What happens when Wikipedia isn't big enough? This is a key question for those developing closed community spaces. Wikipedia came onto the scene promising to offer a repository for all knowledge, and it turned into the world’s best encyclopaedia—absolutely nothing more, nothing less. A remarkable achievement it is, but one that never managed to store local knowledge with the same reverence as general, global knowledge. This panel will explore how developers are trying to address these limitations by building a different kind of collaborative environment. From local wikis that only allow those who live in the community to contribute to government-sponsored social networks meant to enhance a specific organization, the panel examines the viability of closed and semi-open networks. The panel will specifically look at how you get local communities involved in mass collaboration: 1) What topics generate traffic for local communities? 2) Which current collaborative tools work best for community engagement? 3) What kind of collaborative tools are needed for the future? 4) How do local collaborative environments reach out to community members who lack digital literacy? To answer these questions on local collaboration the panel will involve experts involved with DavisWiki.org, The Wikimedia Foundation, and those involved in digital inclusion efforts in underprivileged communities.
Dee Kapila is the Web Manager for KUT Radio, an NPR affiliate station in Austin, Texas where her current projects include re-launching KUT’s digital products and services and developing a sustainable community service project focused on civil discourse, engagement and action within the city of Austin where she hopes to employ wiki technology to serve communities online.
Before joining KUT, Dee was the Technology & Program Coordinator for Girlstart where she co-managed Girlstart’s Project IT Girl Initiative and lead a panel at SXSW 2009 titled “Gaming as Gateway Drug” about using video games to get young women into the tech industry. She received her M.A. in Mass Communication with a focus in New Media from Texas State University, San Marcos where she coauthored a paper on the completeness of information on Wikipedia titled “What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not…?” which was published in the Social Science Computer Review. Dee received her B.S in creative advertising with a certification from the McComb’s school of business from the University of Texas at Austin.
I’m a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. My chosen field is Technical Communication and Rhetoric based on an infatuation with writing, collaboration, and new media. While I’ve worked in database design and technical writing for Apple Computer, Hart InterCivic, and Texas State University, my current research deals with community traditions, localized networks, and journalism. In fact, thanks to a Fulbright grant, I spent the last year in the United Kingdom working with the Knowle West Media Centre creating a community wiki for a local art and service project.
My primary research interests involve collaborative interaction, particularly how new media allows participants to contribute in unusual ways: editing, rating, increasing view/search counts, and impromptu rather than static writing. I also examine new media power relationships in meaning-making and literacy across platforms.
I have a chapter out this year in a new book called "Writing and the Digital Generation" about how sports writers are leading the way when it comes to interactive journalism. In March 2011, a second book will arrive entitled "The Ethics of Emerging Media."
I also serve as videographer and occasionally contribute a bit of writing to the Centre for Digital Citizneship’s blog at the University of Leeds.
Philip Neustrom is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay area currently co-directing the LocalWiki effort. He co-founded DavisWiki.org in 2004. For the past several years he has worked on a variety of nonprofit efforts to engage everyday citizens. He oversaw the development of the popular VideoTheVote.org, the world's largest coordinated video documentation project, and was the lead developer at Citizen Engagement Laboratory, a nonprofit focused on empowering traditionally underrepresented constituencies. He is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with a bachelor’s in mathematics.
Phoebe Ayers is a reference, instruction and collections librarian at the University of California, Davis, where she specializes in computer science and electrical engineering resources. She has been involved with Wikipedia since 2003 as an editor and community member, and has also helped organize the Wikimedia Foundation's annual international community conference, Wikimania. In 2008, Ayers coauthored a book about the English-language Wikipedia called How Wikipedia Works: and How You Can be a Part of It (No Starch Press, September 2008). The book covers using, understanding, and contributing to Wikipedia, and is freely licensed. As of July 2010, she is a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the governing body for the Foundation that hosts Wikipedia and other wiki projects. Ayers' interests center around the effective use of collaborative tools (such as wikis) within communities, and how trustworthy information and knowledge is created, on- and off-line.
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