April 9-12, 2008
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Demonstrations: Description

Developing the Usable Semantic Wiki

Rose Sherman, Minnesota Historical Society, USA

The Minnesota Historical Society just launched, a wiki about any place anywhere that anyone can edit. The goal is to capture the history of places to which people have a personal connection. We teach classes about House History and we wanted a place for students to share their findings. We're also using it as a place for people to share memories about places; as an example see the link to "Right on Lake Street."

During the course of developing this wiki, we've migrated from Mediawiki out of the box, to using Semantic Wiki and Semantic Forms extensions because we wanted an easier way for wiki-newbies to add their content without having to know wiki tagging. We wanted a way to aggregate content for a street, neighborhood, county, state and country. We want to create portals for county historical societies to promote the places in their counties. Without semantic wiki, it is difficult to find all the places for a given county.

The semantic wiki and semantic forms are based on code that is a year or less old, so developing the wiki has caused us to connect with developers outside the museum/archives world where changes are made daily through conversations in Google groups. Semantic forms work well but they aren’t the smooth tools one can create with other programming languages. is a work in process and will likely remain so for the next year or more. We’ve got a great start and want to show it to others. We’d like to hear what others are doing with wikis.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Demonstrations]

Keywords: semantic, wiki, mediawiki, forms, semantic web