'Magazine' versus 'factory' websites:

As you explore the functions and products of this website you will see a variety of information resources 'packaged' in many ways. This makes EcoPort a combination service: on the one hand it 'presents & publishes' information as do many 'magazine'-type websites; but on the other hand, the set of EcoPort procedures that enable users to manipulate, create and assemble their own and new knowledge products, makes our database function like an 'application' too; a 'factory' where users can assemble information into knowledge. This is why we call it a 'knowledge processor' in metaphoric reference to the fact that MS Word is a computer program/application that enables users to write and manipulate narrative. In a similar manner, EcoPort presents a large number of toolboxes, templates, tools and procedures that enable users to process shared information items in a communal system into knowledge.

This difference between a 'magazine' website and an 'open factory' website is very obvious: visitors to probably more than 99% of the websites on the Internet; e.g. websites such as FAO's, can only read what is presented to them. They cannot manipulate a single ASCII character anywhere on such websites. This relationship stands revealed in the term webmaster that unequivocally reveals that 'authoring control' is vested in a webmaster who shapes the way the user can, 'slavishly experience the one-way broadcast of information by the website. (Most websites are very much like listening to radio broadcasts.) Once the webmaster has established the structure, layout and links that determines the website's identity, the user's only choice is to follow or not follow the 'paths' fixed by the webmaster. If you want to be a webmaster and publish your own information as a website, you will have to create your own service. Very few websites allow individuals to participate directly to create a communal universe of web pages accessible at the same URL - wikipedia being the most familiar example of information packaging systems and services.

The only difference between modern 'digital magazine' websites and printed magazines of say the 1950's is that readers can now 'interact' with the magazine publishers via an embedded e-mail service whereas the 1950's printed magazine editor could only be contacted through the postal service.

It would probably not be an exaggeration to suggest that >99% of the websites on the Internet, are produced by digital magazine publishers.

In general, the function of Internet/www systems may be divided into three classes.

Unfortunately the differences between (i) communication activity, (ii) information distribution and interlinking and (iii) integrated knowledge management are very poorly understood and appreciated. A telephone system that will allow many people anywhere to talk to many other people everywhere, could hardly be described as a 'knowledge management' system. And yet, there are many important institutions that showcase 'tagged twittering' as the central process of their knowledge management efforts; i.e. explicitly as distinct from their open communication policies and mechanisms.

Two other attributes of websites are also pertinent to the understanding of this CA.EcoPort website's functioning:

Firstly, websites that are driven by a background database are very different from websites that are manually constructed using only the HTML protocol. In HTML-only websites, everything has to be authored manually as in writing a letter. In wikipedia, every link has to be constructed manually, and while this is unavoidable, this kind of authoring does not, in any way, implement or benefit from the relational database model. At the next level of systems coherence, there is EcoPort that is (a) fundamentally driven by a relational database, (b) uses collaborative authoring and its implied and broader open-society philosophy and (c) uses HTML for its webpage structuring and publishing dimensions. (See later description of EcoPort as a relational wiki on the web page 'Content and Role Players'.)

Secondly, the overwhelmingly common approach to creating a 'commonwealth' of knowledge is to link separate systems into a web ring or cluster of websites that are rendered interoperable through various kinds of consensually adopted and implemented meta-system ontologies and semantic protocols. This in contrast to the EcoPort and wikipedia approaches that create a shared, central system wherein ownership is vested in the individual records in a communal database; e.g. as in the familiar example of individual control of discrete (password-controlled) financial bank accounts maintained in a single, central database. (See 'hub' pop-up also on this home page.)