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Tech Notes

The Katahdin Commons Announces New Resource for the Katahdin Region
By Ken Anderson
May 23, 2007 - 4:38:31 PM

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KATAHDIN REGION -- The Katahdin Commons, an online discussion forum for and by the people of the Katahdin region of Maine, is announcing the opening of its side product, the Katahdin Regional Wiki, which its founders hope will become a comprehensive resource for the entire Katahdin area, and beyond.

Powered by MediaWiki software, used by Wikipedia and many other wiki projects, the Katahdin Regional Wiki can be edited by anyone with an Internet connection and information to contribute.

A wiki is a web site powered by a collaborative technology which allows visitors to add, remove, and edit content with ease, and in a relatively intuitive manner.

The founders of the Katahdin Regional Wiki have elected to use a loose definition of the Katahdin region, being any community or area from which Mount Katahdin can be clearly seen and in the interest of inclusivity, they are not averse to including anything near an area from which the mountain can be seen, large and small, from Rockwood to Benedicta, and from Sangerville to Oxbow, and everything in between.

Thus far, the wiki includes, but will not necessarily be limited to, the towns or communities of Abbot, Barnard, Benedicta, Blanchard, Bowerbank, Brownville, Dover-Foxcroft, East Millinocket, Greenville, Grindstone, Guilford, Lake View, Medway, Millinocket, Milo, Monson, Mount Chase, Norcross, Onawa, Oxbow, Patten, Rockwood, Sangerville, Sebec, Sebec Lake, Sherman, Shirley, Stacyville, Williamsburg, Willimantic, and everything else surrounding Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin.

Some of these pages are waiting for someone to add content, but the majority of them already have, as a starting point, at least some limited information.

Why would anyone want to become involved with this project?

"It might be thought of as free advertising," says founder, Ken Anderson. "Any town, business, school, church, or organization in the Katahdin region can make sure that they are not excluded."

"Eventually, we hope to have a page for every mountain, river, stream, or trail," Anderson added. "If it's in or near the Katahdin region, we'd like our visitors to be able to find information about it, including photos."

While advertising hype is discouraged, and may be edited by the wiki's volunteer staff or anyone else who comes along, informational content is welcomed, which may include much of the same information that might be found in an advertisement, including service or products offered, operating hours, directions, and contact information. Contributors to the wiki are encouraged to include any historical information that they might be aware of, whether the history of a town, or of a church or business. External links to town or organizational web sites, as well as other relevant sites, should also be included.

Unlike paid advertisements or individual web sites, no one owns a page on the Katahdin Regional Wiki, however. Every page is subject to editing by anyone who has something to add, correct, or contribute.

There are measures built into the software that would help its editors recover from intentional sabotage, but wikis, in general, make a basic assumption of the goodness of people.

"As a collaborative project to which anyone can contribute, we can't vouch for the accuracy of everything contained in the Katahdin Regional Wiki," warned Anderson, "but if you see something that's wrong, you can fix it, and so long as people go into it with that in mind, eventually everything will work itself out."

Like all wikis, the Katahdin Regional Wiki is an ongoing project, one that will always be in need of updating. Right now, there may be only be a name and contact information for a business or organization, and perhaps not even that; next week, there might be an entire page; and next year that business might have several pages of useful information on the wiki.

"Anyone can be involved in this project," Anderson said. "If you have any information about anything in the Katahdin area, we can find a place for it."

One doesn't have to be a business owner, officer of an organization, or town official, in order to create a page for that business, organization, or town.

"You may have the information you need in your head, in records passed down from family member to family member, or you might be able to find it at your town office or library," Anderson said. "If you have a digital camera, many of our pages could be enhanced by the addition of a photograph or two."

Anderson also stressed the importance that the project places on historical records.

"We would love it if each of our pages included a history of whatever the subject matter might be," he said, "and if the historical information is more than a paragraph or two long, that can make up a page in itself."

"Don't forget the pictures," Anderson stressed. "We neither need or want to take your historical photos from you, but a digital copy adds a great deal to any historical record."

Any published content added to the wiki should be attributed, and contributors are cautioned to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship of someone else's written or creative work, in whole or in part, without adequate acknowledgment. While it is okay to use information from a published work, or even to quote excerpts from it with proper attribution, be careful not to use someone else's words as if they were your own when adding content to the wiki.

The editors of the Katahdin Regional Wiki would like you to join them in this project, to assemble a comprehensive resource for the Katahdin region of Maine. While it is not necessary to create an account with the project in order to edit a page, adding a page does require registration and a login. All contributors are encouraged to create an account, and to log into it before making edits, so that their work can be accurately accounted for.

There are no plans to include advertising on the pages of the Katahdin Regional Wiki, but donations toward its server costs, and other costs, are accepted. If there is an interest, a sponsor page may be added, listing businesses and individuals who have contributed monetarily to the project.


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