Frameworks And Scaffolding

I am spending some time developing examples of the “gateways” for introducing topics and their dimensions.

GatewayS01 in the Gaols and Systems page’s “Resource Table” shows a complex of 14 or so pages about economics and politics that are interconnected – in three layers to allow for drilling down to more detail.

Layer 1 – highest level – introduction

Layer 2 – middle level – details of some top-most items

Layer 3- lowest level – further details of some Level 2 items.

GaiaS02 in the Sustainability page shows topics introducing issues about bees.

As I develop more and more resources (for example, authoritative sites) I will be building “scaffolds”.  For example the UN’s sustainability website includes goals such as reduction in poverty and improvements in agriculture – with beekeeping contributing to both these goals.

Thus the gateways can be considered as frameworks (like layers of closely related topics with vertical drill-downs) and they can be linked through a scaffold (like a network of horizontal bars).

Why Another Website?

There are millions of websites and gazillions of words about every topic imaginable. Why yet another?

Because words are so dense, we need a framework to structure all the words into manageable chunks.  TBK does this. It offers lots of links to lots of words – but organised around grids – typically, a central topic (“The meaning of life”) and a number of subtopics arranged as spokes – “Family”, “Friends”, “Food”, “Wine and Beer”, “Religion”, “Politics” – whatever makes a start to understanding the topic and bringing together the best and most authoritative “objects” to make sense of it.

The “objects” can be anything – photographs, text, websites, YouTube movies – whatever is available through the internet – or simply, a book.

And at the end of the day, so what? This is where it gets interesting. “Think global, act local”. What can you do to work with the resources assembled to make a difference?

Why The-Bees-Knees?

I was introduced to the joys of bees when a friend, John, and I tried to save a hive in my neighbour’s shed wall.  The shed was pretty dilapidated – lovely broken asbestos panels – so we were able to break away a panel to get at the hive. As it turned out, the hive had been poisoned with paint thinner, and only a few bees were still alive.

From this I spent time with John learning some basic apiarist techniques.

The-bees-knees (TBK) started as a site to collate information about bees, based on a site that I developed to support activities for local and state government agencies to manage civil infrastructure –  water & sewerage networks, treatment plants, stormwater drainage, flood management, road networks, property and buildings – pretty much everything we rely on for decent living except electricity networks.

Then I became interested in The Conversation – a great electronic journal – but became frustrated with the ephemeral nature of journals – the same topics arise year after year (euthanasia, climate change, politics and economics, sustainability) and each time, the same arguments and debates flourish for a week or so, before dying away – ready for the next time.

So – TBK is now a databank (careful of the word “repository”!) to distil the results of debates and information gathering into a more permanent form.

It uses a range of techniques, especially electronic documents available on the Internet. It is not a replacement for Google – “500,000 documents in 0.47 seconds on any question you ask” – rather, it aims to pick which few of the 500,000 are actually sane and rational answers to key issues.