Re: Question about community archives organization
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:55:24 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 18, 2010, at 2:31 PM, Alex Bailey wrote:

Anyone have experience organizing depth and breadth of history in their community? We would appreciate any specifics on what communities have

We haven't done anything formally in terms of history but we have started a wiki on GoogleSites to collect information on the facilities. We had a "Users' Manual" on the website in a members only section with a lot of information for residents about the facilities, recycling, composting, etc. The pages had either gotten very complex or out of date. We needed to track the problems with the geothermal loop by unit, the history of composting (what worked and what didn't) etc. The webpages were too hard to update (one person) and hard to organize. The wiki is much more flexible and many people can update it.

I have started a chart of how residents found out about the community and who moved in when. That has been hard because the format isn't obvious and it languishes. One resident started doing timelines of community events during the previous year but then he adopted two children.

One problem with history is that everyone remembers it differently, or denies it even happened. I wrote an article about an event that was complicated and required professional help to resolve. I took all my data from emails or contemporaneous notes that I had kept. When I sent around drafts for people to elaborate or correct, some denied information I recorded from EMAILS THEY THEMSELVES HAD WRITTEN.

So good luck on history. There is a reason that historians focus on people who are dead. Some biographers keep notes on a person for years and years so they can write the biography when the person dies.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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