LocalWiki

By Philip Neustrom

"Davis Wiki offers almost everything the authors of the Informing Communities report hoped for."

25 February 2011

A few months ago we told you about an important recommendation made in a report written by the Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute:

Recommendation 15: Ensure that every local comunity has at least one high-quality online hub.

We talked about how the LocalWiki project aims to offer a workable, sustainable model for building and maintaining amazing local information hubs.

Today we're excited to announce that a white paper commissioned by the Knight Foundation came to the same conclusion, saying:

It is an amazing compendium of useful, user-generated information about the community's history, culture, government, schools, activities and much more. The Davis Wiki site offers almost everything the authors of the Informing Communities report hoped for when they drew up the seven key ingredients for any local online hub listed in Recommendation 15.

The report explains what an "information hub" is and explores three possible forms that local information hubs take, highlighting the LocalWiki project as one of the most promising models. You can read the report here (PDF).

While this is all pretty academic, this recognition represents an important milestone in the advancement of collaborative, community-owned local media.

Our story

In 2004 we started the Davis Wiki, an experimental project to collect and share interesting information about the town of Davis, California, editable by anyone, that soon became the world's largest and most vibrant community wiki.

Today the residents of Davis use it for everything from learning about local news and local history to helping return lost pets to their owners — and it's become the largest, most used media source in the city. In a week, nearly half of residents use the Davis Wiki; in a month, nearly everyone uses it. And 1 in 7 residents contribute material to the Davis Wiki.

We want to help as many communities as possible realize the full potential of such an amazing, collaborative information resource.