On-demand structures 17:43 on Friday
Pathway is a newish OS X tool for browsing Wikipedia.
The interesting bit is not so much the application itself, but the way of representing the free-form network of information in a wiki as a hierarchical structure that people can grasp. And more importantly, not representing all of the information, which usually ends up looking something like this:
Rewiring the spy illustration, from Visual Complexity
But representing the selected information and it’s context, as defined by the hyperlinks in the page:
This is an example of creating on-demand structure in the decidedly un-hierarchical world of Wikipedia.
Open-ended networks of information such as Wikipedia and other text-based information systems organized by tags tend to suffer from a loss of context when the amount of information goes up. And when the context gets weaker, the value of information gets decreased. Any structure that makes the user visualize a piece of information in context of the surrounding relevant information, in turn increases the value of the information.