ChoralWiki:CPDL-ChoralWiki

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This page was written when the Choral Public Domain Library was ported to a wiki system in August 2005. Some of the information below may no longer be accurate. For instance, Rafael Ornes stepped down as the leader of the project in August 2008.

Introduction

The CPDL website is moving to a wiki-based platform. 'Wiki' is a term for software which enables all people to edit material on a website freely. The largest example of this is Wikipedia, which is a general-purpose encyclopedia developed by volunteers. There are multiple reasons for changing the website:

  • The website has been hacked several times in the past year. CPDL needs to move to a new platform.
  • The particular software being requires significant computer power.
  • There is a significant backlog of pieces that need to be reposted (~800 scores). (might as well make the switch now ;)
  • I need to find a website solution which allows CPDL to continue growing.

Also the CPDL website, which had grown remarkably for several years, experienced several difficulties in 2005. These included:

  • Significant downtime
  • Security flaws and hacker attacks
  • Server overload
  • Intensive software development time
  • Lack of time to manage the website
  • Loss of 6 months' worth of data due to computer crash

Eventually, I decided to look at other solutions for hosting CPDL. This led to the transition to a wiki-based server solution.

Advantages of Wiki

  • It is an increasingly popular platform for certain collaborative projects.
  • Many of the automatic features of a wiki website should make work more productive.
  • Scores can be uploaded automatically.
  • Wikis actively encourage broad-based participation.
  • The CPDL data is incomplete/inconsistent, and many items need to be added/fixed.
  • There is a rich possibility for added all sorts of useful content to the editions that already are on CPDL.

Challenges

There are several possible difficulties in this approach:

  • People will need to get used to a different format.
  • It may be more difficult to navigate the website and find scores.
  • People may not contribute anything significant.
  • The information on the website may become increasingly chaotic.
  • There may still be some technical difficulties
  • Spammers.

Wiki Definition

A 'wiki' is a group of Web pages that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also permits others to edit the content. Here is an extended definition from Wikipedia, which is the largest wiki project on the internet. It is a very useful protocol for developing collaborative projects.

Transition to ChoralWiki

The transition occurred in late August. While the basic transition was quick, there were some difficulties, and it has taken a few months to fix many issues.

Comparison between the old and the new website

Pros:

Cons:

  • Some features no longer exist (survey, requests)
  • Advanced search feature has been disabled
  • Wiki format is unfamiliar
  • Less user-friendly

The new website is still being worked on by many people. Hopefully, some/all of the features of the previous website can be added soon.

CPDL Roadmap

The website is being moved in different stages. Contributor pages were moved last week. Composer pages have been posted, and music score page will be posted soon. Templates and instructions will also be added soon. During this time, pages will be in a great deal of flux, and a large number of pages may be changed. If you find that your work has been overwritten, look at the history button, and see if it is worth recovering. Please be patient!

Call for more volunteers

The primary strength of a wiki site is the opportunity to add/edit content. With this in mind, all people are encouraged to fix errors, complete entries, and add new information. There is a Volunteer page with some suggestions for helping out. If you have any questions, feel free to check out the Help Section of the website.


Best,

Rafael Ornes
Manager, Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL)
23 August 2005