Brian T. Johnstone

my little space here on the web

A Wiki Start

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It’s a small change… but it marks my first edit to Wikipedia.  After my post about the Faculty of the Future Conference and the need to encourage the use of new tools rather than to banish them I decided to make my first contribution.

We all know the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway bought 3 EMD SD70M locomotives back in 1995, right?  Well, such minutia has found a home on the EMD SD70 series page of Wikipedia.  I just added this little factoid to the table ‘Original Buyers.’  Way cool.  Boom!  First contribution.  And then… I got to wondering why those 3 units would have been overlooked.  After all, the NYSW made big news back in ’95 in purchasing brand new, high horsepower, six axle units (something Class 1 railroads do all the time, but not smaller Class 2 railroads like Susie-Q).  So I got to looking and found a source indicating the 3 units were part of the EMDX order for 25 units (which are already in the table I edited)–see Unofficial EMD page for order Order # 946531.  Boom! First deletion.  I did decide to add some text to the paragraph on the SD70Ms referring to the NYSW units.  And there it is.  I am quite comfortable not being an expert….

Meanwhile, I’ve been sitting on an instance of MediaWiki over on the www.anthraciterailroads.org domain for several months now.  The late Ed Schaller, formerly one of our board members, suggested the idea of a wiki as a better way for folks to share their knowledge of all things pertaining to the anthracite railroads.  At present, a lot of good information gets bounced around the Yahoo! Group and is then nearly impossible to find. So Ed, in your memory, I plan to take up the torch soon and get crackin’ on that ARHS Wiki.  Again, I plan to help facilitate this, but I’ll leave the facts and figures to the experts… or, that’s what we’ll hope for.

All of that said, we’ve been using a wiki in the library at BCCC for about a year or so.  It’s a private wiki set up at PBWorks and is used as a way to keep all librarians in the loop and to serve as a place to house information we all need.  I’ve been enjoying adding what I hope is useful library systems information to it.  I plan to write more about that some time.

In the meantime I feel good about having simply participated in Wikipedia.  It’s a small (read: insignificant) contribution, and one with a misstep, but it’s a wiki start.

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