QUESTION: documenting peer to peer practices in all social domains, where to find volunteers?

question / pregunta: 

Since November 2006, I have been documenting, through the wiki at, the emergence of open/free, participatory/p2p, and commons oriented social movements in all areas of social life. We (but mostly myself) have created 5,491 pages of documentation which have been viewed 1,732,364 times. I have often thought that only librarians might be really motivated by collaborating in such a project to build a free knowledge base, and my question is: how would I find the forums where I could appeal for such assistance.


Answer posted by:
jim miller

I have been mulling over your question for the past couple of weeks, and after looking into the P2P Foundation web pages for a while this evening I can better understand why volunteers may be reluctant to come forward. It appears you and the other organizers of this site have already done a
formidable amount of work, and those of us browsing through the pages quite understandably may be thinking "what could I do to improve on this project?". One approach might be for you to pick out the several or possibly half a dozen things that most frustrate you about the site. Are
there things that seem inconsistently cataloged? Hard to find? Hard to pin down just what is the major topic of particular pages?...

Possibly there are problems with how content is added - including reviewing or vetting, or indeed even pinning down who SHOULD have the option to edit or make changes. In any case, I wonder if there isn't a way to break this into smaller, more manageable tasks. The newcomer probably
does not see most of the shortcomings that may be obvious to those of you who have plainly invested a LOT of time and effort into building these pages.

Given the number of hits you are getting, it appears you are already attracting potentially interested researchers and activists. But few people want to volunteer unless they see a benefit to themselves personally. You quite rightly guess that librarians are the logical people to build a knowledge base, and indeed Radical Reference is at least the beginnings of a good one. In the larger library world, Questionpoint and lists such as Stumpers are others. So it was a good idea to put your call for volunteers to us, in case there are readers of our site (maybe even some of us regulars) who may have ideas on how to help out, once we read more in the P2P Foundation pages. Another possible source of volunteers might be Library and Information school programs; possibly even Public Affairs schools, where students might help out as part of a school or
research project. Even some undergraduate level programs might be a source of volunteers - for example the few schools such as Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC - where volunteer service is part of the requirement for
graduation. What you would need to do is read carefully in the college's web site and publications, to see who decides what the projects are - or who you would contact to inquire about possible interest in your project. One way to find out what colleges offer work-study or volunteer programs
might be to search sites such as , using the phrase "community service" in its main search box in upper right. Web directories, such as can get you into lists of colleges and universities such as
These seem to be mostly directories of names, states, and major fields of study; but it might be worth looking through the list to see if they mention public service, or community service, etc.

But I would think the first step, in any of these approaches, is to figure out just what you most want to improve in the P2P Foundation - what few most important things are not working as well as you would like them to?