Making books participatory

Making books participatory?? Books once written is written for ever, rest are editions, how can you make it participatory? I know you are webby, are you asking to create a wiki out of our books? We know you are not well, this is what happens when a busy brain gets extra rest, get working on something useful Aji?

I am not surprised by the above comments as such comments are a part of my life ( I remember when I told by teammates and seniors that I am going to create a better multiuser blog that existing wordpress mu, or when I said I am going to challenge Google and blogspot).

What made me think so?

Here are my observations :-

  1. I was reading the SVN book again which is a printed copy of THE svnbook and I saw a lot of white pages which are unused (equivalent to waste).
  2. Even after reading books we have doubts and there are some examples that helps more. Sometimes a senior can teach you something in 5 mins which a book might take over 5 days. (PHP installation is one such example)
  3. Some facts may be outdated leading to a wrong conclusion.
  4. Some may be pure opinions which you may not agree validly.
  5. I have seen the strength of a wikipedia.

This basically apply for library books or books used by more than person but it is very valid for your personal collection as well. You always learn more than that is documented in a book.

How to Make books participatory?

This is more valid for knowledge based books. Without any further delay here are the things that can be done:-

  1. Authors should leave some space with each page for users’ comments.
  2. Library should issue multi-colored pencil, use as many dark color pencils as possible and give one for each user.
  3. If enough white spaces are not available add some pages in between chapters. That will increase the scope of participation.
  4. Award good contributors time to time.

This is a shortcut to turn an offline book into offline wiki. You will not resist it if you believe in wisdom of crowd. Will it work? I don’t know, try if it works for you :). There is fun when you try and fail and life pity on us when we fail to try. Enjoy experimentation.