Introducing Oliver, WorldBrain.io, Memex and Storex, Democratising Knowledge


Hey folks,
after invitation to join here by @hugi and @nadia and some busy weeks behind, I finally made it. :tada:

Looking forward to dive into this community as I heard so many good things and see a lot of room to collaborate on the projects I am involved in.

Quick intro about me:
I am Oliver and get really excited by anything related to systems thinking, governance, sociology, psychology, social polarisation and misinformation, alternative economics…solar punk stuff :slight_smile:
I also like to dance. Big ecstatic dance fan :slight_smile:


WorldBrain.io

I founded WorldBrain.io, a steward ownership business with the goal of battling online misinformation and societal polarisation at scale. We are building open-source tools for people to organise their online research, and build on other people’s research to understand complext topics quicker, deeper and with more nuance. Our tools are focused on providing maximum data sovereignty and freedom to move between providers - so no social or data lock-ins and full room for innovating on knowledge management tools.
The two main tools we are developing are Memex and Storex.
Also involved are @allegra and @JuliaV.


Memex

Memex is a browser extension to organise your web research more efficiently.
It’s a mix of

  1. a Google Search for everything you have seen in the past
  2. Medium’s/GDocs highlighting and commenting features but for the whole web and
  3. Pocket’s quick organisation features supercharged. You can also save & archive tweets.

Memex runs entirely locally, sync between devices happens P2P. All data is stored on your computer.
Here you can play with it: worldbrain.io

Memex is in an MVP stage currently used by 10.000 people and already generating small revenue.
We just won the LEDGER Open call and got 200k to add collaboration features to Memex.
Imagine being able to search for "lithium mining" across all the websites and papers Elon Musk has read, and seeing and responding to his highlights and notes.


Storex

We know that Memex is not going to be useful to everyone and that everyone needs different tools to organise and share their nuanced digital knowledge that is spread across so many services.
There is a need for many different tools that are adapted to individuals workflows and requirements.

And that is one of the reasons we built Storex: To democratise knowledge creation, ownership and exchange.
Storex is the main storage, syncing, searching and sharing library for the data produced with Memex.
We are about to add an API so that developers and entrepreneurs can have full access to innovate on their own data. (history, annotations, notes, tags, interaction metadata, browsing paths, content of everything visited)
Since Memex is open source they therefore can copy & modify it, add new features that fit their workflows better and still use the same data, or even use 2 Memexes in parallel. But of course you don’t need to build another Memex. You can also just build a connection to one of your favourite apps,
We think there is a lot of potential for this community to experiment and build on such an infrastructure.
For example Edgeryders own crowdtagging platform could build an integration that collects the tags people of the community made and process them there, or people can build recommendation algorithms or autotagging features based on NLP data.


I am looking forward to learn about your use cases. We are right now in the phase of gathering 10-20 interested projects to identify the common needs for such an infrastructure. Let me know if you’d like to chat more, or have any questions already. More than happy to also jump in a call.

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@inge and @fsimonov check this out!

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Hello @BlackForestBoi, good to meet you. I am Alberto, one of the old-timers at Edgeryders. I just installed Memex on my machine, and see how well it meshes with my workflow.

I used to be a big del.icio.us user, then imported my bookmarks on to Diigo when that went down. I am still using Diigo, but kind of half-heartedly, so I am ready for trying something else. I am wondering: is there a way that I could add all those pages to Memex without actually having to visit them all again?

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Hey @alberto

Yes! There is an import function. For that go to settings > import and then pick your diigo export file.

Hope that helps!
Oliver

Thanks Oliver. I tried this yesterday but the Memex got stuck, showing the three flashing dots of “import in progress” for several hours. This morning I checked, and verified my exported HTML file had not been imported. Trying again…

Ah that makes sense. We discovered an issue with the Diigo Export format.
Will be fixed soon. Sorry for the wait :frowning:

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Hi Oliver! Welcome to Edgeryders. Great to have you here.

This would be an interesting feature for the IoH fellows to collect leads for the community to discuss. Looking forward to this feature!

This is potentially very interesting for the purposes of online ethnography. Imagine that 100 participants of an online conversation on edgeryders.eu opted in to install a plugin that they could use to load conversations they have elsewhere into an auxillary dataset. For example, they could mark public FB threads, tweets and blog posts as relevant to their own IoH context. This plugin could be smart by identifying usernames and timestamps and thus opening up to expand SSNA to a third-party expanded conversation. The cached content would be saved on their local hard drives and synced to a ‘collection’ of all the data collected by the participants, which could then also be read and annotated by the ethnographers. This could be quite interesting. An interesting aspect of SSNA is that we can identify the local experts of a specific context by looking at subgraphs of the conversation. Through this methodology, we could also identify the third party experts or influencers that might be “invisibly” informing our conversation. For example, three people in our conversation might all make comments relating to sustainability, mining and space exploration and might all be frequent readers of Elon Musk. Elon then becomes a third-party node in the auxiliary SSNA graph.

What do you think @alberto and @amelia? There might be some room to do a bit of creative thinking on how to expand SSNA to also understand the conversations the informants are involved in outside of the Edgeryders context.

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But to make sure we are working with the same bug. Can you make a screenshot of your console?

to do so press cmd/ctrl + alt + j (on mac) to get the tab’s console, when you are in the tab running the import. then on “console”.

if nothing is visible there go to chrome://extensions and enable “developer mode”, then go to “background page” on the memex card. Then again to “console” and see if there are any error messages.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I use Firefox.

The TypeError: ... message is the one that appeared when I launched the import.

Thank you very much Oliver (@BlackForestBoi) ! the projects you are working on and sharing are very interesting. It was also great to meet you during the community call earlier this week. There we touched a bit on the topic of confirmation bias as well as the value of chosen groups. I would like to ask you to address your position and ideas and how they are reflected in Worldbrain. I think it would be a very interesting point to discuss here as well :).

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thanks @MariaEuler for the encouragement to write a bit more about it. I will write my views up and post it as a new forum post.

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ah thanks for the updates. This will be an easy bug to fix.
Opened a github issue here: https://github.com/WorldBrain/Memex/issues/842

To fix it for yourself, just open the file you have in an editor and then find the line with the entry “http://about:blank” and delete that one.
Finishing the preparation step of the import (where it gets stuck now) should work then. If not there may be other urls with similiar structures. (all with a : sign in the url after the https://should throw this error)

@BlackForestBoi Love the idea and UX. Will start playing with it to see if it becomes a habit.

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Indeed, the import was now successful. I will try out Memex and see if it meshes with my workflow.

One question, though, Oliver. In your other post, I read:

I may have misunderstood Memex. I thought it stored my browsing history locally. Was I wrong? Is there some kind of syncing to this “central data store”?

There are 2 different concepts here.

Memex is the client that allows you to search your history, annotate and (soon) collaborate with others.
Storex is the underyling storage, sync and collaboration infrastructure .

The “centrality” of it is meant to say that all data generated by Memex (and in the future other apps you use) are stored in Storex. The location can be either on your computer, your own server, or wherever you like to have this storage being put.

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Aha. So, two questions:

  1. I am now running Memex. Where am I storing the data?
  2. Do I get to decide who and when accesses my browsing history? How do I do that?

Scrap that, @BlackForestBoi. I just checked your privacy policy, and it has the answers I wanted. By the way, congrats: that’s a really good privacy policy page. I love all the “How do I verify that’s true?” questions. @matthias, let’s make a note of Memex’s privacy policy as a good practice we ourselves might get inspiration from!

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I agree. It is excellent.