I heed your call, Mike Caulfield, to be part of the Federated Library Project. Partly because of respect for Mike (and that I bailed on doing a FedWiki thing i August), partly because Alyson is boarding for 100 posts, partly because this might call for some neat WordPress tinkering.

Many people scratch their heads at Mike’s ideas, causing him some angst (not enough to cool his jets), because, I think, they seek they way to plug it into what they do. In my experience from last year’s FedWiki “Happenings” I see a lot of people approach FedWiki the way they think of wikis and collaborative writing, in the shared convergence of many people working towards One Thing.

To me, it has always been the opposite, FedWiki is not for converging, but diverging, like notecards (Federated Index Cards), and then hopefully re-assembling, re-combining, but likely in something other than FedWiki.

That’s my own Private Universe concept.

And no, I have not felt the Big Light Bulb go on about how I would use FedWiki. But its been my experience to not expect a new technology or idea to broadcast what it can do for my interests; its on me to explore and remember a lot of things, mingle them, and somewhere down the line, it then, hopefully, jumps up as the Thing to Use. I’m okay with not knowing now how I might use it.

What’s interesting about what Mike is asking people to do is putting the cart before the federated horse. He’s asking people to make a series of stub posts in a WordPress blog, each a single idea, like a card or a Ward (that’s what I wish we called it) in a FedWiki. Mike needs some raw material, that will be used in some yet to be developed mechanism.

I thought at first he was talking about using WordPress as a front end for writing to a FedWiki, but if I can see through the tea leaves, he may be conjuring a way to have WordPress somehow work as a FedWiki itself. He did something like this in tumblr (yikes I cannot find it).

So I have set myself up a play site on WordPress.com https://cogdogflp.wordpress.com/. The idea (I think) is not to summarize web sites or articles, but just ideas. In light of reclaiming my social bookmarking, I am scrolling back through my bookmarks on pinboard for material that might expand into a FLP thing.

First one I wrote was around the image of the very first web server, the NeXT station Tim Berners-Lee tinkered with as the only web server in March of 1989. There are connectors there with my presentation metaphors around the influence on him of a Victorian era book called Enquire Within.

And just to show these are not connected (yet), the next one was a bit on JJ Cale’s $50 Guitar based on a post I had bookmarked. The part where this threads out was I looked for a link for Harmony Guitars and landed on an “unofficial” but comprehensive database of Harmony Guitars that included a mention of Cale’s hacked guitar but also linked me to the H162 model that Cale had “re-crafted”. This is info not in the original article I found.

This is the part from Mike’s request I am trying to think about:

Write for reuse in this space. What you post should be easy for others to reuse on their site with modifications. So no posts trying to prove a personal point or narratives that wouldn’t make sense out of someone else’s mouth. You are contributing words to your wiki that someone else can use with minimal modification.

This does turn inside out our usual reflexes in wiki, where many people converge onto one place.

I don’t know where the train is going, but that’s okay. I trust the engineer.

Top / Featured Image Credit: My own image taken before boarding the Bullet Train in Tokyo — flickr photo by cogdogblog http://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/2908880241 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Profile Picture for cogdog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Thanks so much Alan!

    Also, this idea of liberating/reclaiming bookmarks is a brilliant approach. I’ve often thought about why we don’t make use of people’s bookmarks quite as much as we might. I think there a a couple reasons:

    1. Google. Frankly, Bookmarks don’t come up as a page, so we don’t use them.
    2. Tag navigation. When you so find a bookmark, it links to others through a tag architecture which is nice if you are doing a big research project. But if you are following a smaller thread it feels too broad, and makes a bookmark a dead end.
    3. Not quite complete enough. Wiki introduces the aesthetic of the complete page — you can read the page and never go to the resource and you still have been presented a complete idea. Bookmarks, on the other hand, were often written in such a way that they really only made sense if you want to the resource.

    That’s probably enough for now. I am working on learning the JSON API, let’s talk soon and I’ll show you where I’m going.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *