Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fallen tree: I'm sad to say that the Webnographers.org wiki (editable web pages) about Virtual Ethnography, has been taken down

I'm sad to say that the Webnographers.org wiki (editable web pages) on Virtual Ethnography, on which I did 99% of the aggregation of bibliographic resources and editorial work -

adding a great number of books, academic papers, syllabi, videos and some scholarly, digital tools -

has been taken down.


These are some of the pages:






I've posted some of these resources to this blog in the past (here, for example: http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2009/08/salmon-leaping-books-at.html from August 2009), but a great deal is lost - possibly half of the bibliographic references that I've posted since that time.

In contacting the person :) who started it numerous times (5-7), she told me she would try to put it up again, or in another form as a wordpress blog, for example, but this hasn't happened yet. I use Webnographers.org, and add to it, regularly, and have been needing to use it for an upcoming paper I have been planning to give on Tourism and the Internet, but unfortunately, this wiki, or these resources, aren't up again.

Such an ongoing, wiki bibliography, on virtual ethnography, can be enormously useful to all kinds of scholars and people, especially over time, so it's being unavailable, since at least around January 20, 2010, is not only a loss to many people, but also to me.

What 'larger' processes might account for this?

It's hard to say, but perhaps it reflects a move away from free, open sharing of scholarly materials, a kind of mini-closing of one, wiki resource.

If it is a result of some kind of arbitrariness, and even a kind of wrong, in taking it down, unbeknownst to the person who started it, this kind of thing has a long history on the internet, - and, often, what goes around comes around, on the web, too.

I had added so much to it on the principle of open, wiki-sharing.

I'm hoping it's saved at the WebArchive, Library of Congress, or in another Nation State's web-archiving efforts, or in other venues, and that it will re-surface at some point, so that I can continue to add to it.

Make backups, look for 'Terms of Service,' and be careful how you invest your research time.

As with open, wiki World University and School, I very much see the benefits of sharing academic resources, especially about the web, and for innovation, and would love to see a flourishing of such (serious, knowledge-oriented) wikis and resources, in all kinds of ways.

Such open sharing of knowledge-resources, and idea-exchange, is, arguably, what has led to ongoing innovation (hacking, too, especially) in the IT revolution (via proprietary/copyrighted information, in libraries, too), in conjunction with ownership processes (e.g. Benkler's "The Wealth of Networks" (Yale UP), which you can read for free here, for example).

(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/02/fallen-tree-im-sad-to-say-that.html - February 15, 2011)

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