Research Output

Letting others do the work for you: the use of a wiki in creating a large-scale dataset.

  The problems of creating a large and diverse dataset for public online access are common across a number of fields and disciplines, particularly where the resources available to the researchers in terms of staffing, access and mobility are restricted. This paper draws on the technical and methodological solutions pioneered in the creation of accurate inventories of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) – recording practices rather than objects – as a result of the UNESCO 2003 Convention on ICH and resulting international initiatives. It specifically draws on the methodology for the compilation of such an inventory for Scotland, undertaken as part of an AHRC-funded implementation project within the Scottish Centre for the Book. (This project in turn derived from a piece of commissioned research undertaken on behalf of Museums Galleries Scotland and available through its website.) ICH in Scotland, while unique thematically and specific geographically, nevertheless exhibits a range broadly consistent with the UNESCO categories (defined by the 2003 Convention). The collection of data involves ‘crowdsourcing’ though with an authority to contributions derived from the employment of a snowballing technique with Local Government officials coordinating and directing the efforts of teams of knowledgeable practitioners. This data will be inputted into a fit-for-purpose inventory that will combine flexibility from the user’s perspective with ease of data entry from the compiler’s perspective. It must also be database-based so that a single change of detail effects change across the whole record. A restricted-access Wiki with content being uploaded by authorised individuals only fits these specifications. Its development also opens up a range of possibilities across a number of fields and disciplines, including book history itself.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    006 Special Computer Methods


Gunn, L. Letting others do the work for you: the use of a wiki in creating a large-scale dataset.. Paper presented at Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing Conference, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. (Unpublished)


wiki; intangible cultural heritage; communications technologies; datasets;

Available Documents