“The Underlay is a global, distributed graph database of public knowledge. Initial hosts will include universities and individuals, such that no single group controls the content. This is an attempt to replicate the richness of private knowledge graphs in a public, decentralized manner….

Powerful collections of machine-readable knowledge are growing in importance each year, but most are privately owned (e.g., Google’s Knowledge Graph, Wolfram Alpha, Scopus). The Underlay aims to secure such a collection as a public resource. It also gives chains of provenance a central place in its data model, to help tease out bias or error that can appear at different layers of assumption, synthesis, and evaluation….

The Underlay team is developing the protocols, first instances, and governing rules of this knowledge graph. Information will be added at first by building focused, interpretive overlays — knowledge curated for a particular audience. Overlays could for instance be journals, maps, or timelines, incorporating many sources of more granular information into a single lens….

[Coming in Phase 2:] A network of Underlay nodes at different institutions, demonstrating local vs global updating. An initial pipeline for extracting structured knowledge and sources from documents to populate lower layers. Tools to sync with existing structured repositories such as Wikidata, Freebase, and SHARE. And tools to visualize what is in the Underlay and how it is being used….”