We always plug our relationship with BhamWiki whenever we can. Today there was an official unveiling of what it would be like if the folks at the Wiki ever got a large grant to help supplement it. The Encyclopedia of Alabama was formally launched by Governor Riley today at the Alabama Humanities Foundation Leadership Summit and Awards Luncheon in Hoover (though the site’s been up and active since February). We’re interested in hearing what you think about it – and thanks to GoodCourage for giving up the head’s up. You can always direct message us via Twitter or any of the other contact methods with news tips and story ideas.
Since the discussion has been started, another distinction has been rolling around in my head today: To the degree that the E of A has enlisted bona fide experts in many topics, they are able to draw conclusions and make judgments that sites like Bhamwiki will never (or should never) present first-hand. My aim with Bhamwiki is to provide well-ordered factual information so neutral that anyone looking at one of our articles, no matter their expertise or bias, will agree that what we have is reasonably correct and comprehensive. That's plenty hard enough for us amateurs without approaching the task of interpretation, even where it might be valuable. In fact, we more often find ourselves struggling to neutralize the biases in our source materials. In the arena of detailed ultra-local topics there are few general-interest peer-reviewed sources available. Lacking those, the sources we find run the gamut from propaganda, advertising, boosterism and commissioned work to slander, rumor, innuendo and everything in between. Expertise has a justly honored place, but you're right. That place probably ain't a wiki.