knowledge Gardening.

About the Speakers

JeffConklin, PhD is the Director of CogNexus Institute, a training, facilitation and research services firm in Napa, California. He has degrees in Biology, Philosophy, and Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Conklin is perhaps best known for his work with the Issue Based Information System (IBIS) method and extensions of it, such as research tools (gIBIS), commercial products (QuestMap), and the open source Compendium knowledge-mapping tool. His book, Dialogue Mapping: Creating Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems, describes an interactive process by which groups get traction on complex and ambiguous problems through collaborative construction of knowledge maps that organize the issues and documents involved.
SimonBuckinghamShum, PhD is a Senior Lecturer at the UK Open University's Knowledge Media Institute. Following degrees in Psychology, Ergonomics and HCI, he has worked on visual hypertext for mapping meetings and argumentation since 1990, and leads the Hypermedia Discourse Project. He co-edited "Visualizing Argumentation" (2003), which brought together leading figures in argument mapping, and "Knowledge Cartography" (2008) expands this. He has received UK and US funding for e-science and e- learning projects, and is co-founder of the Compendium Institute, leading development of the Compendium tool for Dialogue Mapping and Conversational Modelling. He co-chaired the 2nd International Conference on the Pragmatic Web. The most recent knowledge mapping tool is Cohere, which moves towards a Web 2.0 connection management/argumentation platform. Various talks are available.
EricYeh is a software engineer with the Representation and Reasoning program at the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International. He is a team member on the Structured Evidential Argumentation System (SEAS) project, a web-based tool that facilitates collaborative analysis. Eric is also a developer on the Angler project, a web-based tool for exploring a problem space collaboratively by employing divergent and convergent thinking techniques. ... Eric received his BA in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley, and is currently a MSCS student at Stanford University.
JackPark is a research scientist in the AI Laboratory at SRI, International in Menlo Park. He works with Adam Cheyer's integration team on the DARPA-funded CALO project, where he created the prototype from which the team evolved the IRIS desktop knowledge workstation. During employment with VerticalNet, Park served on the XTM Authoring Committee which created the XTM topic maps specification, now a part of the ISO 13250 Topic Maps standard. In a former life, while serving as the president of the American Wind Energy Association, Park was constructing microprocessor-based weather stations used for siting wind energy farms and in agricultural applications. The massive amounts of data being collected by those stations led to investigations into AI applications in data mining and data organization. Ontologies and inference engines naturally followed. Park has crafted Java-based inference engines for a large banking enterprise, a clinical informatics enterprise, and participated in the construction of the VerticalNet B2B ontology editor. Park authored The Wind Power Book in 1981, and co-authored and edited XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web, published in 2002. He has taught university courses in renewable energy resources in the U.S., and lectured on those subjects in the U.S., parts of Europe and Africa. He spends most of his time now evolving applications for subject maps related to the Doug Engelbart call for continuous improvement of human capabilities.


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Audio Recording of this Session

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  • Conference Date and Time: 17-Apr-2008 10:47am~1:06pm PST
  • Duration of Recording: 2 Hour 12 Minutes
  • Recording File Size: 15.2 MB (in mp3 format)
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For the Record ...

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, April 17, 2008
  • Start Time: 10:30am PDT / 1:30pm EDT / 17:30 UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: ~2.0 hours
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  • Others we were expecting (and who may have joined us after the roll call):
    • Chales Du [SL: Helion Enzo]
    • Charlotte Linde (NASA/ARC)
    • Keith Walker (Lockheed Martin)
    • Avery Sen (NOAA)
    • Mitch Ringer
    • ... to register for participation, please add your name (plus your affiliation, if you aren't already a member of the community) above, or e-mail <> so that we can reserve enough resources to support everyone's participation. ...

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