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X-Posted from H-NET List for African History and Culture <H-AFRICA@H-NET.MSU.EDU> From: "Jonathan T. Reynolds" <reynolds@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU> -------- REPLY 1 From: Mary Bivins Suny Oswego <bivins@Oswego.EDU> I have to agree with Jonathan Reynolds on the "Osborn Initiative." Not only would this strengthen the presence of quality information on Wikipedia, but students would really have a direct lesson in how knowledge is created and the importance of public access to scholarship on and about Africa. -------- REPLY 2 Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 00:42:55 -0000 From: "Jonathan T. Reynolds" <reynolds@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU> Jane Hale Brandeis University <email@example.com> What wonderful ideas! Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. Thank you, Donald. -------- REPLY 3 Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 13:24:23 -0000 From: "Jonathan T. Reynolds" <reynolds@MAIL.H-NET.MSU.EDU> From: Donald Z. Osborn Bisharat.net <firstname.lastname@example.org> Thanks to all for the positive feedback on the idea to actively involve students in correcting and adding Africa-related content on the Wikipedia. It doesn't surprise me to learn that someone - Richard Bradshaw in this case (and perhaps others?) - has already done something like this. As is so often the case, a latecomer who figures something out and talks it up gets the credit even though others may have thought about and even acted on it earlier. At this point if we need a name, perhaps something explanatory (if perhaps annoying) like "AfriWiki initiative" would be best indicated. What would make this an initiative worth naming is the possibility to gather information on what is being done. If more professors and instructors do use this Wikipedia idea for Africa-related content, then it would be very interesting to hear about their approaches and how it goes, so as to learn from successes and pitfalls - and also to encourage others less familiar/comfortable with the Wikipedia concept (or working on the internet). This would require some central place (webpage) to post such info, and probably someone to coordinate (somewhat like a viritual syllabus repository?). Given that not everyone will write something up on their experience, use of some sort of "alert" system might be a complementary way of facilitating this by keeping track of changes. It is possible to have an RSS feed of the newest Wikipedia pages, but I don't know how easy it would be to do something for all Africa related updates (which might get unwieldy). I'd note in this context that Wikipedia has a "watch" system (see http://alevin.com/weblog/archives/001477.html ) so maybe there would be a way to borrow from that in a way that works for this initiative? Returning to the original idea, let me add in closing that one of the inspirations for this set of ideas was a letter some months ago from a then-recent Geekcorps volunteer in Mali, Kaspar Souren, who had worked with his Malian counterparts on ways to encourage drafting of Bamana (Bambara) language content for the Bamana Wikipedia. The context is a little different, but they also worked with some students at the University of Mali, though not with profs. or Bamana language classes as far as I understand.