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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The challenge of designing a collaborative reference source for Southern African literature
Author:Stewart, Graham
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10131752.2012.730181
Abstract:Finding the right balance between editorial control and the widest possible participation by user-contributors is a critical challenge for the editors of the ESAACH Wiki. The Wiki is the online collaborative reference repository of the Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH). The provision of wider access to information on South African literary culture is a founding principle of the ESAACH project, and wider collaboration in authoring and editing the content of the ESAACH Wiki is an extension of this aspiration. In this article the author considers the place of encyclopaedias and literary companions in the context of other tertiary sources, and then goes on to discuss the pros and cons of the emerging Open Access (OA) movement to make research information more freely available on the Internet. The meaning of 'collaboration' is examined within the framework of new open source technologies that invite multiple authorship and review, and which allow practical expression of 'commons-based peer production' (CBPP) and associated notions such as 'the wisdom of crowds' and 'publish-then-filter.' To identify best practice and thereby refine guidelines for ESAACH Wiki content creation, selected South African literary and biographical reference sources were compared and evaluated. Criteria established in cognate studies of tertiary reference sources both in traditional printed form and on the Internet, were used as a basis for the comparison. It is proposed that the future development model for ESAACH be one that encourages open user participation, filtered by a team of ESAACH-approved editors. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]