Introducing Knowtons - Particles of Knowledge

Evidently, Google has recently released a new service called Knols. It defines a "knol" as a unit of knowledge. The Knols service has similarities to a wiki, but some significant differences, too.

I prefer a term of my own creation: "knowton" (rhymes with "proton"). You can think of it as a particle (or yes, unit) of knowledge, or something knowable.

What is the essence of a knowton?

  • It is something describable or expressible.
  • It is usually something nameable or identifiable.

What are some characteristics of knowtons?

  • They can be related to other knowtons
  • They can often be broken down into other knowtons

Examples of knowtons:

  • words
  • people
  • places
  • things
  • concepts

A knowton is something you could ask a question about:

  • "What is 'that'?"
  • "Who is 'that'?"
  • "Where is 'that'?"
  • "What does 'that' mean?"

Information devices that contain knowtons include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • glossaries or dictionaries
  • indexes
  • newspapers
  • encyclopedias
  • wiki pages
  • credits in a movie
  • books
  • high school yearbooks (people)
  • phonebooks (people and businesses)
  • web pages
  • radio and television programs
  • or basically, any source of information with identifiable units of "askability"

When expressed in electronic systems, a knowton can have attributes:

  • identifiers
    • numbers or codes
    • names
    • aliases
    • URIs
  • description
  • location
    • Example: geocoding (latitude and longitude)
    • URLs (similar to URIs)

Challenge: Spread the Meme!

What do you think? Do you like the term "knowton?"

If you think the term "knowton" is cool, usable, or meaningful, try using it in a conversation today, and see what kind of questions or reactions you get.

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