Hello encyclopedia lovers,
We have great news: last month we deposited a $300,000 grant from FUTO, a new org founded to “develop technology and share knowledge that gives control of computers back to the people.” We are hugely grateful to FUTO. We are also grateful to over 100 of you who have donated, together, well over $10,000.We cannot guarantee that FUTO will contribute again next year! Please regularly donate a little, or a lot…we will need your support.
Look at our annotated links below to catch up with us.
Some highlights about what we’re doing.
The web presence of the Knowledge Standards Foundation
Video: The Universal Network of Encyclopedias: A Progress Report
A slick 49-minute explainer; intros the system and gives a progress update. A white paper in video form.
Short video: Quick Intro to the Encyclosphere
90-second intro to the vision
Original (2019) short video: The Encyclosphere in Two Minutes
Still a good expression of our vision, and we’ve made good progress toward it, too
Manifesto: Introducing the encyclosphere project
General written introduction (3000 words) on the project; vision statement
Donation page: Donate
Public-Facing Software Projects
Search engine, reader, and aggregator: EncycloReader.org
Quickly search and read articles from 12 sources on the encyclosphere. While this is our flagship project illustrating what we do with the ZWI format and the encyclosphere network, it gives a rough, early idea of what we’re building. Right now it contains only a small selection of articles, not all of them, from many of our sources; a more mature version will (perhaps this year) include content from millions of articles and hundreds of encyclopedias. To be redesigned and made OSS soonish.
Search engine and aggregator: EncycloSearch.org
Another fast search engine, without a reader (for now), covering 15 sources. Slightly different selection of content. Now OSS. Uses a different aggregator, which supports BitTorrent. Our goal is to prepare EncycloReader and EncycloSearch both so they can be installed and configured by any encyclopedia publisher/curator for specialized collections. This older version actually searches 27 sources, but it’s slower.
Self-owned social media platform: Minifeed.org
This WordPress theme turns a (new) blog into a social media theme. Version 2, now undergoing in-house testing, allows you to follow other Minifeed sites and other RSS feeds. One goal is to develop a decentralized network architecture similar to that of the encyclosphere.
This is an open forum on the technology of decentralization in general. While mostly dormant now, if anybody wants to dive in, there are several of us who would engage you.
Encyclopedias that already publish to the encyclosphere: Citizendium.org and HandWiki.org
The KSF does not own these, but they serve as test beds for connecting encyclopedias to the encyclosphere. Both are equipped with plugins that their publishers can use to push articles to the encyclosphere. We’ve tested this and it works. We need to do further development and expansion before we include all articles from these sources, however.
Backend Software and Documentation Projects
Most of our progress in the last 18 months has been on the back end, developing the standards, the database, and the network (which are all much farther along than when we started, but still not complete).
Git repositories: KSF (@ks_found) repos on Gitlab
Most of our code is here. Developers will know what to do (if they want to look or participate).
HTML-to-ZWI converter: ZWIBuilder
MediaWiki plugin: ZWIMaker
This configurable extension can be used by encyclopedia publishers to convert pages on wikis that run MediaWiki (like Wikipedia) to the ZWI format and then pushes them to the encyclosphere. We have a similar plugin for the popular DokuWiki software as well. These plugins have been tested on Citizendium and HandWiki.
Network software: ZWINetwork
This is the software we use to exchange files between the databases that run EncycloReader and EncycloSearch. It also can be used by you—to create a local mirror of all the ZWI files on the encyclosphere.
Network and aggregator software: EncycloTorrent(soon to be moved)
Somewhat similar to ZWINetwork, this is server software that allows backend access to the Encyclosphere; it allows you to run aggregators, manage ZWI databases, upload and download files to the aggregator, and make files available via BitTorrent. It has a REST API that could be used to build apps. This will soon be merged with EncycloSearch.
ZWI file viewer and editor software: ZWIEditor
While any ZIP reader can open a ZWI file, this software is made specifically to show and edit the contents of ZWI files. Mostly useful for developers at this point, later versions or forks might serve as software that will push articles from your desktop directly to any encyclosphere aggregator.
Standards documentation site: docs.encyclosphere.org
Regularly-updated (but not quite finished) technical specification of the KSF’s encyclosphere file, database, and aggregator standards. Note: in addition to docs.encyclosphere.org, there is also documentation associated with each repo and, of course, in comments.
KSF Internal Organization Links
If you want to get involved with any aspect of building the encyclosphere, here are the links to follow. Among the kinds of people we have involved are hardcore developers, general techies, designers, and occasionally writer/editors and publishers.
Join the mailing list: Encyclosphere.org: “How Can You Help?”
Halfway down the front page of the KSF website, join the mailing list to receive occasional announcements about our progress. Essential.
Internal/volunteer discussion: Encyclosphere.slack.com
That’s an invite link. This is where we exchange info and discuss stuff on a day-to-day basis. Developers, join #dev; designers, join #design. We also organize the weekly meetings from here. We’ll adopt some OSS at some point, but we use Slack for now as a temporary concession to popularity and ease of use.
Weekly meeting: Encyclosphere.org/meet
This link actually forwards to a Jit.si meeting, which happens almost every Friday at 11 a.m. We encourage you to introduce yourself on the Slack group before or shortly after you join us, but it’s an open and friendly meeting. Almost everybody who has worked much on the project has joined us here. It’s always very interesting, at least to us.
Internal server: NextCloud
Well, I won’t share the address. But I wanted to plug the OSS NextCloud system we have recently installed. It’s very cool and replaces all sorts of giant, centralized, controlling corporate solutions. We’re using it to exchange and develop organizational media and planning files (etc.).So we’ve been busy. I myself already use our search engines on a regular basis. They’re already useful, and they’ll only get more so.
The Knowledge Standards Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our core mission is to help bring the Encyclosphere into being. We are global group of volunteers creating the standards and tools for the Encyclosphere—the universal network of encyclopedias—an ownerless, leaderless, centerless knowledge commons. The Encyclosphere is a decentralized series of “feeds” of encyclopedias and individual articles posted anywhere online. You can learn more about the KSF and our other projects at https://encyclosphere.org.