Re: sample document library: laying the groundwork
From: Tree Bressen (treeic.org)
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 14:00:30 -0800 (PST)
Hi,

Yea!

> Knowing this may absolutely bury me in e-mail for a good
> couple of months, I would like to step forward and volunteer
> to compile such a library....

Thanks for stepping forward!

Ditto--big thanks to you, Andrew!

> Lastly, once it's all compiled, is there anyone out there
> that would be willing to make this sample library available online?

Personally I would love to see this on the Cohousing USA Website rather
than on somebody's personal host. (Of course, I can't speak for the
office/web folks there as to the appropriateness/do-ability of this...)

Personally i think that as long as there is a link from the Coho-US site, it would be ok if the library were hosted elsewhere. Putting a project formally within the purview of an organization means grappling with organizational politics, and that can slow things way down. I notice how well this email list functions, without any organizational affiliation (hats off to Fred, of course).

On the wiki question, i have mixed feelings. I personally feel fond of wikis. I resonate with the concept. I'm confident the appropriate wiki software could be located, for free. In principle i think it could work fine. But when it comes to actually doing it on the ground, i have two concerns:

1. I think it would still need to be moderated and paid attention to. Given that, it might actually be *less* labor for one well-organized person to receive documents and post them appropriately than for one or more folks to track changes to a wiki, check out each change and make sure it is furthering the purpose of the site. I'm suggesting that it could be easier to play gatekeeper at the intake point, just like our public libraries do.

2. My observation is that most people who are comfortable enough with technology to use email can send documents as attachments (or as text within the body of a message), but that there are many email users who find wikis too much of a technical challenge to use--they might read pages on a wiki just like they would on any website, but they will not post or edit. In this case, that could mean that many available documents will never get posted, which would obviously derail the purpose of the library. This concern could perhaps be addressed by having a moderator who receives and posts documents from anyone who's unsure how to post documents themselves.

One more note, about format. I understand why it is probably preferable to have the library in PDF or text rather than Word. But i think a lot of community policies are currently available in Word, and not everybody is set up to convert from Word to PDF, and if they go to text-only then they lose the formatting that makes the document more readable. If the moderator (Andrew or whoever else steps forward) is willing to receive items in Word and then do the conversion to PDF before posting the document in the library, that would ensure maximum access. And i don't think it would be that much extra work; but since i'm not the person who has volunteered to do the work, i will also support requirements requested by those who are.

Cheers,

--Tree



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Tree Bressen
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