Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Wikidot as an academic wiki host

As I've commented before, I use wikidot as my commonplace book for hosting online notes.

I used to use wetpaint, but moved to wikidot because of its less intrusive advertising. One nice feature they have is 'other interesting sites', which they add as banner below (can banners be below) to the bottom of pages displayed from free accounts.

And one thing that strikes me is just how many academic wikis there are - be they an applied mathematics page from a university in Portugal, a Brazilian project to collect material on south American languages or a project to document Tibetan monasteries.

So my question is, to what extent are we seeing research projects being hosted on wikidot rather than having projects install and run their own wiki server, and as a supplemental, given the increasing need to capture the scholarly outputs of institutions for reporting purposes, does this represent material that has sneaked under the wire?

(And the unspoken implication, what should institutions be doing about providing wiki hosting services ....?)

3 comments:

tenthmedieval said...

For a while there was in the UK an organisation that existed to capture digital output from research projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It was shut down in 2007, taking the supposedly permanent archive with it--some of its services have been resurrected via a centre at King's College London. But, assuming the intention had continued, that was a project that at least held resources from many universities (not specifically wikis, but those among them, in read-only versions of course).

I think, however, that the real issue here is `what counts as output'. There is no or little credit from research funding or scoring bodies for creating an online resource, especially an open one, because it's seen to be inherently impermanent (perhaps why the UK government felt it could go... ) So the Wiki isn't seen as output, but process, and measures aren't made to catch it.

Eduardo Rivail Ribeiro said...

Thanks for mentioning our project, the Curt Nimuendaju Digital Library (http://biblio.etnolinguistica.org). It's actually part of a wider initiative, an information hub on South American languages (http://www.etnolinguistica.org). It's not exactly an institutional initiative, but a peer-maintained one. I'm the main webmaster, but many other colleagues contribute as well. The alternative--relying on a university's web services--would be unthinkable, in our case, unfortunately: too much bureaucracy, too many layers to go through. Wikidot is the best option we've found so far.
But I would like to hear from the many university professors who are using Wikidot for their classes--their reasons are probably not the same as mine. I've just come accross another Wikidot academic site, which even uses a .edu domain: http://dml.wikis.bgc.bard.edu/

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