Preservapedia is a free-content encyclopedia and knowledge base intended serve as a resource to the cultural heritage conservation community. Modeled on the highly successful Wikipedia project, Preservapedia aims not to duplicate its content but rather, to disseminate knowledge specific to the field of historic preservation and allied disciplines in a free and open manner. It is our belief that any contribution to the World Wide Web constitutes a general contribution to all human knowledge regardless of affiliation and as such, should be considered positive and constructive. Preservapedia, therefore, should not be viewed as a competitor to other available resources but rather, understood as a venue for the dissemination of the knowledge that is the property of all mankind.
How it works
Preservapedia is written collectively and collaboratively by volunteers. Anyone with internet access can make changes to Preservapedia articles. Though this resource is intended for a professional audience, visitors do not need specialized qualifications to contribute. This means that people of all ages and backgrounds can author or contribute to articles simply by clicking the "edit" link present at the top of every page. Anyone is welcome to add information, cross-references, or citations, as long as they do so within Preservapedia's editing policies and to an appropriate standard. Substandard or disputed information is subject to removal. Users need not worry about accidentally damaging Preservapedia when adding or improving information, as other editors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors.
Because Preservapedia is an ongoing work to which, in principle, anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles more frequently contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or even vandalism. Users need to be aware of this and treat the information accordingly. However, unlike a paper reference source, Preservapedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on topical events within seconds, minutes, or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.
Preservapedia's intent is to not only have articles that cover existing knowledge, but to also serve as a platform for generating and disseminating new knowledge. As the community of contributors develops, we hope that people will see the value in sharing their knowledge and expertise; in particular, providing feedback on the success of various conservation treatments and sharing their project experience through case studies.
Because Preservapedia is intended for a specific audience, the cultural heritage conservation community, its articles contain information which is not generally of interest or pertinent to the broader public (e.g. specific conservation methods or industry-specific definitions for terms such as "significance"). For more generalized information, users should consult Wikipedia.
The information provided by Preservapedia aims to be sufficiently broad as to encompass the knowledge base of all allied disciplines in the cultural heritage conservation community (from built environment to intangible culture to ancient artifact) and so, strives to achieve an inclusive representation of the knowledge pertinent to the various allied disciplines of conservation (i.e art, buildings, history, social science, physical science, etc.).
The Preservapedia project began in 2009 as a partnership between Ed FitzGerald and Philip Marshall. As a contributors to the growing multitude of conservation and preservation listserves, discussion forums, and other Web-based venues for information sharing, Ed and Philip grew dismayed in seeing that this knowledge was often kept locked behind closed doors and available to only a privileged group of users. Further, the knowledge of the conservation community was dispersed throughout thousands of websites and print media. Often, many hours of searching and sifting through hundreds of hyperlinks would reveal gems of pertinent information that had been buried by search engines. In realizing the value of the web-based knowledge generated by the conservation community, Ed and Philip sought to provide a single portal that would provide users with free and easy access to relevant resources.
In 2010, the Preservapedia concept was recognized by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training as promising to be of great value to the cultural resource community. The Center has since become the primary sponsor of Preservapedia, employing its inventor and developer, Ed FitzGerald, to grow the idea into fruition.