Museums and the Web

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Collaborative History - Creating (and Fostering) a Wiki Community

TitleCollaborative History - Creating (and Fostering) a Wiki Community
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSherman, R., Hoover J., & Baker T.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2009. Proceedings
Conference Start DateApril 15-18, 200
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedIndianapolis, Indiana, USA
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsarchives, collaboration, community, social interaction, Web 2.0, wiki

The Minnesota Historical Society launched the wiki in 2007 with simple goals: to gather the history of places, to share memories from those who experienced those places, and to foster an interest in historic preservation. Project members and trusted advisors agreed that a wiki would provide an ideal delivery mechanism. However, the MHS’ experience with a prior, major wiki project indicated that a new approach would be necessary to ensure the success of the project.We describe and contrast the two wiki projects, assess the key lessons from the initial project, and describe how those findings shaped their approach to the development of Placeography. Foremost among the findings is that creating, fostering, and sustaining a community is essential to the success of a wiki. Key performance measurements - barometers of the success of the project - indicate that deliberate attention to building the community of content contributors through promotion, partnerships, and outreach, directly impacted the success of the project.