Since I've been playing around with RuWiki recently, I've had some tangential thoughts on how we represent, interconnect, and learn technical information. If its a topic that I have only general knowledge about, I generally do some google searches and start poking through the pile of links until I find what I need. What I been wishing for in terms of a learning environment is some way of searching and navigating for technical information at varying levels of detail. Let me give an example.
Go to WhizBang Educational search engine.
Search on topic: Ancient Egyptian Civilizations
Maybe the top level of detail (LOD) is at a grade-school level - an encyclopedia type article saying where they lived, pyramids, blah, blah...
I get interested in pyramids, but this grade school stuff is too general, so I change topics to Pyramids and ask for the next LOD. Maybe thats SciAm or National Geographic type articles about the Pyramids.
Cool. But now I'm really interested in Pyramids and would like even more detail. Down one more LOD and I'm reading Archeology Today and maybe a few academic papers. Reading one of the papers, I read about a dig that happened last year. Another LOD and I'm looking at the raw field report data, photos and sketches of the archeologists and students.
I can wish can't I...
I need to replace my prototype markup code with something more robust. I have a multi pass process laid out and just need to find time to code it up. I already have the beginnings of a "plugin" markup and backend storage structures. I'm thinking that different projects can specify different markup transformations as well as different backend storage schemes.