The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) Wiki is available on the British Postal Museum & Archive website.
About the BPMA WikiEdit
The BPMA Wiki was "soft launched" in January 2008 when an E-Newsletter was sent to core-users. Since then, key target contributors have been contacted and asked to create content in relevant sections. The Wiki is still in its early stages at present but once it contains more content, it will be launched more widely.
The Wiki provides an opportunity for our website users to work together to create an informative and interesting resource that reflects their vast knowledge and experience of the history of the postal service.
The wiki centres around people sharing their knowledge and experiences about working for the postal service, family history, the significance of wartime letters, Post Office war memorials, postal history and philately.
Why the Wiki was createdEdit
The BPMA does not, at present, have its own museum space (although work is in progress to find one). Without this, the website is its most important public face. It therefore needs to provide as much of a museum/archive experience as possible.
Museums and archives are centres of learning. BPMA feels that participation, debate and engagement are key to this learning process. They empower people and help them to use their resources for their own benefit and for the benefit of their communities. In creating the Wiki BPMA wanted to give people the opportunity for this kind of participation online.
The BPMA cannot produce enough research to cover every possible aspect of the history of the British postal service – the topic is too big! There is a vast wealth of information and expertise in BPMA's users, both current and potential. The website will only be fully used if people have a reason to keep coming back.
Certain seeds have had more success than others so far. Of particular interest are the following pages:
- Philatelic glossary - a philatelic glossary into which a considerable amount of work has gone before placing it on the Wiki. It is hoped that a Wiki community will gradually improve current entries and add new ones
- Working for the Post Office - a page where past/present employees of the postal service can tell their stories.
- Wartime Letters - a space for people to share their feelings on the importance of sending and receiving letters in wartime. This is part of the Last Post: Remembering the First World War exhibition which will begin at the Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms in November 2008 and will then tour round a series of museums around the UK.
- Mount Pleasant Sports and Social Clubs - a page for past/present employees of Mount Pleasant to talk about the clubs and societies they are involved in at work.
The BPMA Wiki is based on Zwiki technology. According to the Zwiki website: 'Zwiki is a free (GPL), easy-to-use, robust, and powerful wiki engine based on the Zope 2 application server. Zwiki works either with vanilla Zope, or inside Plone sites (adopting their look and feel).'
The Wiki was built and integrated into the BPMA website by Adaptive Technologies Limited.
- Wiki website
- The British Postal Museum & Archive website
- Blog written by BPMA Web Officer — This blog discusses the progress of Rhiannon Looseley's MA dissertation on the practical and conceptual challenges for Museums using Wikis. It uses the BPMA Wiki as a case study and will discuss many of the ideas around promoting it, encouraging users to create content, and monitoring content. See this blog entry in particular.
- Looseley, R., and F. Roberto, Museums & Wikis: Two Case Studies. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2009: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2009.