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A name change for the Solar Cooking Wiki

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Joined: 25 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:42 pm    Post subject: A name change for the Solar Cooking Wiki Reply with quote

On April 23, 2007, the Solar Cooking Wiki changed its name to the Solar Cooking Archive Wiki ( to emphasize the close relationship between the wiki and the Solar Cooking Archive. Both sites are sponsored by Solar Cookers International (SCI), and much of the material on the wikis first 500 pages came from the archive. SCI part-time staffer Tom Sponheim has personally made almost 3000 edits on the wiki, more than twice as many as everyone else put together!

We (SCI staff and volunteers and anyone else who is interested) are still discussing exactly how to use the wiki what should be on the archive vs the wiki vs the interactive forums and no doubt this will change over time. We invite your comments and suggestions; please submit them on the discussion forum. We also encourage you to make additions and corrections to the wiki and to participate in the other discussion forums.

In 1995, Tom Sponheim, a volunteer for SCI, created the Solar Cooking Archive ( Tom maintained the site for the next 10 years on a volunteer basis. While he worked closely with Solar Cookers International, Tom funded and provided most of the editorial direction of the archive himself.

In the meantime, SCI created a site that covered its organizational structure and solar cooking activities:

During the early years of the Solar Cooking Archive, Tom gathered information on solar cooking and collected it in one place (hence the name Solar Cooking Archive). Over the years, more and more solar cooking enthusiasts submitted plans and other materials for posting in the archive. Volunteers from around the world translated some of the documents into other languages.

At the Granada solar cooking conference in July 2006, it became apparent that there was a great need for conference participants (and others) to stay in close communication after the conference. Tom gave a short presentation at the conference on ways the Solar Cooking Archive could be enhanced to support more two-way communication, including making some pages wiki-based. Tom had done some work on the Wikipedia encyclopedia project, but he had never thought about how wiki technology could be used to enhance the archive until the idea was suggested to him by volunteer Beth Ogilvie, now an administrator on this wiki. The Solar Cooking Archive had never had pages dedicated to each country where solar cooking was taking place. Nor did it have pages for each NGO or individual. If we were going to add such pages, it made sense to make them wiki-based so SCI didnt become an information bottleneck and so others could add their own information.

The first thing Tom did on his return from Spain was to add a web-based discussion forum to the archive. Then he and Beth investigated whether to host the wiki pages in the archive or use a hosting service. They decided against hosting the wiki themselves and selected Wikia as the host. They convinced Wikia that there was enough demand for a new wiki on this topic. Wikia takes care of server maintenance, backup, vandalism protection, etc., leaving SCI staff and volunteers free to concentrate on the content.

The Solar Cooking [Archive] Wiki grew quickly to almost 600 topics. Many people from around the world made contributions, and we hope more people will realize how easy it is to edit a wiki page. Vandalism has been minimal.

So why the name change? In 2005, when Tom became a contractor and eventually an employee of SCI, he transferred ownership of the Solar Cooking Archive to SCI. In 2006, with the creation of the discussion forums and the wiki, SCI found itself with four websites. Each site serves a purpose, but their separate existence might be confusing for visitors. Adding "Archive" to the wiki's name emphasizes its connection to the SCI family of websites.

Solar Cookers International - - Information on Solar Cookers International

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