Connected Copies

In case you don’t know, I believe the future of the web involves moving away from the idea of centralized, authoritative locations and into something I call “connected copies”.

The idea is that the current model of the web, which is based on the places where things live instead of the names of things, creates natural choke points and power inequities. Further, it undermines the true peer-to-peer potential of the web.

A newer model would look like email, torrenting, or git, where multiple copies of things were stored across the web, but connected and authenticated by protocols, data models, or other conventions. Federated wiki is one way to do that. Named Data Networking is another. The Interplanetary File System is a third. This new project by the Berkman Center is a fourth.

I’m posting this because I’ve been writing an explanatory post on Connected Copies for five months now (and I’ve been writing on the subject of copies as an approach to OER for over half a decade) and it’s clear it’s just a hard idea to explain to people who aren’t poised to get it. The draft of the explanatory post is now about 10,000 words which is ridiculous.

But maybe the better way to get the idea is to just keep this term in your head — connected copies — and just go about your daily life. My experience is that once you do that, you can’t unsee how many people are working in this space.

8 thoughts on “Connected Copies

  1. Count me in on that reading list too. I would read it. I like the comparison to Git, which really is a fully shared system with a kind of loose central authority GitHub for committing changes/forks back to the community.

  2. Amber seems to be focused on creating backup copies of linked URLs to display to viewers if/when the original URL is unreachable. I’ve been playing with it for the past few days, and it looks to be an easy way to future-proof a blog from inevitable link-rot.

    On a related note, the Amber website links to a long-running digital preservation project at Stanford called LOCKSS (for “Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.”) It’s a system for university libraries, but I imagine that you’ll find the underlying design and approach interesting.

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