Sunday, February 27, 2005

Wiki as digital palimpsest

[French version available here]

What else can be a wiki?

A palimsest is a manuscript page, scroll, or book that has been written on, scraped off, and used again.

This definition comes from the wikipedia, which is THE palimsest of choice.

Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia of page/parchments from which one may overwrites ad infinitum the writings of others...

A wiki is a very technological palimseste in the purest Early Medieval scribes' tradition.

Here's my (modern) definition:

The digital palimpsest
(new definition of the wiki)

Text on a Web page whose copyists of Age Internet erased the writing of other to write another text.

The word palimpsest comes from the Greek "scraped again" and indicates a Web page from which the sysadmin took out the read-only constraint in order to anyone to modify it.

This method was used at the beginning of the 21st century by Net surfers copyists who re-used the same page to overwrite new texts. Thus contributed actively to the creation of knowledge sharing culture.


To create a palimpsest, one re-used same technology as a Web server but which had been opened for all for modification without constraint: no authorization, no download and no HTML. All can modify the palimpsest.

Because of this opened method, several writings were temporarily lost. One manages however to find the old text thanks to the modern techniques of document restoration ("previous version" button, Google cache, RSS agregators, wayback machine).

The palimsest allows a writing of several authors who co-construct the thought of the group on a particular subject. The applications goes from the writing of a perticular topic to the creation of users guides because the palimspsest benefits from the collective intelligence for the factual improvement as well as typo corrections.

Famous palimpsests

These palimsests are accessible with any Web browser and await your contributions.


Post a Comment

<< Home