Cosma / Documentation / About

Cosmos : Greek kosmos (masculine) an orderly harmonious systematic universe – M. Webster
Cosma : Greek kosma (feminine) an orderly harmonious systematic description of the universe — M. E. Hopper

Cosma is an initiative to create an inventory of the best knowledge resources in the world with neat ways to navigate and explore them.1

Content is King

Cosma provides structured access to a systematic, top-down inventory of some of the world’s most valuable, interesting and entertaining Knowledge Resources. There are hundreds of pages, and each one features hand picked links to subject specific resources. There are also customized links to database driven resources that can be accessed with URLs that use consistent search strings (e.g. Webster, Britannica, WorldCat etc.). All of the links on the pages are organized by a unique classification scheme named Knowledge Forms that was developed exclusively for Cosma.

Knowledge Navigation

Cosma has a number of 3D interfaces that enable truly spatial Knowledge Navigation and invite exploration of the Knowledge Resources inventory hosted on this site.

This 360° image is the first in a series of Toy Worlds that serve as a 3D interface to Cosma.

Click on objects to find out about them.
Use the menu or doors to visit other Toy Worlds.

You can also explore this Toy World on Kuula.

Learn more about Toy Worlds on this page.

There is also a 3D interface that is hosted in the virtual world called Second Life.
It is named Knowledge Places (K-Places), and it is all that remains of a far more extensive project that began in 2006. At the height of the project in 2010, there were many sites that covered more than a million square meters in Second Life. The sites were made up of thematically organized spaces designed around inviting spatial metaphors (Parks, Palace, Paradise, etc.). You can find out more about the project on the K-Places page.

Knowledge Places Welcome Center

The above examples are just the latest experiments with creating 3D interfaces. The first prototype was created with Apple’s HyperCard that ran in color on an Apple IIGS with ProDOS in the 1980s. There have been many others created using a variety of platforms over the years.

This is a timeline of the evolution of Cosma.
HyperCard (1987 – 1994)
SecondLife (2006 – Present)
RoundMe (2017 – 2022)
Kuula (2022 – Present)

Learn more on the Worlds Challenge page.

More to see and do!

There are a number of other ways of exploring Cosma. For example, you can browse a visual menu of some popular Categories of content.

There are also over a hundred Adventures which are “posts” that highlight awesome and timely resources. They also usually include one or more immersive 360° YouTube videos.

If you would like to see a complete description of what is on the site, then take a look at the Contents and Index pages.

Of course, for other important information, be sure to check out the FAQ and Credits pages.

Finally, Cosma also uses a “embedded and distributed” Documentation approach. There are passages and footnotes about the project distributed across the pages on this site in the context where they are relevant. In addition, they are also gathered together in one place on the Notes page, so that page is a cumulative and evolving collection of clippings about the history, theory and structure of Cosma.

Thank you for your interest, and please share Cosma with your friends! It is free, and there is something for everybody. There is far more to see and do than anyone can see in a single visit, and more things are added all of the time, so visit often and wander the Web!


Dr. Mary E. Hopper, Cosma’s Creator & Curator



These are links to some key pages.


DIKW Content Hierarchy

Content, Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

Communication Systems

Cosma provides access to Knowledge Resources organized around the elements of communication systems.

Media, Knowledge, Human and Noise

Knowledge Navigation

Knowledge Worlds

Knowledge Objects (K-Objects)
Knowledge Places (K-Places)

Knowledge Gates to Second Life (K-Gates, Alpha)
Knowledge Palace (K-Palace, Beta)
Knowledge Paradise (K-Paradise, K-Places 1.0)

Toy Worlds (post)
Worlds Challenge



1.   Cosma is just the most recent iteration of a project that has been evolving for decades, and it’s based upon years of R&D in information, knowledge and communication systems. It’s been a long and winding road — here are some pointers to some stops along the way …
Hopper, M. E. (1993). Purdue Knowledge System. HyperCard, HyperNews, Gopher and World Wide Web Prototype. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
Hopper, M. E. (1993). Educational Courseware Production in Advanced Computing Environments. Doctoral Dissertation. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
Hopper, M. E. (1993). Expert’s Views about Courseware Development in Advanced Computing Environments [Abstract]. Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 93 – Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 607.
Hopper, M. E. (1998, October). Hypertext in Historical Context: Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson revisited. Media-in-Transition Project / Communications Forum, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (1999, October). A Project About Projects: Watching Academic E-Media Projects Evolve [Presentation]. Media in Transition: An International Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (1999, December). MIT E-Knowledge System: A Systematic Approach to Improving Academic Enterprises at MIT and Beyond [Proposal]. Submitted to iCampus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (2000, January). Knowledge systems 101: From Alexandria to Hitchhiker’s Guide. Independent Activity Period, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (2007, April). The Knowledge Gates to SecondLife. Media in Transition 5 Conference: Creativity, Ownership and Collaboration in the Digital Age, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (2009, April). Cosma: Constructing a Kingdom of Knowledge. Media in Transition 6 Conference: Stone and Papyrus, Storage and Transmission, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.