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Student project, the Canadian Music Wiki, goes live

Published June 25, 2010 on the UBC School of Journalism website.

By Amanda Ash

The CBC-UBC student-led project to create a Canadian music online encyclopedia, the Canadian Music Wiki, has launched after eight months of research and development.

The site aims to be the most comprehensive online resource on Canadian music and related topics, with contributions from artists, fans and media professionals. Since it uses wiki software, just about any page can be edited by anyone at any time.

The project is the result of a partnership between the UBC journalism school and CBC Radio 3 which gave me, as a student at the school, a unique opportunity to work on wiki. It was based on an idea by CBC Radio 3 director Steve Pratt and UBC journalism professor Alfred Hermida.

The website went live on May 21 and immediately received fantastic response from the public. The Canadian Music Wiki has been featured in major daily newspapers including the Vancouver Sun and the Edmonton Journal, as well as music magazines such asExclaim!

In the month since its launch, the wiki has received more 14,000 page views and has more than 2,300 wiki pages. The pages include information on musicians, albums, songs, record labels, festivals, recording studios and venues.

I began working on the wiki in September last year at CBC Radio 3. The online radio station promotes independent Canadian music. The project formed the basis of my master’s thesis under the supervision of Professor Hermida. In the thesis, I examined the wiki project as an example of how media organizations—specifically public service broadcasters—can reimagine their role in the digital age.

The project would not have been possible without the financial support of MITACS Accelerate, which funded my eight-month internship at CBC Radio 3. And I am thankful for the help and encouragement from Steve Pratt and his tech-savvy team of producers, developers and designers.

I truly believe the wiki will enrich Canada’s cultural landscape by becoming a meeting point for fans, artists and industry professionals alike to come together around a common goal: to build a central hub dedicated to Canadian music.

The Canadian Music Wiki uses collaborative social software, which means it is powered by community contributions. Whether you’re a fan of Broken Social Scene, Justin Bieber or Rush, I invite you to stop by and add your knowledge to the resource!

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