Wikibrains is a new project proposal intended to offer to the wiki users the means to associate their interests with the information posted in the various wiki projects. It will work as an online bookmark system to the casual wiki user, and as an advanced management tool for the wiki contributors. This page describes the project goals, and outlines the basic requirements for the project.
The Wikibrains project can further enhance the referencing system of all Wiki*edia projects through the conscious connexions established by the thousands of their users. Similar to the processes in the human brain, connexions between pieces of information are temporarily formed, and over time some get strenghten, some fade into oblivion.
The current Wiki*edia reference system is based on author-based, static references. For example, an article about London, normally references another article about United Kingdom, which is acceptable from a geographical point of view. For some people though, London can be associated with its food, or its history. Wikibrains intends to customize the users experience based on their interests, giving them an information management tool at the same time.
At a basic level, Wikibrains works as an online bookmark system integrated with the various Wiki projects. A Wikibrains-enabled site allows the user to add to a personal collection, called wikibrain, links to the visited pages, adnotate them, and associate these pages to new or existing wikibrain elements, called thoughts. An entry added in such a fashion is called a permanent thought and would remain in the collection until removed by the user. Thoughts can be links, categories, or personal notes, and are stored in a wikibrain collection.
The visited Wikibrains-enabled pages can also be stored for a certain period of time in the wikibrain without requiring the user intervention. In this case, Wikibrains acts like a browsing history allowing the user to surf the Wiki site at will, and organize his thoughts at a later moment. Such elements are called temporary thoughts. They are purged from the wikibrain periodically or on user demand.
A challenge for the Wikibrains project will be to provide to its users a consistent authentication method among the often independent Wiki*edia projects. To achieve this, a user can associate multiple Wiki*edia accounts to the current Wikibrains account. This permits Wikibrains to uniquely identify the user regardless of the visited Wiki*edia site.
When visiting a Wikibrains-enabled website and trying to add a link to the wikibrain, the user is asked to login first. During the login, the local identity is searched in the Wikibrains database and all associated Wikibrains accounts stored in a session cache. The link will be added to all associated wikibrains.
The standard display methods: categories, mind-map
Advanced display methods java or flash, etc.
Ability to creating additional associations between thoughts.
Parts of a wikibrain can be exported, so that the users can share their online research work among themselves. For example, a teacher or a training professional can develop his personal wikibrain selecting information, then publish parts of it for assignments. Thus, the student can import the teacher's wikibrain section into his personal wikibrain and begin learning from it. The owner can decide which parts of his wikibrain are restricted for personal use and which are visible in his Wikibrains account. From early beginning, the project must establish a common format for storing and distributing data among wikibrains.
In order to facilitate the inclusion of external links into the personal wikibrain, the project will encourage the development of 3rd party Wikibrains-enabled tools for the commonly used browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera). These tools are expected to convert existing bookmarks and favorites to and from wikibrain elements. Although desired, the development of such tools constitutes a secondary requirement for the current project.
Customizing the Wiki*edia user browsing experience.
Advanced management features for the Wiki*edia contributor.