'); } -->
Know a lot about local art? Recycling routes? Downtown architecture? Bike trails in Umstead Park?
The organizers of TriangleWiki.org are looking for contributors to the new website, planned as a free online encyclopedia of the Triangle written by its residents. For now, they're focusing on Raleigh.
It's pulled together by the same team of volunteers that brought you CityCamp Raleigh, last summer's three-day symposium on how technology can shape the city's future. The new site is made possible by free software designed by the programmers behind the California-based LocalWiki project. Raleigh is one of several pilot communities from Australia to Texas experimenting with the software.
The recruitment site launched on Saturday, seeking local enthusiasts on everything from Raleigh history to local bars and restaurants. When it launches next spring with about 250 information pages, anyone will be able to edit those pages or add entries.
Staff writer Chelsea Kellner caught up with one of the local organizers, Reid Serozi, last week to get the details. Answers have been edited for length.
Q: For those who aren't plugged in, what is a local wiki for?
A: It's an online website that allows anyone in the Triangle community to edit and contribute content. All that's required to add to the page is to go make an online account, and from there you can write a page and drop in images about a place, a culture or a person within the Triangle. Someone can come in and add additional content to the page later. If they add incorrect information, the originator of that page can come back and correct that info.
Q: Why is this good for the community?
A: Right now, no site exists as a central location for writing down the history of Raleigh. Right now, people can write within their own blogs, but those are scattered across the internet - nobody is aggressively archiving all of it. We're the first website where you can go write about historic events in the Triangle and know they're going to be there long-term.
To bring something out like this, that gives everybody a voice, can be extremely powerful. I think most typical sites are driven by a commercial website, so if you can go to a site that you know is being written by the people of the Triangle, it can benefit us by giving us a trusted source.
Q: How did the project come to Raleigh?
A: It's very much a grassroots effort. Thirteen or so volunteer planners met weekly for almost two months to make Raleigh City Camp happen. I was one of them, and this is the same entourage. You get like-minded people together who really care about the city, like doing volunteer work, not to mention that this is very Web 2.0-centric. The mission statement of Raleigh City Camp was to look for opportunities for innovation to help local government or to help citizens be more engaged and to look for open source opportunities to solve government problems using technology. After Raleigh City Camp ended, we just kept having these weekly meetups at Helios. Anyone was invited to join, and a little community was created.
I'd been keeping up a relationship with (Local Wiki) because I think what they're doing is pretty darn cool, and they called me one day and asked what I thought about Raleigh-Durham being a pilot. I said absolutely.
Q: What are your hopes for the Raleigh Wiki long-term?
A: We would like this to become a source of inside knowledge of the Triangle, like a citywide blog people can reference to learn anything about the area. We want to increase collaboration with in the Triangle community, number one. We want to make open data more available. We want to increase knowledge-sharing across the region.
Our goal is to create 250 to 300 pilot pages and take this thing public sometime in February or March.