By Duncan Lithgow
Straw Bale Building in Holland (Courtesy http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Straw_Bale_Construction)
I love open content shared with everyone and improved by everyone. So back in 2006 after I was at the International Straw Bale Builders Conference here in Denmark I agreed to collect all the minutes and other documentation for the conference. I made this content into a website I hosted for a while. But I was not satisfied with the reach of the content, it was only really people who went to the conference who new it existed. So I went to Wikipedia.org
and discovered Wikibooks. As the name suggests, Wikibooks, is the the idea of Wikipedia applied to books. So I created a Wikibooks, with the unimaginative title ‘Straw Bale Construction’. The most developed part of the Wikibook is the ‘Technical Studies, Reports and Tests’ section which includes sections on Acoustics, Insulation, Fire Safety, Building Codes and Moisture. The most unusual part is perhaps the section ‘Pushing The Limit’ which looks at Straw Bale domes and arches (see the discussion page for a list of interesting links about that subject).
Then recently I got an email from Jeff at TLS announcing the relaunched website. So I wrote the text above and sent it to him. Quickly Jeff and I saw the potential of wrapping the TLS website around the wikibook. And with the wonders of modern website systems he had it working shortly afterwards. You can see the results at http://thelaststraw.org/the-journal/sbwiki/
So if you feel like taking a look, maybe even adding something, feel free. If you click on one of the ‘edit’ buttons you can get started. It’s a great place to add info on your national organization or some research you’ve heard about – you don’t even need an account. All contributions are licensed for re-use, so if you find (or improve) a section worth publication on paper, let TLS know. And, yes, I keep an eye on all contributions. Write to me if you get stuck [email protected] and I’ll see if I can help.