Yesterday, Lili (my one and only PhD advisee), posted a question to Dig_Ref: where can she find the most recent stats on dig ref services? She got a great response, kicked off by a reply from Buff Hirko, where she said that at ALA, the RUSA MARS Virtual Reference Committee accepted a project to create an online index of all chat services in the US & eventually the world. This is a cool idea, and necessary, since as Buff points out, all of the existing indices are out of date. The plan is to have this index be community-built; Luke suggests a wiki.
I’ve been thinking about community-building around open information sources lately. Wikipedia long ago achieved critical mass & become self-sustaining. But how did that happen? How does a community develop around an open project? Can a community be deliberately fostered? Has anyone done a social history of the evolution of Wikipedia? Have any studies been done on the development of communities around open-source software projects? How do open projects avoid the free-rider problem?