Update: The CritSuite Toolset Project has been completed. This page is now part of an archive of CritSuite web pages. The domain http://crit.org no longer belongs to this project or to Foresight Nanotech Institute. For current information on CritSuite, please see the site maintained by the author of the software, Ka-Ping Yee: http://zesty.ca/crit
CritSuite software enabling bidirectional, fine-grained annotation of any web text is now posting for free public use at http://crit.org/ It works with any web browser and requires no downloading of code in order to use. The source code is available on an open source license for use on other servers, and for modification.
When both the successes and the limitations of the World Wide Web become apparent, Foresight developed an initiative to get the features required for a true hypertext publishing system incorporated into World Wide Web standards. This "Web Enhancement Project" was explained first in an article in Foresight Update 21, and also in an overview article. The initial proposal mostly depended on getting additional code written, but in addition the backlinks page proposed a near-term solution enabling backlinks immediately using then existing browsers and search engines.
The Next Step Was to look to Hyper-G for Web Enhancement
CritSuite development continues. Users may now obtain email notification every time a link is added to any specific page of interest (the "monitor" button). The CritWriter form, obtained through the "comment" button, has been simplified and clarified. CritSuite is operating on a "bazaar-style" open source development model; your comments and code are welcome. Visit http://crit.org/ to use the software and for information on CritSuite email lists.
For our first dicussion topic using CritSuite, "The other half of the web," we've chosen how new technologies in surveillance and encryption will affect longstanding standards of privacy and openness. The relevance to nanotechnology is clear--consider nanotechnological-scale surveillance--and the topic has many other advantages: people already care intensely about it, there are technical aspects that are understood by some but not by others, and those involved in this topic tend to be highly computer-literate and early adopters of new software.
You are invited to join in this discussion at http://crit.org/http://crit.org/openness. Explore the site, read the source documents, make your first comment. (If you change your mind about it, you can use the "edit" button to delete it.) Once you know your way around, perhaps you'll feel more ambitious. Engines suggests that "Authors will write pithy, exciting summaries of ideas and link them to the lengthy, boring explanations. As authors expound and critics argue, they will lay out their competing worldview networks in parallel, point by point." For example, you may not agree with the way that someone structures a chart of issues (e.g. http://crit.org/http://crit.org/openness/crossfire/ChartCP.html). You may decide to do a completely different chart, and link it to various other documents in the discussion.
There increasingly appear to be many practical ways of
implementing a true hypertext publishing
system on the WWW. Since Foresight first
addressed this opportunity two years ago, the methods
considered have included backlinks,
Hyper-G and most recently the Annotator. Independent of the Annotator
work referred to in May's progress update below is a solution
coded by Ka-Ping Yee using a design originally conceived by Mark
Miller. Ping's M1+ proposal has
performed very well in initial trials, and is presented here.
Everyone involved in the Web Enhancement project at Foresight is
very excited about this development, and we will soon bring you
more details and a perspective on the importance of this work.
Chris Peterson explains why
Foresight now believes that the Annotator code developed by Wayne Gramlich
seems more promising than Hyper-G for developing a hypertext
publishing system to handle real debates on complex issues. Terry
Stanley, who is now completing the Annotator project for
Foresight, describes how the Annotator