Mirage of us: A reflection on the role of the Web in widening access to references on Southern African arts, culture and heritage

Graham Stewart

Abstract


This article outlines the broad aims of the Encyclopaedia of South African Arts, Culture and Heritage (ESAACH) Project then goes
on to consider the ESAACH Website as a networked resource that speaks to the project’s vision of accessibility and participation.
The wiki architecture is highly accessible to users and contributors alike. In addition to its robust structure as a reference work,
a wiki encyclopaedia facilitates networked social collaboration uniquely suited to the co-operative principles of the project. Subject
area specialists will exercise editorial control over the content of the wiki, and work with the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editors and
peer reviewers to assess contributions, recommend editorial corrections, and select articles, essays and entries for inclusion in the
printed volumes of the encyclopaedia. The paper surveys existing Web-based reference sources on Southern African literature, arts
and culture; provides an account of the evolution of the Verbal Arts section of the ESAACH wiki; and discusses the prototype
ESAACH wiki. Key words: encyclopaedia, hypertext, online repository, South African literary history.

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