Bio (en)

I hold a PhD in philosophy from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, my thesis was dedicated to the architecture and the philosophy of the Web. I am Currently researcher at Inria (team WIMMICS, with which I previously initiated the SemanticPedia platform that included the francophone DBpedia), Senior Open Data expert for Etalab, the mission under the responsibility of the French Prime Minister, and Fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Lab (Leuphana University, Lüneburg). Since 2014, I collaborate with the Fondation des Galeries Lafayette for contemporary art as the architect of its forthcoming digital platform. I also co-founded the “Philosophy of the Web” Community Group of which he is co-chair. Previously, I was senior consultant for UNESCO (IIEP), devising scenarios to mix together controversy analysis and Linked Data, invited Fellow at the IKKM in Weimar (Bauhaus University, May-July 2015), Head of Web Research for three years at the Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation du Centre Pompidou (IRI, 2010-2013), associate PhD student at CNAM (Dicen) and visiting student at Inria three times (Edelweiss team) and once at Lirmm (CRNS – Université de Montpellier).

My thesis follows an empirical approach to the architecture of the Web, mixing STS and traditional philosophical questions about proper names, identity, individuation, etc. Thus, the architecture of the Web is treated as a field whence entities emerge that are not reducible to previous philosophical notions despite undeniable echos between both domains. A.M. paid special attention to Web identifiers and resources in order to understand the processes out of which such entities emerge from the perspective of “ontological designing”. With the notion of “resources” the Web came to be understood under the guise of a device designed for reference-making. In other words, an “ontology” (in the – renewed – sense of a “theory of objects”; albeit an operative one). It eventually appeared that questions of objectification related to the architecture of the Web and the search for a shared world found their solution on a Web scale through Wikipedia. Such ideas also found a natural extension in the development of the DBpedia project in French, with special care devoted to controversy analysis and pluralism from the perspective of the Web of Data. Additionally, this thesis also addressed such topics as the Semantic Web, computer ontologies and tagging – of which a philosophical and technical characterization was proposed, the NiceTag ontology.

Author of numerous publications and talks, he edited two journals’ special issues dedicated to the philosophy of the Web (Metaphilosophy, in June 2012, Intellectica, in June 2014) and an edited volume published by Wiley-Blackwell (Philosophical Engineering: Toward a Philosophy of the Web).

A.M. is also interested in the democratic potential of open science, citizen sciences and open Data. He teaches in various institutions and designed the first course dedicated to the architecture of the Web in France, at Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallée University, for Master’s students.

Current activities:

  • Scientific coordinator of an official collaboration between Inria and the Ministry of Culture as part of the Ministry’s digital policy to think about the future of the Web
  • Senior Open Data expert for Etalab, the mission under the responsibility of the French Prime Minister
  • Research associate (Inria, Wimmics)
  • Co-chair of the W3C “Philosophy of the Web” community group

Past activities:

  • Invited Fellow at the IKKM in Weimar (Bauhaus University) between May and July 2013 (participated in a workshop around Bruno Latour’s last book).
  • Head of Web Research at the Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation du Centre Pompidou (April 2010-April 2013).
  • Chief librarian at Urfist de Paris – École des chartes (February 2009-August 2009).
  • Visiting student at Inria (2009, 2010, 2011), Edelweiss team, Sophia Antipolis.
  • Visiting student at Lirmm in Montpellier (2010).
  • Research individual contractor at Ecole des chartes (Digital Humanities, TEI/XML and XML METS encoding).
  • Teacher in various Master’s degrees (Paris Ouest, Paris 8, Paris 13, Marne-la-Vallée, UTT, Sciences Po, etc.).
  • Trainer (Urfist network, CNRS (Isore network), etc.).

Philoweb projects:

  • Organized in Sorbonne the first international interdisciplinary event dedicated to the philosophy of the Web (PhiloWeb 2010).
  • Scientific coordinator between August 2011 and April 2013, of the FP7 Marie Curie “PHILOWEB” project.
  • Co-organized PhiloWeb 2012 (a workshop as part of WWW2012).
  • Co-edited a special issue of Metaphilosophy dedicated to the philosophy of the Web (June 2012) later published in an extended version by Wiley-Blackwell (Dec. 2013) and another one for Intellectica in French (June 2014)

Research projects:

  • FP7 Marie Curie “PHILOWEB” (scientific and administrative coordinator).
  • JC Nicop Social Web (scientific and administrative coordinator).

Web of data projects:

  • Co-initiator and scientific coordinator of HDA-BO and Lab, finalists of the first Dataconnexions contest organized by Etalab (IRI/Ministry of Culture).
  • Co-initiator of the SemanticPedia platform for the semanticization of Wikimedia project (partenership between the Ministry of Culture, Inria and Wikimedia France).
  • Project manager of the eGonomy project for IRI.
  • Sucessfully applied to a call for UNESCO (“Portal for Learning Outcomes”, IIEP).

Seminars:

  • Organized, from 2011 to 2013, one of IRI’s research seminar: “Muséologie, muséographie et nouvelles formes d’adresses au public”, funded by the Ministry of Culture (DREST).
  • Organized a seminar at Paris 1, in 2011-2012, dedicated to the philosophy of the Web (answering a call for projects of the Collège des Ecoles Doctorales of Paris 1).

Alexandre Monnin's Web and Philosophy scientific events website