Decentralised Directories

Decnetralised Directories, built around OPML, can be a good complement to weblogs to harness the collective intelligence of people in organising content around the Web. Think of it as the Memex. Dave Winner suggests an approach:

1. Decide on a format for a directory. It should be XML-based so people can use any text tool to edit them. I designed OPML for this purpose, but if you want to use another format, I won’t fight you on it. This is too important to have the usual fight over the bits on the wire.

2. Build software that renders data in this format as if it were a Yahoo or DMOZ directory. All environments should have well-tested efficient renderers, commercial and open source. These inclusions are what determine page rank, just like links in HTML pages.

3. When this software encounters a node that includes another directory, include its hierarchy in that directory.

4. If you run a search engine, index these files. Use page rank to determine which is shown first. Don’t segregate these files, include them in the returns for HTML and all other formats you support.

5. Evangelize. Get academics, librarians, researchers, etc to produce data in this this format. Link and organize.

I really would like to see us work on putting the infrastructure for this together.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.