NetGeners, loosely joined

A little while ago, the semi-ubiquitous learning management system Blackboard announced it was going 2.0 – in its own proprietary fashion. Lumped under the name BeyondInitiative are a series of properties that are designed to connect users worldwide, across education segments and disciplines, and thus leverage the wisdom of the … Continue reading

The U of CitizendiUm

If you agree that Wikipedia presents more thorns than roses to academic experts, you have good company: one of Wikipedia’s two founders. The split between Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger has a certain Old Testament character: Wales (the Web 2.0 brother) reigns over the miraculous worldwide flourishing of the anonymously … Continue reading

Give unto Wikipedia

Reading Roy Rosenzweig’s thoughtful appraisal of Wikipedia in the current Journal of American History (“Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past”), I was particularly struck by this passage: If Wikipedia is becoming the family encyclopedia for the twenty-first century, historians probably have a professional obligation … Continue reading

Pro bono

Inevitable? Sure. Useful? We’ll see. Wikilaw, an open-content legal resource, is up and running — soliciting off-the-clock, copyleft work from the million lawyers running around the U.S. At least one or two of them must be frustrated graphic artists – imagine if tort reform could be similarly explained: Wikipedia is … Continue reading

So we gather

Fresh outta Norway, here’s an intriguing marriage of wikis, folksonomy, and metadata harvesting: meet Collib, an experiment launched by a student at the University of Tromsø. The idea here: records are harvested from OAI-PMH-compliant repositories and brought into the wiki. Users – now end-users of these records – then ‘tag’ … Continue reading

Open book test

While Wikipedia is the standard reference for what wikis can do, its newer cousin Wikibooks is, in many respects, a more daring venture. This is a collection of open-content textbooks – that is, modules freely available to and updatable by anyone, covering a wide range of subjects. (General FAQs here) … Continue reading

Visualizing wikis: History Flow

It’s all in the visualization. When I describe wikis to someone still grappling with the oddness of the word ‘wiki’, my description inevitably kicks into abstractions about joint authoring, organic development, networked interactivity. What is likely to lodge, in an innocent auditor’s mind, is an amorphous sense of wide-open vulnerability: … Continue reading