Contributing to several software applications and open source communities gave me the possibility to interact with people from different domains. I recall the days when I assumed of certain universal concepts known to all. However, I learned an early lesson that such assumptions cannot be made. My interactions with people from diverse domains quickly removed the myth of 'universally' known fact or the phrases 'everybody knows that...’.

Having used some of the most popular social networking applications and blogging platforms, I assumed that “everybody” has heard about them. I still remember my first discussions years ago with some artists, when I discussed the possibility of sharing the photographs of their works online. I shared the names of some “popular” blogging platforms, which provide some simple interfaces to write articles and share photographs of their works and exhibitions. To my surprise, they did not know the names of any of those platforms. That is when I learned that ‘popular’ or ‘commonly used’ platforms (in this case, blogging platforms) vary from place to place.

Having done my studies in computer science, I wondered whether developing a website is difficult these days. I feel that it is now easy to start a new blog. Nevertheless, the above interactions made me realize the steep learning curve for people who are not accustomed to the jargon related to the computer science world. Even though numerous “simple” solutions exist, a generic solution may not be the answer to all our problems. We may require domain-specific solutions. Needless to say that some common underlying ideas related to the management of data from diverse domains exist. When a novice comes across a content management service website, they may be overwhelmed with tons of options that hinder them from further exploring the solution. They may not use the service, because they do not see the vocabulary of their domain. If I go back to my example, they may be looking to upload the photographs of their paintings or exhibitions and they come across the words ‘posts’, ‘media’, ‘tags’, ‘categories’, etc. Another example is the necessity of case-sensitive characters, the use of underscore instead of space characters for a given field in a form. These are part of the initial years of computer science lessons that make us assume their universality as well-known facts, but in fact, they are not. Another example is the way initial web solutions encouraged the use of keywords for search queries.

Irrespective of the domain, there is a need for data management. Yet the vocabulary that the end-user looks for is not the same that we use. Does this mean that the underlying foundation of our data management must cater to providing different end-user interfaces for different users? We have seen the minimalistic approaches, i.e., a simpler interface for blogging platforms with very minimal features, so that the writers could focus on what they love- writing, without getting overwhelmed with unnecessary menus and options. However, there are other advanced users who mix and curate different media, who want to integrate not just regular media like photographs, audio, or videos, but also embedded media, including maps, social media posts, etc. This diversity of requirements makes the field of computer science interesting and challenging. No wonder our research on a global format has not found any single answer but a plethora of approaches.

To illustrate my point about the diversity of requirements, I recall another interaction with a language professor, who wanted to manage the learning progress of their students. You may once again respond to me that many software solutions do exist for the same. Unfortunately, the person before me did not find the answer. Or, they found some solutions, but the associated learning curve, accessibility, cost, or limited time to put the solution in place made them still yearn for simpler solutions.

My growing feeling is that our knowledge is still in silos. There is a lack of interaction between different domains, and because of differing vocabularies, we are not able to understand each other. Yet, a careful analysis of these multidisciplinary interactions proves that the people in one domain may have already found solutions or worked for years on the problem that the people in other domains are currently facing. It is time that we encourage more and more of these interactions for the benefit of each other and for building efficient solutions.