A Very Special Day

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
3 July, 2018
Editorial: 215
Fecha de publicación original: 16 mayo, 2000

He who knows the way home has no need to ask passers-by

This week sees the start of en.jornad@, the online phase of the I en.red.ando One-Day Conference to be held in Barcelona on the 27 October this year. Over almost four months we will be debating and researching the next generation information technologies to be presented at the “real” event on the Internet. On this occasion, the I en.red.ando One-Day Conference will focus on a series of systems capable of conceptually analysing and processing information and displaying it via intuitive navigational systems no matter what its volume – from a single document to everything digitally stored during a company or organisation’s lifespan — whether this information is stored in a structured way or not — data bases, hierarchically ordered files, etc. — or are simply e-mails, isolated documents (including those whose whereabouts are unknown), presentations or balance sheets.

These technologies, undoubtedly destined to revolutionise knowledge management and the organisation of information within companies, are either still to be marketed or in the experimental phase on some of the most prestigious sites on the Net. en.red.ando is bringing research directors from three leading companies in the development of these technologies in the US as well as MIT’s MediaLab, to Barcelona next October. They will also take part in en.jornad@. This space for debate, based on en.medi@, an encounter technology developed by Enredando.com, has already been in operation on the e-magazine en.red.ando for a year. We hope to turn en.jornad@ into one of the key reference points on the Internet for discussion on next generation information technology for knowledge management. The fruits of the online debate over the next few months, as well as additional documentation used to raise and underpin the level of discussion, will be presented as conclusions at the conference in Barcelona. In this way, participants in en.jornad@, whether they are able to attend the “real” conference or not, will have the opportunity to make direct contact with the speakers and take advantage of the material to be presented in Barcelona.

The intention of the I en.red.ando One-Day Conference is to put Spanish companies, organisations and administrations in touch with latest research advances into the Information Society. We believe that meetings of this kind — unknown so far in Spain and Europe — provide a unique opportunity, on the one hand, for taking a first hand look at the information systems that will form the basis of the new economy and, on the other, for bridging the cultural and perception gaps that stop us taking full advantage of the opportunities the Information Society offers us. When the idea for the I One-Day Conference was born we told ourselves that, had this meeting been held in 1993, our speakers would have been Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreesen presenting their respective inventions – the World Wide Web and Mosaic, the first browser and Netscape’s precursor. Now it is just a matter of fictional hindsight to imagine what it would have meant to many companies and organisations then to have had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the irrepressible information revolution that began to break onto the scene just a year and a half later under the influence of these power-enhancing Internet inventions.

And this is what we would like to achieve on this occasion as well. The value put on information and knowledge as the basic commodities of the new economy represent enormous changes in the organisation of individuals, companies, institutions and administrations. Consequently, online knowledge management and the conceptual treatment of information –particularly knowledge one is not aware one possesses but which could be fundamental if dug up and used — has become one of the bases of cutting edge Internet research. Three companies clearly lead the way in this field: Inxight, Cartia and Semio, all US firms. The other reference point in this sector is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MediaLab (MIT, Boston, USA). Their respective directors –Ramana Rao, David Lantrip and Claude Vogel — as well as Flavia Sparacino of the “Wearable City” project at MIT, have agreed to participate in the I en.red.ando One-Day Conference in Barcelona, in some cases making this the first world presentation of their research. There will also be workshops after the presentations, conducted by prestigious European scientists, thus enabling participants to evaluate the practical applications of these systems in a variety of situations.

For a company of our size — closer to a rowing boat than a pleasure cruiser — the organisation of this I en.red.ando One-Day Conference involves enormous effort. Nonetheless, we are convinced that the more and better the knowledge decision-makers possess, the faster we can all advance in developing information structures in all fields, from business to institutions such as health, and education, through public administration. We are aware of the fact that the spirit of the I en.red.ando One-Day Conference is not very popular at the moment, where the idea of making money, loads of money, in the next two minutes, seems to be the main concern of anyone with just one neuron focussed on the Internet. This criteria tends to dominate discussion at conferences, congresses and seminars, leaving no time for reflecting on what a society based on our ability to manage knowledge means — or is going to mean.

We believe, correctly or incorrectly, that getting leading researchers in the field together with those who are going to be putting the fruits of their labours into practice, is a “strategic priority”. It seems to us — and we know that we are not mistaken here — that the organisation and management of information and knowledge within companies and organisations is the key to their adaptation to the Information Society. And systems such as those to be presented during the One-Day Conference and to be debated in en.jornad@, are fundamental elements of this process.

The preparation of this One-Day Conference has allowed us to make some of the organisational changes within Enredando.com that we announced in March (see editorial Financing online). Winds of change always bring new scenarios, as you can see for yourselves on the One-Day Conference web page. Our designer Ovidi Fernández has written an article where he explains his criteria for the changes our enigmatic Green Crab has undergone there.

Translation: Bridget King