The following combines personal experience with emerging Web 2.0 tools and language for my own specific use. I am interested in the interface between connectivity and content with an ethical turn. WordPress offers a unique feature which allows me to trace how users access and interact with the blog posts and pages hosted here. I am particularly interested in the grouping of tags, folksonomies and I collect them at the end of each day. In this way I learn through my users that they want to know how I use terms like benign colonialism or Web 2.0. This organic glossary is a response to that as well as a teaching, learning and research tool for myself. When I am caught in the middle of a folksonomy or tag cloud I actually have the clearest thoughts about the way in which I am using words. It is preferable to refer back to those peak moments rather then reinvent my use of the concept each time. Postgraduate research is really about refining the use of useful folksonomies so that they may be of use to a next generation of thinkers on similar themes.

An organic, personal lexicon is not a dictionary. For a useful lexicon of tech terms for Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 try “What is” blog terms here.

A glossary of terms can be perceived as reflective of a monological voice. However, the building of organic, referenced glossaries provides access to material that is otherwise indecipherable. I had once naively imagined that elegant and lucid academic writing was possible without any jargon. However, discipline-specific language facilitates communication between high-end users. For the occasional user, access to a basic (although inadequate) glossary of terms can mean the difference between an introductory level of understanding and no understanding. This is not unlike the reading of contemporary art. Sometimes the difference between dissonance and resonance resides in access to a key concept.


Anchors This is an attempt to create an anchor within one of my Google Docs & Spreadsheets Spinoza

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 1992-2007 ongoing. “Speechless Glossary of Terms.” First uploaded YY/MM/DD . Last revision DD/MM/YY. Accessed DD/MM/YY. Please copy, alter and use this work but you must attribute the work or section of work used to Maureen Flynn-Burhoe, you may not use this work for commercial purposes unless you have specifically contacted Maureen Flynn-Burhoe for special permissions and arrangements, you, if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. For intext citations use this format (Flynn-Burhoe YYYY). Then add the full webliographic entrance at the bottom of your text.

Ex. Tim O’Reilly, 2005. “What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”. Uploaded 09/30/2005. Accessed January 6, 2007.

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state (1790s-1960s). There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 30s. Mills view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.
See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism. See also Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusion.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003. More: Juan E. Campo, Juan E. Campo. 2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring. More: Mill’s benign colonialism Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.

A blog or weblog, according to pro-blogger Jonathan Yang, is a series of entries (posts) arranged in reverse chronological order. An entry may be just text, or enhanced with images or video and audio clips. Blogs are by nature highly interactive as authors often allow readers to leave comments and maintain blogrolls of their own favourite blogs (Yang 2006:3) . According to the authors of www.folksonomy.orgBlogging is a mutual, symbiotic relationship between bloggers and readers.” Actually, WordPress which is one of my favourite blog servers, allows authors to create either pages, which are linear or posts which are presented with the most recent entry at the top. Blogs like WordPress and Blogger also allow for widgets which increases the connectivity and interactivity of sites.

Civil Society “is defined by Gramsci as the integral social system outside of the state and economic production but integral to both. Civil society is the originating ground of new social movements, religions, identity politics and ‘grassroots’ organisations, all of which debate the reigning ideological consensus or hegemony. However, civil society itself is permeated and colonised by state intervention through, for example, the welfare state and its limbs in the form of various voluntary organisations. Civil society is thus separable only theoretically as a complex set of private interests, estates and corporate, community organisations (Shields 1997).”

Shields, Rob. 1997. “Ethnography in the Crowd: The Body, Sociality and Globalization in Seoul.” Revised and edited version forthcoming in Focaal 1998.
Creative Commons is what makes Web 2.0 possible. I prefer the Creative Commons license 2.5 BY-NC-SA recommended for teaching, learning and research. This means that anyone can copy, paste and use my material as long as my name remains attached to it, they are not selling it or the finished product with my work in it for profit, and that they add the same BY-NC-SA to their finished work so others can benefit. more

Ethnography “There is a long tradition in ethnography of paying close attention to place as a cipher of the organisation and structuring of everyday life. From Malinowski’s first works through, for example, Bourdieu’s studies of the cosmological layout of the Berber village and home, ethnographers have set out, ” . . . to decipher, from the way the place is organised (the frontier always postulated and marked out between wild nature and cultivated nature, the permanent or temporary allotment of cultivable land or fishing grounds, the layout of villages, the arrangement of housing and rules of residence-in short, the group’s economic, social, political, and religious geography), an order which is all the more restrictive-in any case, the more obvious-because its transcription in space gives it the appearance of a second nature (Shields 1997 citing Augé 1995).”

Augé, M. 1995. Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodemity. John Howe trans., New York: Verso.

“In a previous article I have discussed the theoretical problems of such situations for participant-observation methods. In addition to arguing that such ethnographic practices violate professional codes of conduct, I have considered the well known work of Clifford and Marcus who propose a dialogical model based on Bakhtin’s theorization of the speech-situations between individuals engaged in conversation, and also in the context of public sphere interaction in situations such as marketplaces. However, a fully ethnographic appropriation of Bakhtin must go beyond the methodological use of dialogical models of cross-cultural encounter to recognize the ethical implications of Bakhtin’s theorization of the importance of outsider-status and alterity (Shields 1997 citing 1996a).”

Ethnoclassification Star (1996) used the term ethnoclassification in reference to the work of her research group who were exploring the convergence of the sociology of science and the sociology of work with digital libraries. Their work, as ethnographers in a way, involved tracing the web backwards by observing how readers routinely adopt and adapt formal classification schemes with their own personal everyday classification systems in their local work spaces, filing cabinets, computer desktops, web browsers, and group-level software.

See Star, Susan Leigh. 1996. “Slouching toward Infrastructure.” Digital Libraries Conference Workshop. Illinois Research Group on Classification. Graduate School of Library and Information Science   University of Illinois.

Folksonomies are categories, tags or key words chosen by writers and used by readers to facilitate and optimize Internet searches. The communal virtual archives is flooded with unending torrents of digital data and users need high performance search devices to optimize search engine results. The term ‘folksonomy’ (volksonomy) captures the spirit of a revivified Internet where users train and are trained to use free software. Although I find the term itself to be inelegant, I use it because of its brilliance. It works as a key word searching device. If I type folksonomy I will probably find sites related to my own interest in connectivity/content issues. For many people Googling is already a verb used in everyday language, helping users navigate and find instead of surfing and searching for information on the Internet. I have worked with key words in bibliography software EndNote for many years. Now I can share other users searches with social bookmarking freeware such as deli.cio.us, Swicki and Google’s own user-customized-search. Sites that are tagged with efficient, relevant tags (folksonomies) on topics that are situated within current conversations, will get more hits. See also tag clouds, social bookmarking, ethnoclassification.

Gnosis from Clearforest helps you to see the forest and the trees. It is part of the Gnosis is part of ClearForest’s Semantic Web Services suite.

“With one click, Gnosis scans the text you’re reading and automatically identifies people, places, companies, organizations, products and more. Gnosis’s findings are presented to you in a sidebar where you can use them to navigate your content by people, places, companies and a number of other items.ClearForest’s Gnosis is built on top of our enterprise-class text-mining platform. We’ve implemented a small portion of our capabilities as a web service that Gnosis uses to extract information from unstructured text.” See Gnosis from Clearforest.

RSS is available now to the ordinary blogger like myself. When I click on this icon which I’ve placed on my customized Firefox menu, it opens up my Google reader providing me with the RSS feed link to blogs and news media providers. I have my favourite news outlets on a customized Google Home page which includes The Colbert Report, La Presse, CBC, BBC, Scientific American etc. I can get the news and avoid the sensationalist dumbed-down media. I can also .RSS my own pages so I remember my latest entries on my various blogs. RSS is described on wikipedia as “a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, ‘readers’ or ‘aggregators’: the user ‘subscribes’ to a feed by supplying to their reader a l such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. Users of RSS content use programs called feedlink to the feed; the reader can then check the user’s subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user. The initials “RSS” are variously used to refer to the following standards: Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0); Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0); RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0).” Wikipedia

Semantic web …..

Tag Clouds ….

Web 2.0, is a term coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2004 for a series of conferences on a revivified Internet. O’Reilly (2005) in what is now considered to be his seminal article claimed that, “If Netscape was the standard bearer for Web 1.0, Google is most certainly the standard bearer for Web 2.0 (O’Reilly 2005). He contrasted Web 1.0 with Web 2.0 by citing examples: DoubleClick vs Google AdSense, Ofoto vs Flickr, Britannica Online vs Wikipedia, personal websites vs blogging, domain name speculation vs search engine optimization, page views vs cost per click, publishing vs participation, content management systems vs wikis directories (taxonomy) vs tagging (“folksonomy”) and stickiness vs syndication. The conceptual map his team devised provides the clearest sketch of Web 2.0 showing social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies. Although some argue that it does not exist as anything more than geek jargon, for this new user, it is a promising and surprising paradigm shift in the Internet and in software development. Numerous users like myself have access to sophisticated, ever-improving software technologies since the cost of development is shared among enthusiastic nerds and geeks (in a good way). Freeware on Web 2.0 is not proprietary by nature but is capable of generating huge profits because of the viral way in which users share in the development, marketing and growth of the product while improving connectivity and in content in the process.

Selected webliography

Gnosis from Clearforest

Tim O’Reilly, 2005. “What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”. Uploaded 09/30/2005. Accessed January 6, 2007.

“RSS.” Wikipedia.

“Web 2.0,” Wikipedia.

Web 2.0 Third Annual Web 2.0 Summit


Yang, Jonathan. 2006. The Rough Guide to Blogging.


Complete list of tags

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