Frog in a Well
About This Site
The East Asian Libraries and Archives wiki was founded in 2003 and originally hosted in a similar form at Chinajapan.org. It was inspired by the Chinese archives website at UCSD which hosts a range of useful information for students and scholars wanting to do research in the archives of China.
This wiki website aims to provide fast and useful reference information to students and scholars engaging in research on East Asia, especially those whose who will have a limited time to engage in field work in Korea, China, Taiwan, or Japan and who may not speak the host language natively.
While a lot of information about archives can now be conveniently found online, research in libraries and archives often benefits from the kind of information that may not be so easy to find on an institutions website. This is especially the case for archives which are not yet completely open, require special permission or lengthy applications to access, etc. It is hoped that this site will collect some basic information on important libraries, archives, museums, and other sites of research in East Asia but also collect the experiences and advice of those who have already visited it.
The Benefits of a Wiki
While Wikipedia does not deserve the trust of academic researchers, wikis can still be powerful and useful tools. The basic principle behind a wiki is that anyone can edit the pages here. They can do so in highly unproductive or harmful ways: vandalizing pages, sending spambots to fill them with advertisements (We will make an effort to battle such efforts through various technological means), destroying the general structure of the presented information, or adding well-meant but useless information. However, they are also currently the single simplest tool for allowing the average visitor—whose time may be valuable but who may be in possession of a nugget of useful information—to incorporate their own knowledge into a page created by those who came before them, or by creating a new one from scratch.
For a site like Frog in a Well's East Asian Libraries and Archives the most important benefit of the wiki is that it can help keep this site alive: Unlike the Chinese archives site at UCSD, which is in great need of an update, visitors to this wiki who have visited an archive or library they find here, or have recently viewed the homepage for a particular institution, can quickly and easily update any information listed here. Of course, they can also add new pages as necessary. If you know better, you don't earn the right to complain about the content here unless you make an effort to fix any glaring errors you find among these pages.
The success or failure of any wiki (and the web is filled with the hollow shells of failed wikis) depends on the community that develops around it. A good community is only built through the provision of useful content, a vigorous defence against wiki vandals, and the legitimacy that comes by maintaining an updated and accurate body of information.
Some Additional Notes From the Webmaster
K. M. Lawson - Frog in a Well Webmaster