Key PagesHome |
Changes [Apr 19, 2013]Antiquarians - proj...
Summer 2002, Sam Schillace (Senior Engineer in charge of Google Apps, now of Google Ventures) said I should look at a maturing genre of software - wikis - browser-based collaborative authoring, somewhat self-organizing, free-form and based upon linking discrete packets of (relatively) unstructured content - fast and easy.
He built me a trial system. I played around with it and in the Fall Abram Stern joined me in launching our version of the open source PhpWiki.
We called it Traumwerk (dreamwork, and a tongue-in-cheek reference to Freud) because we were less interested in the technology than in what happens when you set hyperlinking free.
What if a group of people could work together to gather, present and explore information and experiences in a web-based (hyper-linked and interactive) environment without any computing knowledge, in a genuinely collaborative way (without anyone being in control), with the order in the information they share emergent, growing interactively and organically (rather than being pre-organized), with everyone able to explore and react to everything others are doing as they are doing it, with the system providing quick and intuitive text, image and graphics based input and navigation, with the system itself suggesting ways that the growing body of shared information might be conceived and organized? And if this was all a richly-textured and rewarding experience?
Who would want this? It might be a community exploring their oral history. A business, in a context of rapid staff turnover, might need to build team culture around a self-organizing body of knowledge and experience. It might be a multidisciplinary team (such as an archaeological field project) interactively sharing insights about their subject of research. It could be an online news agency wishing to facilitate collaborative journalism. An anthropologist working with (rather than upon) a community in exploring their sense of place and belonging, or their cultural memory. A family or community who wish to produce a creative scrapbook of their lives and memories, and one that surprises them. A class producing a collaborative learning journal.
The Traumwerk project is to design, build and evaluate such a web based collaborative authoring environment.
2009 and the Humanities Lab and Metamedia at Stanford run a range of wikis for groups at Stanford and well beyond - over 50 groups involving more than 500 people. They support all sorts of projects, research workshops and classes. We have published books in this format, written PhDs, run classes, worked with corporate and government partners in the US and UK.
We have a wealth of experience in this new opportunity for genuinely collaborative co-creation.
From 2006 we pooled this experience in rigorously evaluating the usefulness of wikis in enabling communities and groups to build their own sense of cultural identity. Co-creating Cultural Heritage was a joint project of Stanford and Götegorg University funded by the Wallenberg Foundation - [link]