International Council for Science
CODATA- Committee on Data for Science and Technology
The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) was established in 1966 by the International Council of Scientific Unions.
Working on an interdisciplinary basis, CODATA seeks to improve the quality, reliability, processing, management and accessibility of data of importance to science and technology.(read more)

Data and Knowledge in a Changing Worlds
The Quest for a Healthier Environment
Section: I7.C6 - proceeding page 151-152

Chambery, 18-22 September, 1994

A Conceptual Superstructure of Knowledge

Quality and Content in Organisation, Management and Awareness

Heiner Benking - Wolf Dieter Grossmann


Schemes are proposed that allow mapping of knowledge, including data, over scales, qualitative scopes and time. Knowledge thus becomes located within common frames or reference or co-ordinates. Knowledge is put into various interlinked "scapes", in particular real-world and master imaginary mindscapes, combined we call them a knowledge panorama. One such organisation or reference system do integrate views and frames is the ECO-CUBE. Here, interlinked projections can for example be done for a eye's view and mind-eye's view, with emphasis on stereoscopic design and object management in repositories. Master mindscapes may also decompose into 2nd order mindscapes.

The quality of the mapping and its practical applicability are increased if objects, entities and 2nd generation information are put into spaces or scapes that allow to trace source, context, neighbourhoods and original intentions of the knowledge. These spaces and scapes can be organised as slots or multidimensional lattices. Multimedia-based visualisation of these organisational forms allows to illuminate and visually depict relationships between cells in these spaces and scapes. This type of abstract spatial thinking needs training. It can be considered "diagonal" because it bridges and combines in a transdisciplinary sense, different domains. It is based on logical and practical exploratory approaches to both, objects and issues in the real world and in imaginary or prospective realms.

One main objective is to allow and support perception of temporal change, magnitude and semantic issues by focusing on consequences and relationships trough conceptualisation and imagination.

This paper is also based on theory of design of interfaces and discussion of mental models and cognitive viewpoints. Beside review of implications of physical and mental positions forming a picture, the perspective (eye, mind's eye, fish eye) and representation of proportions are critical. This proposal composes from facets a pan-scopic point of view. It bridges canyons between coded- and non-coded, symbolic and sub-symbolic representation of real, abstract, and imaginary scopes. This includes analysis of access and assimilation of concepts to the effects of spatial and spacial differentiation and their impact on communication.

A generalisation of the Rubik'scube of Ecology or "ECO-CUBE" are quad-tree, or R-tree/cell-tree layouts. These layouts become necessary to handle continuos scale, with the possibility for planning and zooming like in optical systems, in the field of environment, or design of world-views or pictures of the world. The generalised pictures here must be simple, consistent, comprehensive and must allow detailing with variable foci and variable compositions of topics. Different, fluent scaling becomes possible with nested frames (an AI-term that refers to one particular view of reality). These nested frames, nested with respect to size, scope and even time (fast processes within slow processes) are called hyper-frames. Applications range from data management to project management, harmonisation of systems with subsystems, communication, education to support of awareness.