Contribute to BSD’s Project Wiki and help us create a database of sustainable building information for all to share
Last month we launched the BSD Project Wiki (http://wiki.bsdlive.co.uk), which we hope can become, with your help, a database of sustainable building projects with contributions from all members of the design team.
You can find projects on the wiki by browsing by category, searching for them by name or following links from other pages on the wiki.
If you’ve ever used the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, the way it works is pretty much the same.
We don’t intend to replicate Wikipedia (which has a fantastic amount of information on buildings) but to create a building-services-focused resource to encourage discussion about different projects. You can:
- highlight your own firm’s products and successes, as part of the history or information about each project;
- debate projects on each page’s “discussion” section; and
- find more information on building services in action.
We encourage you to register to make the site easier to use, but you don’t have to. Just go to wiki.bsdlive.com and search for a project or browse via category. Every page has an “edit” button at the top. Click that and you’re editing; press “save page” and you’ve changed an article. It’s that easy!
We’ve also put together a basic help guide with step-by-step instructions on how to add new projects, including images, categorising and adding links which you can find in the “Help” section.
Wikis and Wikipedia
“Wiki” is the Hawaiian word for quick or fast. The first wiki was developed by Ward Cunningham, an American computer programmer, who installed it on his software consultancy’s website in 1995. He named it after a shuttle bus called Wiki Wiki that ran to Honolulu airport.
As with many internet innovations, including the web itself, it was invented as an academic tool to allow software programmers to collaborate. One of the features of Cunningham’s first wiki was that you didn’t have to understand HTML (a programming language) to participate.
He felt that online discussions ended up covering the same ground over and over because they provided no context. A wiki allows you to create a single page for each subject (or project in the case of the BSD wiki), avoiding this lack of context and providing a constantly evolving document.
Wikipedia was launched in 2001 with the aim of creating a publicly editable encyclopaedia. It currently consists of nearly 3 million articles in English on subjects as diverse as the 1923 FA Cup final and gas metal arc welding.
The quality, depth and accuracy of information on each subject vary but most “major” subjects are informative. Users update and take an interest in whatever is relevant to them.
We hope the BSD wiki will help consulting engineers do the same and create a comprehensive database for the industry.
Top 5 wiki tips
- Create an account. You don’t have to but it’s free and lets you manage your projects.
- Infobox. Provide a list of facts for each project, such as architect, completion date, etc.
- Images. Make your page look more professional and help people visualise the project.
- Structure. Try to split your project page into lots of short sections using headings. This will make it easier to read and far more searchable by Google.
- Edit often. Wikis can evolve slowly, just add as much information on a project as you have and update it over time.
Building Sustainable Design
Ed Sexton is BSD’s resident web expert.
If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org