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RE: Idea for an "Open Dinosaur Project"-like Wikimedia Project



Good morning!

Being a tour guide, researcher and educator at the NHM, I'm always
looking for the most current and up to date information available on all
things dinosauria, which can be difficult by solely using books alone
and random Wiki pages. One of the reasons that I love the listserve so
much is that we have and share access to the most up to date research. 

This kind of project would be very worthwhile!


Ashley Fragomeni
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf
Of Saint Abyssal
Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 9:24 AM
To: Dinosaur Mailing List
Subject: Idea for an "Open Dinosaur Project"-like Wikimedia Project

I'm sure you've all heard of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that
anyone can edit. This openness to contributions has allowed it to become
one of the greatest online information sources that currently exists.
You probably also have some passing familiarity with the Wikimedia
Foundation's other projects, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, etc that apply the
wiki architecture to traditional reference works.

I have an idea for a new Wikimedia Foundation project that would serve
as a free reference work *for researchers*. This concept would apply the
wiki architecture to the task of organizing data, references, images,
and other data useful for the professional researcher. Similar to
Wikispecies, but with all of science (and maybe other academic
disciplines) in mind instead of just biological taxonomy.
Paleontology-related articles would be on things like taxa, specimens,
researchers, studies and papers, institutions, etc. 

I picture a page on say, T. rex as having a brief intro to the subject
(like a Wikipedia lead section) and info box , but diverging from
Wikipedia by giving technical information like diagnoses, cladograms,
character matrices, specimen measurements, and a comprehensive
bibliography of the relevant technical literature. I've made a sketchy
rough draft available at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Abyssal/Tyrannosaurus_rex to
illustrate the concept.

The project could work along the lines of, or inspire endeavors similar
to, the Open Dinosaur project. Unlike the ODP, however, this project
would serve as a centralized location for open contributions to all of
science rather than just an individual project or field of study. I've
run this idea by some of the more prominent members of Wikiproject
Dinosaurs and they've all expressed support for the concept. If you guys
think that this type of reference would be beneficial to researchers
(professional or armchair), then I will seek support among the Wikipedia
community and see if the Wikimedia Foundation would be interesting in
hosting and supporting it.

Does it sound worthwhile?

~ Abyssal