Data-sharing and tagging

Academic Commons is reporting that the Alexandria Archive Institute is beta testing Open Context, an online data repository to support the interexchange of information among archaeologists and museums. The project was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The idea is that individuals will add and review images and texts, tagging (i.e., folksonomy) and annotating items as they see fit. Such strategies have proven themselves useful in other highly dynamic, content-rich areas, but this may be the first large-scale experiment within a scientific community.

I'm certain it will take time to iron out the kinks, and there are relevant questions that remain unresolved (e.g., privacy concerns), but I fully expect that similar systems - distributed scholarly content and commentary - will eventually become the norm for the practice of science.

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