GitHub is a “version control” web site that is taking the Internet by storm. GitHub was originally designed for software developers. Its web site states that the site lets programmers upload code and share it with other developers. It keeps track of who made what changes where, and it helps merge all those changes together. It “controls” the various versions of an open source software project.
Nowadays, GitHub is also being used to oversee stuff outside the programming world, including DNA data and Senate bills that may turn into laws and all sorts of other information you can put into a text file. I have to wonder if it could be used by a genealogy society or even by two or three genealogists who are working together on a project. It could be used for creating a book about an entire family or for an article to be published in a magazine. In fact, I think that I could use it for articles to be published in this newsletter. Readers could submit changes, corrections, and additional information above and beyond what I write.
Is this a good idea?
I don't know, but I am fascinated by a recent experience from the writing team at Wired magazine. The team of writers uploaded a proposed story to GitHub, where everyone in the world could see it. Quoting from the article about Wired's experience:
Within a few hours, the first change came in: a typo fix. With the push of a button, the error was gone. Then someone translated the article into Spanish. And we were elated. This was collaborative Nirvana.
More and more fixes started coming in. The story was published at 3:30 a.m. Pacific, and by 9 a.m., there were about a dozen changes. Soon we were nearing 20, and this is where things started to get complicated.
GitHub has numerous options, including the ability to make your proposed article visible to everyone on the Internet or to keep it private, visible only to people you select. Fees vary from free to $200 a month. However, I would expect only large corporations with teams of writers would be interested in the more expensive options. Genealogists and most any other small team would most likely be interested in the free version or possibly the $12 a month option.
You can read the full article at http://goo.gl/iTYBS.
GitHub is available at https://github.com/.
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