Davis Wiki Wins Knight News Challenge Grant

The creators of the Davis Wiki were among this year’s winners of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge, a contest that funds ideas that use technology to inform geographic communities.

The LocalWiki project, created by Davis Wiki founders Philip Neustrom and Mike Ivanov, will create the  next generation of wiki software tailored to the needs of local communities.  The new software, to be tested in several “pilot” communities, will allow citizens a to easily collaborate on a common repository of local information, providing the context behind the people, places, and events that shape our communities.

“Unless you read your local newspaper everyday for years, you don’t have the full picture of what’s going on in your community,” said Neustrom. “Our local wiki projects will represent cohesive institutional memory of the entire community, created and maintained by the people who live there.”

Inspired by the success of the Davis Wiki, currently the world’s largest and most active community wiki, the LocalWiki project will apply the lessons learned there to new communities while creating new tools that will enrich online collaboration.  The new LocalWiki software will focus on ease of use as well as giving users new ways to share and explore local news and information, such as  editable maps and time lines.  For instance, users will be able to see a local landmark on a map and visualize its history on a timeline, in the context of other historic events.  The free and open-source software will be released to the public in 2011.

In addition to creating the software, funded by this Knight Foundation grant, the LocalWiki project is currently seeking additional funding to bring local wikis to more communities.

About LocalWiki

The LocalWiki project is a non-profit effort to enable massive online collaboration in order to transform the way local communities get and exchange news and information.

About the Knight News Challenge

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge is a 5-year, $25 million international contest to fund digital news experiments that use technology to inform specific geographic communities.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers.  Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change.  For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

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