One topic that’s occupying a lot of my thinking these days is community development of information resources. I and Jane and Evelyn and some folks from the NC Botanical Garden just submitted a grant proposal to the IMLS to fund the development of a digital library of invasive plant species in the Southeast. (Boy I hope that gets funded, that will be a fun project.) One part of that proposal was to develop an “Ask A Botanical Expert” service to which users can submit questions from the field, along with images, GPS coordinates, etc. And then once a question is answered, it will become part of a corpus of documents that a community of botanical experts can edit & add to over time. So here I am thinking, this is the big opportunity to implement Lyceum for reference work, like Fred and I discussed in our paper.
But as I think through implementation issues and issues of community development of information resources, I’m wondering if a blog is really the best platform for this after all. I’ve been having fun with this blog & the comments I get and the comments I leave on other peoples’ blogs (not as many as I should). But the comment functionality of blogs strikes me as not much different functionally from a listserv, or an email exchange. It’s linear, and even thinner than a listserv in that you can’t really even create threads. Blog comments allow annotation, but not really co-creation.
Despite all my pissing and moaning about Wikipedia, I wonder if they didn’t get the model for co-creation right after all. Is a wiki, as essentially a CMS, a better platform for community development of information resources than a blog? Is a blog better suited to interaction, while a wiki is better suited to collaboration?