eMuseum Encyclopedia: Skydiving’s History WIKI Online
An online databank exploring the use of parachutes, beginning with the earliest attempts to slow a man’s descent from high places, is under construction at http://Skydiving-Encyclopedia.com. More than 850 separate articles have been uploaded to The Encyclopedia of All Things Skydiving website, and more are added every week. The website is a publicly searchable research tool that will serve future generations of aviation enthusiasts who have an historical interest in parachutes and the people who use them for sport.
Preview and testing began in January when the link was publicized on social media and news outlets frequented by the skydiving community. To date, the site has been viewed by more than 40,000 people representing 50 countries. A membership function and collaborative “wiki” software enables visitors to comment, add new articles, correct inaccuracies and otherwise participate in building a valuable and accessible archive of sport parachuting’s collective history.
The site’s content includes technical articles, anecdotes, pictures, reminisces and biographies of the sport’s notables, past and present. Articles are collected, organized and posted under the supervision of Madden (Pat) Works, longtime skydiving author, and website administrator Mary Todd. They intend to grow the scope of the project by encouraging others with an interest in skydiving—parachute equipment designers, enthusiasts of the sport’s many disciplines, aerial photographers, jump pilots, etc.—to add informed content in their areas of specialty. All new content, corrections and suggestions submitted for consideration are reviewed and approved before they are added to the website.
Military parachuting is a currently popular category, as are personal profiles on some of the sport’s leading personalities written by authors Brian Giboney (for Parachutist Magazine) and Robin Heid (for the now-defunct Skydiving Magazine.)
The Encyclopedia of All Things Skydiving is a personal project initiated by Pat Works (USPA D-1813), who, as a pro bono advisor to the Skydiving Museum’s Board of Trustees, has written on a broad range of topics that tell the history of parachutes and sport skydiving. The WIKI site also has a link to the Skydiving Museum’s “eMuseum” function that enumerates the collection of artifacts, documents and other “in-kind” donations from skydivers around the world. eMuseum listings represent what could be displayed when the Skydiving Museum achieves funding sufficient to open the doors at a physical location.
The eMuseum database and moderated wiki, along with an “old-timers” video interview project that currently exists on the Eternal Friends of Skydiving’s YouTube channel, are projects of the Museum’s Accessions and Curatorial Committee under the direction of trustee and curator Dan Poynter.
Website content authored by Works adheres to the standards of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 international license governing the sharing of open data. Articles can be freely copied, altered and shared as long as the user credits the original source and also distributes it under Creative Commons license conditions. Creative Commons standards apply to many online “blogs”, scholarly research and online information sources; examples include Wikipedia and ProPublica.