A blog is a great way to achieve a concatenation of information.  Each 
time you want to add something, it accrues to the beginning of your 
collection of information.  While a blog format can eventually lead to a 
repository of information, to me it seems very much at odds with what a 
finding aid should be. 

As far as wikis, Robert S Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'm not wild about a wiki approach to finding aids 
> for some of the same reasons already mentioned, 
> but even more because of the sociology of wiki writing.

Are you talking about the characteristics of Wikipedia, or of the very 
many different kinds of wikis you have observed?  What you describe 
appears to be Wikipedia.  Please know that Wikipedia is very much unlike 
dozens of the wikis I've observed that are geared towards specific 
subjects (especially the sciences), organizations' internal wikis, or 
specific functions.  It's unfortunate that so many people assume that all 
wikis are like Wikipedia -- most are not at all like Wikipedia, but are 
open to a limited number of individuals who must register and whose 
editorial additions are monitored or at least until a point where the 
integrity of their contributions are no longer suspect.

In essence, a wiki is no different from a webpage - it's just that you can 
amend it quicker without depending on the bureacracy of whoever is 
responsible for the webpage.  When you have even two people who might be 
able to add knowledge to (and therefore, increase the value of ) your 
webpage, I feel that is a good thing.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D., Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Music Division -- The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
***   blog:   ***

Re: [EAD] dreaming of EAD

Robert S Cox 
04/11/2008 04:04 PM

Sent by:
Encoded Archival Description List <[log in to unmask]>
Please respond to Encoded Archival Description List

At UMass, we've been using a blog -- a catablog -- as one means of 
access to our general manuscript collections, with links out to EAD files
and other resources (  Users
can supply comments and add information to descriptions or pages, all
moderated. Thus far, the comments we've received have been restricted to
spam, more spam, reference questions, spam, and pats on the back. This may
evolve as the site evolves -- it has been up for only a brief time and is
still "in development" -- but perhaps because of the nature of our
collections, the comments have not been uniformly valuable.

Personally, I'm not wild about a wiki approach to finding aids for some of
the same reasons already mentioned, but even more because of the sociology
of wiki writing.  However "accurate" a wiki article may be, the result too
often tends to be a watered down, pale imitation, stripped of meaningful
analysis and acceptable to a large number only because it avoids any real
issues in interpretation or historical context.  When I want to know a 
or death date it may be fine, but when I'm wearing my historian hat, I'm
usually far more interested in the interpretative layers than the 
factual layers (which, as has already been pointed out, have their own
problems).  Perhaps in some contexts a wiki-aid might work well, but
dinosaurs like myself go to some lengths -- not always successfully -- to
craft an image of who we are and what we do, and for me, the wiki approach
doesn't quite get us to the end of the Cretaceous. 

Sorry for the metaphor.


  Robert S. Cox
  Head, Special Collections
          & University Archives
  Adj. Prof. of History
  W.E.B. Du Bois Library, 154 Hicks Way
  University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  Amherst, MA    01003-9275
       (413) 545-6842