The challenge of designing a collaborative reference source for Southern African Literature

Graham Stewart
2012 The English Academy Review - EAR  
Finding the right balance between editorial control and the widest possible participation by 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 Verbal Arts section of the ESAACH Wiki was developed in the first phase of the project, and now comprises an extensive set of reference entries, compiled over a twelve year period. With its roots
more » ... od. With its roots in a Southern African literary history project started in the 1990s, over four thousand entries have now been published on the Wiki, with the intention of utilising commons-based peer production to continue its development as a one-stop reference website of Southern African literature. User analysis shows that the ESAACH Wiki is extensively searched by Internet users looking for information on Southern African literature. This article considers how best to open up the resource to a wider group of contributors. Participation may range from a traditional print editorial model at one extreme to an open, unmoderated model at the other. Selected South African literary and biographical reference sources were compared to determine the most appropriate guidelines for an ESAACH entry. (198 words)
doi:10.1080/10131752.2012.730181 fatcat:qq6shp2wbzbxdceruptarm6u3u