Ops: Meme = Online Public Spaces: Multidisciplinary explorations in Multiuser Environments.
With the expanding reliance on networked media for research, information, and education, there is a growing need to understand how to effectively convey knowledge to heterogeneous groups of people. To address this need, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and researchers from such diverse fields as computer science and engineering, art studio, history of art and architecture, and sociology, began working together in the Fall of 1997 to design a foundation for facilitating the creation of online communities engineered around compelling content. The title of this research initiative, Online Public Spaces: Multidisciplinary Explorations in Multiuser Environments (OPS:MEME), examines two critical aspects of knowledge acquisition as they relate to digital distribution: the importance of context in shaping knowledge transfer, and the role of social communication and collaboration in altering and enhancing knowledge production and assimilation.
OPS:MEME addresses these issues by creating a new kind of public space for collaborative interdisciplinary activity, built around the design, implementation, and evaluation of: 1) a software architecture called the "Information Personae"; 2) innovative inclusion strategies for community construction; 3) four different kinds of interactional testbeds; 4) captured use patterns within and between testbeds; and 5) various types of access modalities and view generation related to information needs unique to each testbed project.