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An uneasy truce: brokering collaborative knowledge building and commodity culture
by Pamela Wilson
International Journal of Knowledge Engineering and Soft Data Paradigms (IJKESDP), Vol. 3, No. 3/4, 2012


Abstract: This article provides an ethnographic case study of a genealogy and social media site,, that has provided the structure and tools for collaborative knowledge building. To date, over seven million users have contributed to and constructed what is billed as the largest interconnected genealogical database in human history. The author examines this process as part of a new Web 2.0 paradigm for cultural, educational and business practices and focuses, in particular, upon the tensions and inherent contradictions that must be overcome if the corporate for-profit model might successfully be integrated with, and co-exist with, an open-source, participatory, user-led wiki model for collaborative knowledge-building (a wiki model). The article also provides insights on the construction of both a technological and human architecture for participatory involvement in knowledge building and illustrates a number of intercultural and ideological challenges that an enterprise may face as it expands into a global market and global community of users.

Online publication date: Mon, 26-Nov-2012


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