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Swank v0.04.04

Living Document

A living document is "a document which may be continually edited and updated by either a limited or unrestricted group." (definition from wikipedia)

A Wiki is a tool for creating living documents.

What do people do with living documents?

  • They read them.
  • They search them.
  • They edit them. (add, delete, rearrange)
  • They are able to review past changes. e.g. Many editions of  the Constitution include markup for text which has been added or deleted.
  • They make annotations, marginalia, and highlight important text.
  • They discuss it.  (discussion pages, comments)
  • Get notifications of changes, and can contact authors about changes.

These actions are addressed in wiki software.

  • Reading a wiki page is done just by viewing it.
    Wikis are organized with links between pages, rather than a sequential ordering of pages.
  • Full text search is a major feature in any wiki.
  • Editing any page is allowed, but may be restricted by access rights.
  • All pages have version control, so past changes can be viewed and/or restored.
  • (Annotations are not a common feature. see below)
  • Discussion pages and comments (each linked to a specific page) are common features.  (With Swank, these are add-ons.)
  • (Notifications are not yet implemented in Swank.) Contacting authors can be done with an email form which does not reveal the author's email address.

Annotations (and highlighting) have not been widely addressed in wiki implementations.  Annotations are notes which are attached to particular words or sections of text.  (Security-wise, annotations should be available to everyone, like comments, but attachment to the main text is problematic if the main text is not write-accessible.)