Goals & Theory

The goal of the WissKI project is to apply the concept of Wikis to the scientific domain and to support transdisciplinary collaboration between scientists and researchers from various domains, enabling them to learn about results of research and work together on research topics of common interest. In general, the system supports scientific communication and a new way of documentation in memory institutions, provides long-term availability of research results, assures the identity of authorship and the authenticity of information, enables the persistence of citations, offers quality management tools, and support the preparation of scientific publication. Scholarly knowledge can be communicated using the platform, where it is stored and can be reused to follow scientific discussions and to prepare publications.

A unique aspect of WissKI in comparison to other projects dealing with Wikis in a scientific context is its primary focus on the combination of data from the humanities and natural sciences. Through the involvement of the GNM and the ZFMK the system supports scientific documentation of museum collections. The curators themselves are enabled to act as digital knowledge curators and therefore to handle their knowledge about digital objects the same way as they handle their knowledge about real-life objects. To comply with current and future standards of museum documentation and to assure the unity of names and description terms in use, WissKI can dynamically incorporate globally accepted authority files and enables the creation and management of local authority files. One idea of Wikis was to support non-computer scientists creating content to be published in the World Wide Web. The well-known Wikipedia project successfully proved that millions of articles can be created and maintained by non-technical users. This demonstrates that Wikis provide a good platform for creating and sharing information. WissKI is a common platform allowing non-technical users the creation of content for the World Wide Web as well as the creation of enriched content for the Semantic Web.

To reach a maximum of flexibility of the data structure and simultaneously to assure the homogeneity and processibility of the data WissKI implements a storage facility built entirely on semantic web technologies such as technical implementations of formal ontologies. This enables us to create a new way of scientific workflow and content management. It is also the basis of a semantic text annotation mechanism that lets users submit free text to add structured information to the system. The text is analysed to connect mentioned entities (names, places, dates etc.) to the system's knowledge base. Overall the system serves as a communication platform for curated knowledge.