Is a Wiki the Right Solution?

In a comment left on the post The Beginning, Fred Limp asked:

Might I suggest that your bibilography take advantage of the Zotero library structure/system. You can host these on you own system – if you don’t want to use Zotero’s servers. In this format they can be annotated but, more significantly, can easily be downloaded to an individual’s system and used to automatically create citations, bibliographies in multiple formats, etc. I assume most readers are familiar with Zotero but if not you can go to

I haven’t used Zotero myself, though I have looked at it.  I hope Dr. Limp will comment and correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing he’s envisioning a system taking advantage of the Groups feature of Zotero.  Here’s an example of the public face of a Group at Zotero: the Digital Classics group.  The non-Zotero user can access the Group Library, which uses folders to categorize citations.  Anyone who wishes to add citations to the Group Library would need to become a Zotero user, and there is a way to control Group membership which would allow some editorial control should that become necessary.  Dr. Limp notes that bibliographic citations in Zotero can be annotated, and Zotero has some nice features such as the ability to subscribe by RSS feed.  For Zotero users, the ability to add Group Library citations to their own personal libraries would make it easy to format and reformat bibliographies in multiple citation styles, and insert citations into scholarly documents.  So, there are some pluses to consider with Zotero.

A Wiki, in contrast, is a collection of hyperlinked web pages managed by a software program.  The most famous wiki, Wikipedia, is a good illustration of the results that are possible; Digital Classicist or Network for the Study of Archaic and Classical Greek Song are ancient studies-related examples.  Pluses include the ability to link back and forth between pages, and have a hierarchical structure of pages that might be useful given the large scope of this project.  Pages can also be tagged with categories, allowing them to appear in multiple lists at the same time (especially valuable for cross or multi-disciplinary topics).  (Unless Zotero allows nesting of folders, a Zotero Group Library for a project this big would very quickly run to a long, long list of folders, one per topic.)  Minuses include the inability to download bibliographic citations in any form besides cutting and pasting.  Editors must create an account to add content to a wiki, and we could require editorial approval, as a quality-control measure.

Since we haven’t done anything about the technical architecture of this project yet, now is a great time to weigh in with your advice or opinion.  Are there other softwares we could be considering?

About classicslibrarian

Former PhD student in classical archaeology, now a librarian. Seeing Classics in a different way!
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1 Response to Is a Wiki the Right Solution?

  1. Zotero does allow nested folders, and items can easily be moved/copied to other categories (by dragging). Quality control can be maintained by requiring membership.
    One drawback: it currently requires a Firefox add-in.

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