Always scribble, scribble, scribble -- now how to display?
April 18, 2011 8:25 AM   Subscribe

I've been keeping research notebooks since the early 1990s, on a lot of different subjects. They're all finally consolidated as a couple thousand text files written in Markdown syntax. I'd like to start putting them up, gradually, on a website for others to use. A wiki seems the best way. (Is it?) I've got a few other questions about the best one, and best way, though:

- I'd like the wiki to be stable over the long term (minimal updates, patches, plugins, backend fiddling), and will take simplicity and reliability over features (basic low bandwidth HTML text = fine)

- I would be the only editor, at least at first -- the plan is to gradually open it up if anyone's interested once it's been seeded with good stuff

- In an also-a-pony world, I'd like to be able to export the notes to a publishing format, so I could print them by Lulu or the like and have them around as a volume

I'm pretty comfortable working online -- I've installed and admin'ed MediaWikis before, among other platforms, and can do MySQL and server stuff, if that's a factor. I'd really like to get this right the first time, and there's so many different varieties of wikis and other CMSes at this point ... (Any further thoughts you have on how to display or make the notes available are welcome, of course!)
posted by finnb to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Whether a wiki is the best option is pretty dependent on your content. Is it topically organized (or I should say is the chronology of it important)? If a wiki is the best way I'd definitely stick with Mediawiki due to your previous experience and the numerous plugins that are available for it. There are some smaller wikis that come to mind that' I've used for topical note-taking (Tiddlywiki) but give that you want to do other things in the future there really aren't many other options (plus there's a decent community one can query when troubled compared to the smaller userbases of other wikis).
posted by EsotericAlgorithm at 11:53 AM on April 18, 2011

The more plugins you use, the more updates and patches.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on April 18, 2011

only an educated guess, I'm afraid, but Omeka might be the sort of thing you're after.
posted by davemack at 12:20 PM on April 18, 2011

Good points, and thanks very much. Prodded Tiddlywiki a bit ... It looks like plain-Jane MW, with minimal modifications, might be best. (The size of the community is definitely good. Safety in numbers!) The more I look at different approaches the more this actually looks like a classic old-school hypertext project, lots of interlinking pages (chronology isn't an important factor, and I have things grouped by topic for ease of reference, which I can replicate with tags) for the various subject domains.
posted by finnb at 12:48 PM on April 18, 2011

As long as we are recommendng wikis, I'd like to mention dokuwiki. One of its strong points is that a database is optional. Dokuwiki is perfectly happy using textfiles as the article store.
I would think that with some fiddling with sed or similar, ths would be the quickest way to impot your existing textfiles into the wiki.
Dokuwiki essentially relies only on its directory with php files and data. And if you want to make it more fancy, a lot of plugins are available.
Developement seems to be at a healthy pace.
posted by mmkhd at 2:57 PM on April 18, 2011

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