Markup Free Auto Linking Wiki

From Eugene Eric Kim

By markup-free, auto-linking Wiki, I mean a Wiki that has the traditional auto-linking features, except that there are no such things as Collab:WikiWords or internal link markup (sometimes called a Free Link). Instead, this Wiki would rely on an ontology to detect words that should be linked.

For example, if "collaborative tools" were a concept you wanted in your Wiki, instead of creating the equivalent Collab:WikiWord or Free Link, you would define this as a term in your ontology. The next time "collaborative tools" were mentioned on a Wiki page, the Wiki would create the appropriate link.

This has the following benefits:

  • When you explicitly add a term to your ontology, that term essentially becomes a first-class concept in your Wiki. The way it's done right now, you would have to track every instance of that term in the Wiki and convert it manually into a Collab:WikiWord.
  • You could add synonyms and other relationships, and the Wiki would link it in a way that makes sense. For example, you could add "tools for collaboration" and define that as a synonym to "collaborative tools." The Wiki could then either link all references to "tools for collaboration" to the page entitled, "collaborative tools," or it could create a new page and create a synonym link between them. You could also define "collaborative tool" as a singular version of "collaborative tools," and have the same linking effect as described above.


These ideas came up again while I was having coffee with Dorai Thodla (August 7, 2004), which inspired me to write them down. The "collaborative tools"/"tools for collaboration" example is Dorai's.

There are two tools, one of which predates Wikis, that were initial experiments to this effect. The first is Ken Shan's huhebi. The other is Collab:Chris Dent's Warp.

Many conversations with Collab:Jack Park about ontologies helped prime my thinking in this direction.