How did the idea of VuWiki emerge?
Vulnerability Wiki (short VuWiki) is powered by an interdisciplinary group of researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology who meet regularly to discuss theoretical concepts and own research associated to the topic risk and vulnerability. We would like to give researchers and other stakeholders in the field of risk and disaster management an overview about vulnerability assessments as well as central concepts, methods which have already been applied. We do not aim at “synthesizing” any kind of holistic and comprehensive model for assessments in the sense of a final outcome of this wiki but we would like to present important contributions in a structured fashion. Right from the beginning we pursued the idea to develop a semantic wiki for the following reasons:
- Although wikis are convenient for storing and retrieving individual information their content is often weakly structured. A semantic wiki allows to organize categories hierarchically and thus improves the consistency of the content.
- The structure of the wiki is provided by an ontology, which could be understood as a hierarchical representation of concepts and their interrelations in a certain knowledge domain.
- Additionally semantic wikis offer features like automatically-generated lists, semantic annotions of the wiki, addition of semantic information by templates just to name a few.
Our overall aim was to develop a terminological structure for the vulnerability domain that allows to describe the key facts for assessments and make their content easily accessible at a glance. In numerous sessions our group developed the structure of this ontology collaboratively and revised it by doing some “test-cases” and discussing the “fit” of the terminological structure to the content which should be organized by it. We quickly recognized that this is an adaptation process that will still go on.
Like in most taxonomic approaches in vulnerability research or social science in general we will always encounter some difficulties in "classifying" all potential objects by a predefined set of categories and properties. Nevertheless we hope that we can provide a good starting point for a lively discussion by our ontology!