Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

An attempt at a North Country Fair History Wiki

Hi folks

This coming year marks the 40th North Country Fair – the Annual Solstice Celebration held in Northern Alberta.  A very long time ago, I had the idea of turning our annual community celebration of the Solstice into a more public and BETTER celebration. The vibrant community of “back-to-the landers” in the Lesser Slave Community  managed to create a public celebration, pay the bills (consistently), introduce hundreds of musicians to the crowd and vice-versa, so as to create a Sunsational Annual Solstice Event.

The Fair now owns its own huge track of land on the Driftpile River Valley, south of Lesser Slave Lake. Each solstice over 5.000?? people converge in the Driftpile River valley  to make music, celebrate friends and family and the gift of life. The site is also leased by other community and music groups.

For many the North Country Fair has been an extraordinary experience – as they have met (or born) life changing events. People have been born, married and even died at the Fair!

The spirit of the Fair has been described (both with and without mental enhancements) as mind blowing, wet, Wow!, frustrating, very groovy and many more.

We want to capture and share these experiences. For ourselves and others.

The NCFwiki invites all of those who have interest and who have experienced the Fair to share their stories, photos and memories.  The site uses a popular wiki, content management system (TikiWiki) to organize, search and retrieve Fair stories, programs, photos and more.

The way a wiki works (with WikiPedia being the single best example) is that some of those who have experienced the Fair, take it upon themselves to add to the Fair Wiki. Some (usually less than 2%) become active editors  – editing, nudging, suggesting and in other ways helping to curate the archive.

I have set up a preliminary shell for the Wiki. I’ve also added a view stories, scanned a few programs and posters, linked a few newspaper articles and photos and proved – at least to myself, that this could work. But it needs loving labour!!

We know have, what anyone who has lived in Northern Alberta knows well, a ‘cold start’ problem. Did I ever tell you the story of warning a frozen truck on Hippy Hill when the propane Tiger Torch ignited the engine block??). I digress.

In order to be useful a social network site (like a wiki) has to be used.

To be used it has to be useful.

So, I have created a shell (much like Wikipedia did years ago) but I know from other  experiences, that it is much easier to create a wiki shell than to populate it and for it to achieve critical mass.  The TIKIWiki system has many other community features that could be activated to acknowledge and honour contributors, as well as crowd tools like “likes”.  These could be added.

I hope you will take a few moments to check out the site at virtualcancuk.ca/NCFwiki . The site needs design expertise (I have very limited skills in this area)  but mostly it needs people who value the Fair enough to contribute.

The current site of the wiki is on my own self-funded blog. The plan is to transfer the ownership of the wiki (if successful) to the official LSLNCCA community association site.

How to Contribute:

Wikipedia works by self-selected individuals registering (and being authorized by me) as “editors” and then they have the permissions necessary to both add their own and edit the contributions of others.

Thus, the final work becomes a community effort. Of course, this gives rise to arguments and discussions of quality, authenticity, veracity, organization schemes and much more. And these have NOT all been thought through, but the important thing now is to get a critical mass of contributions, such that Fair Folks find it of value.

Some potential contributors may not wish to bother with learning the technical details of creating and managing contributions. This is understandable, but I do encourage  Fair friends to stretch  their personal net skills by learning to contribute to a public archive, such as this WIKI. You may well love the experience of sharing.  However, if you wish you may also send emails with attached content to myself, and I or other volunteer editors will  figure out how to add them.

A wiki usually contains both unique content and links to external contact.  So for example, Eric Marks has created many photos of the Fair and he has uploaded these to Flickr . Eric or others could add these directly to the wiki manually, thus ensuring they last if Flickr were to close down, but that is a significant task, so for now they are just linked (see an example here).

Please email me if you have questions or wish to help with this exciting project.






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