ResearchSpace aims to integrate Web 2.0 collaboration tools with research applications. As scholars communicate they can access and use research tools embedded within different collaborative environments to find and draw in data, perhaps to illustrate a point or support a proposition. Additionally, new data can be added to the data repository during the collaborative process.
For example, a discussion within a particular forum might prompt a researcher to search for information (data or digital assets) in the ResearchSpace repositories and insert this information into their discussion contributions. This would be supported by launching a semantic search tool with options for selecting specific information. It might also be the case that, before submitting the information to their post, that certain data operations are performed first. This might be an image annotation or adding some additional data. There are a number of research tools proposed by ResearchSpace that will also take advantage of semantic functionality.
Although the ability to draw data back into a discussion space helps to stimulate it, and can be followed by others participating in the conversation, this information is still combined with the less structured discussion narrative. To make it easier for the data activities to be reviewed, these actions should be viewable on their own. This means two views, one containing the discussion in full with the embedded data, and one that documents the interaction with the data repositories, separated from the discussion narrative. It might also be possible for the discussion narrative itself to be tagged for future searching as potentially valuable data in its own right. All generated information would be attributed based on users accounts, and also stamped with date and time.
Summary of Concepts
1. An environment that allows collaborative communication between scholarly experts will generate new knowledge and data.
2. The ability to call upon existing data and assets during a discussion can generate additional activity and knowledge.
3. The ability to view and search different aspects of collaborative activity.
4. New data should to be recorded and correctly attributed.
The collaboration tools to which these concepts apply are:
Discussion forums - in which ongoing communication and conversations can be augmented and linked to information resources.
Blogs - in which the author can embed and link to information to support an article, but also those commenting can make use of information resources to comment and reply.
Wikis- should not duplicate data but allow scholars to develop knowledge centres that link to ResearchSpace data repositories while providing additional narratives – in a similar way to Wikipedia where structured data sits alongside informative and contextual narrative.