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An Experiment in Information Design
In addition to creating a usable interface to an effective repository for engineering knowledge, openCortex is an exercise in user-generated content. The idea of user-generated content is not original. We are deeply indepted to web innovators like epinions and ebay for paving the way to creating a user-generated virtual world. openCortex is an experiment in creating organic, user-generated taxonomy structures.

All knowledge stores are governed by static taxonomies. Just visit your local library or book store to check out an example. Once the Librarian decides that Toni Morrison is under African-American Literature under 20th Century Literature, that's where she will stay.

Most virtual taxonomies are organized in a similar way. But computers and more specifically databases, are capable of more than the 3-dimensional world's card catalogs and bookshelves. Namely, they are infinitely flexible and mutable and can grow in infinite dimensions.

So what if, you could decide how to organize the library? What if you were researching Toni Morrison and the use of regressive story-telling in time? What if when you went to find Toni Morrison's Beloved, instead of finding Alice Walker and James Baldwin next to it, you found a reference to the movie Memento? and Marcel Proust's Swann's Way? What if every time you had a new idea? the taxonomy changed to revolve around your new idea? What if the world could be exactly the way you wanted it to be? openCortex is a modest first step on the path to this virtual utopia.
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