Friday, 25 April 2008

Wikis for the museum community as a whole

Just a quick post tonight on Wikis that are meant to be used by the museum community as a whole.

Museums Wiki

Started by Jonathan Bowen, the Museums Wiki homepage states that 'It is intended for museum personnel to participate in populating this wiki with museum-related material, typically in a form that is more detailed than suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia.'

The Wiki lists as its most visited content:

The Editor's pick includes an aritcle on Open Context which appears to have attracted a large number of edits.

The Wiki has 117 articles in total at present. I turned to Jonathan's paper at MW2007 called 'A Museums Wiki' to try and find out a bit more. Here I learnt a little bit more about the thinking behind the Museums Wiki: 'The main criterion for acceptability applicable on this wiki is that the material is museum-related. Of course the site is still an open wiki like Wikipedia, so no one person has overall control of the material. Any entry could be updated by others. Thus it is mainly useful where collaboration is being actively encouraged (e.g., by on-line museum visitors).'

It's interesting that the page with the most revisions, the main page, has still only had 69 revisions. I'm starting to get a picture of a Wiki that is probably a good idea, but that doesn't seem to be getting a huge amount of uptake. It seems like there are a lot of pages about museums, or about museum websites, or aspects thereof, about conference papers, and about key museum issues like education and accessibility. I don't get the feeling, and I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, that many museums have used it to engage their public. It seems to be more of a tool for museum professionals, by museum professionals.

Museum Virtual Worlds
This is a similar idea in that it claims (on its About page) to be 'a place for sharing information and resources for museum and other educational web developers about online virtual worlds.' i.e. it's a place for museum professionals to communicate with each other.

At this point, maybe because it's late on a Friday night, I got confused. In his MW 2008 paper, Jonathan described this wiki as:

'The Museum Virtual Worlds Wiki ( has been established as an on-line resource by the Exploratorium in San Francisco, USA. It is designed to be a virtual space for sharing among museum and other educational Web developers information and resources about on-line virtual worlds. The resource is powered by the Wikka wiki engine. It is necessary to register with the site in order to edit pages. This is a specialist professional wiki, not designed for members of the general public.'

However, when I go to the link now, it appears to redirect you straight to I wonder if they've taken the Wiki down or something. I@ll have to keep an eye out to see whether it's just a temporary thing or if they've got rid of it completely.


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