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Interoperability: All About Collaboration?

The essence of openness « Jon Udell.  Last March, Jon Udell expressed the essence of collaboration:

Collaboration: People working together in shared information spaces, using shared technical and social protocols, to achieve shared goals.

I say this is the ultimate purpose of interoperability arrangements: technical facilitation of collaboration.

Jon ties openness to collaboration.  I think openness is a powerful means, a potential companion of interoperability.  Read the comments for deeper discussion of the openness angle.

In cyberspace, interoperability is a crucial foundation for collaboration.  The instrumentalities—spaces, media, tools, and protocols—must be available and interwork to support the collaboration. 

I want to take collaboration broadly, including communication, even unidirectional communication.  I want to include the kind of collaboration that escapes the bounds of space, time, and place, with participants that may never meet nor even know of each other. 

Considering the value of interoperability to be in its support for collaboration, it would be interesting to assess interoperability arrangements in terms of the degree to which they reduce friction and contribute fluidity, richness, durability and inviting opportunity for collaboration.  Interoperability, including open interoperability, as a collaboration affordance seems like a worthy topic for further discussion.

I've been playing a game where I pick a blog draft, trim it into a complete state, and post it in five minutes.  I failed miserably with this one.   On the other hand, I've been sitting on the promise to post on this topic since March and now I've done it.  All I needed to do was put down a marker for potential elaborations.  I'm not sure I accomplished that very well.

[update: 2007-06-18T02:57Z There's something unsatisfying about this post and it's been nagging me since I clicked the Publish button.  Here's how it looks.  I am satisfied that openness is not a prerequisite for collaboration, and certainly not for interoperability.  At the same time, I have very little interest in interoperability arrangements that are not open.  I am interested in open interoperability, open collaboration and, to stretch a point, open openness.  I am not at all interested in instruments of closed collaboration and closed integration and closed interoperability (and there are such things or speaking of open flavors makes no sense whatsoever).   I'll settle for Open Systems Integration (the OSI standards and their non-ISO counterparts) but I strongly favor Open (Open Systems) Integration.  So my attention is on instruments that afford open collaboration and open integration, serving open science and open access and open societies.  They can afford other kinds of collaboration and interoperability and that's fine.  It's just not what attracts my attention and has me be willing to invest any of my energies in them.  There, I feel better now.]

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