Cosma / About
Cosma is a long-term initiative to compile a systematic, top-down inventory of the best resources on the Web and make them accessible them through a variety of interfaces.
Showcasing the best content resources on the Web is the main goal of Cosma.
The pages on this site make up a “mixed directory” with two types of links:
• Links to subject specific resources identified through a long term initiative to create a systematic top-down inventory of the best content resources on the Web.
• Links to about a hundred database driven resources that can be accessed with URLs that use consistent search strings (e.g. Webster, OneLook, Britannica, Wikipedia, WorldCat, etc.)
All links are organized by a special classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma.
There are over five hundred pages with ten or more hand-picked subject specific links right now, and there will be more than a thousand pages with up to a hundred links per page soon.
There are also more than a hundred “posts” about journeys through fun resources on the Web. The posts usually include one or more immersive 360° YouTube videos.
Another key goal of this project is to have a fun, immersive and interactive spatial interface for “navigating” the resources on this site and the Web. There have been many experiments with making those interfaces (also known as “virtual worlds“) created with a variety of platforms over the years (HyperCard, HyperNews, SecondLife, RoundMe, Unity3D, etc.). You can find out more about them on the Worlds page.
A funny thing happened while doing “previs” for a future version, though.
It turned out that using a Rioch Theta S 360° camera and RoundMe to hack together a demo led to an unexpectedly fun and usable interface. The resulting “Toy Worlds” are now serving as an interface to Cosma.
This is the first in the series of twelve Toy Worlds that are distributed across this site.
Click the 360° image below to explore this Toy World, click the menu in the upper right for controls and click “i” buttons on/off for links to experiences. Use “portals” to visit other Toy Worlds.
You can also explore this on RoundMe.
If you have trouble seeing this on RoundMe, then try using an updated or different browser.
You can read more about the fun backstory of how Toy Worlds came about on this post.
Finally, all of this is just the newest iteration of a very old project based upon over thirty years of research and development in information, knowledge and communication systems, utilities and environments. The first prototype was created in the 1980s using HyperCard in color that ran on an Apple IIGS with ProDOS.
The technology platform, content inventory, target audience and motivational strategy all evolved through many iterations since then, and they are now approaching a place where they function together to provide a valuable resource ready to be shared with the public.
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.
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. (2000, January). Knowledge systems 101: From Alexandria to Hitchhiker’s Guide. Independent Activity Period (IAP), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
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.