by Lars Aronsson, October 2002
Project Runeberg publishes free electronic editions of classic Nordic literature on the Internet. In our first ten years (1992-2002) we have put some 300 titles online, all of which are listed in our catalog. In addition to this, we also publish presentations of a growing collection of Nordic Authors. Both titles and authors can be found from the search page.
Sometimes it is more convenient to have a collected thematic entry to books and people, and this is the need that this section, most often referred to as Tema, tries to address. Since its start on September 20, 1997, some 50 thematic entries have been created, each having a web page within the section, as listed below, with links leading to and from our published titles and author presentations.
While the current setup does work, it has not been the complete success that we originally hoped. Some flaws are inherent in its current design. The creation of new thematic entries and links is a manual work that can only be done my our editors, not directly by volunteers or the general public. Suggestions for improvement have to be submitted by email, and an editor has to respond to this email. This might be the single most important reason to the limited growth. Further, the design does not facilitate for direct connections between a thematic entry and a part (chapter or article) of a published work. And finally, it is not clear whether an entry should be named and described in English, Swedish, some other language, or more languages than one.
Since 2001, the new application of wiki (user-edited) websites as general purpose knowledge resources, as demonstrated by Wikipedia and the Swedish Susning.nu, has provided a far more flexible tool for the problem originally addressed by Project Runeberg's Tema section. Project Runeberg's own wiki website is an early attempt to investigate how this technology can be adopted to our needs. More work and analysis is still needed in this direction. For the moment, both Tema and wiki are used in parallel.
If you have any suggestions for improval, you are welcome to contact Project Runeberg.