Wiki Work

11:15 pm in Uncategorized by ProfHanley

By tomorrow (Thursday, July 14), we’ll want to get started on our digital anthology.  This will require two things:

1) planning, organizing, and drafting your author and date/context entries.  Remember: the author and date/context pages are not intended to be encyclopedic or arbitrary.  The question that should guide your work is this: what kind of information will help to make this text richer and more interesting for a reader?  I.e. your pages are not interpretations of the texts or authors; we’ll trust readers to do that.  Your pages have a specific purpose – – to give readers the kind of information and context that will help them to think more deeply about the meaning and significance of the texts.

How to create this context?  First, read the text.  Then, ask yourself some questions: what kinds of context or information does the text point or allude to? (e.g. is the story or essay or poem is about women’s domestic life, it might be helpful to understand what was going on with women’s domestic lives in 1920 or 1930, etc. If the poem seems odd in a formal way – – a really intricate sonnet or crazy free verse – -then it might be interesting to understand something about what was happening in poetry in 1925 or 1935, etc.)  In other words, let the text guide you to context.

How or where to I get this context?  First, the internet is your archive.  Start by googling terms or ideas.  The second step is to dive a little more deeply into the context.  For this, check out the tab above labeled  – – “finding resources.”  There, I offer some basic research routes.  In this phase of production, your goal is to become a “novice expert” in the topic or area you are investigating.  I.e. learn as much about the context as you can – – given constraints of time and labor.

How do I draft this context stuff?  Here, you will need to collaborate with your partner(s), using perhaps the Community site.  Together, try to figure out what seem to be the most important contexts.  Then, think about the page as a whole.  How do you want to organize the page? What kinds of sections should the page have?  What should come first or last?  Remember: you are writing for a reader – – next semester’s student or a stray internaut.  Organize the page so that it makes it easy for this reader to follow and understand.  (It always helps to add some variety to your text – – e.g. think about  graphics, sound, video etc.  Where and how would these be helpful, both in explaining or illustrating the context and in breaking up text blocks on the page.)

2) Now, armed with some sense of what you want to do and what the materials you’re working with, start getting practice with creating and editing wiki pages.  For a quick overview of wiki writing, see the tab above or click here.  It’s best to try some editing in the wiki sandbox before you start editing pages.  The nice thing about a wiki is that nothing is permanent – – i.e. you can always delete, re-arrange, re-compose.  Another nice thing about a wiki is that nothing is ever really lost – – every time you save a page, that page is saved as a version.  (I.e. the wiki automatically archives every version of the page.)  If you make a mistake or lose changes, just click on the “history” tab above the wiki page.  This will show you all the earlier versions of the page.  You can then replace a page with an earlier version or cut and paste from that earlier version.

Let’s get started!

(You should have a very, very rough draft of your author/context page up by next Tuesday – – July 19.)