* Wikipedia's Heritage: Vision, Pragmatics, and Happenstance -
moving on from my earlier consideration of print publishers in
Four Short Stories about the Reference Work, I consider recent
digital encycopedic works:
This essay explores development of globally available digital
reference works from their first imaginings to contemporary cases.
My hope in undertaking such a project is to identify technical and
social aspects of digital reference work production that can
contribute to an understanding of a prominent contemporary
exemplar, the Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia. Why did it
take over 50 years for the vision of "[w]holly new forms of
encyclopedias" (Bush 1945: 8 to be realized? The answer,
presented in this essay, was that it required an alignment of a
coherent goal, technical practicality, and serendipity: vision,
pragmatics, and happenstance. ...
* Do as I do: leadership in the Wikipedia
In this paper I consider how notions of leadership operate in
collaborative on-line cultures. In particular, I consider the
seemingly paradoxical, or perhaps merely playful, juxtaposition of
informal tyrant-like titles (e.g., "Benevolent Dictator") in
otherwise seemingly egalitarian voluntary content production
communities such as the Wikipedia. To accomplish this, I first
introduce the Wikipedia as an open content community and review
existing literature on the role of leadership in such communities.
I then relate ethnographic and archival data on how leadership is
understood, performed, and discussed in the Wikipedia community. I
conclude by integrating concepts from existing literature and my
own findings into a theory of leadership and note other communities
and leaders against which this theory could be tested. ...