Knowledge keeping

Listen. Observe. Earth is trying to teach us something.

Part of my work is to capture existing knowledge into databases and create interfaces to present this data in useful ways. Filter the noise, amplify the signals. But more and more, I see the limitations of this approach. It focuses too much on technology, and assumes that all knowledge can easily be translated into digital form.

When learning about reforestation for example, the most valuable information I pick up usually comes from walking through an actual forest with an experienced guide. And when asked how they came to know all these things, they'll often shrug their shoulders and say something like "when I was young, everyone just knew".

This makes me wonder: up till what level is technology useful, and how can we combine it with knowledge gained through culture and experience?

Forest walk

Embodied knowledge

Wisdom that comes from culture and experience.

What I was mostly trying to do, is capture explicit knowledge. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but sometimes it paints an incomplete picture. It lacks context if we're not also looking at embodied knowledge.

Embodied, or tacit knowledge, can be defined as:

Skills, ideas and experiences that are possessed by people [and any other living being, or ecosystem, I would argue] but are not codified and may not necessarily be easily expressed. With tacit knowledge, people are not often aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others. Effective transfer of tacit knowledge generally requires extensive personal contact, regular interaction, and trust.

This kind of knowledge can only be revealed through practice in a particular context and transmitted through social networks. To some extent it is "captured" when the knowledge holder joins a network or a community of practice.

source: Wikipedia

There is a lot of wisdom embodied in this manner, but that wisdom is often under threat of disappearing. Aging experts. Farmers. Indigenous communities. Endangered ecosystems...

Beyond ecosystem restoration and environmental protection: how can we conserve their knowledge, and keep it available for future generations?

Hugging trees is obviously a great first step. If you have more ideas, then please get in touch!

Embodied knowledge

Database in a day

Lay the foundations for capturing explicit knowledge.

If you need to collect explicit knowledge - data - then perhaps I can help you with:

Database modeling
Database interaction (UI)
A database query builder
A web form builder
Offline data collection

The objective is to choose the right type and location for your database, and define the basic data structure.

After our session, you'll be able to add data yourself with at least 1 input method. Recurring costs for hosting and maintenance will depend on the technologies chosen. We can discuss any additional requirements or input methods, and options for extracting / presenting the data.

or 15,000 PHP

For future exploration

Contemplating bear

Ask bearer questions

The forest as classroom

The forest as classroom

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

For future updates