The Open Source Historical Archive (OSHA) is intended to collect, preserve, and analyze the history of open source as a cultural movement, spanning both free/libre and open source software and broader examples of commons-based peer production. Our interests embrace well-known "open source" projects such as Linux and Wikipedia as well as much smaller and sometimes less-successful efforts. We are particularly interested in gathering the memories and commentaries of participants in these projects, as these in-the-trenches "oral histories" are often overlooked by historians. But we will also gather other historical materials--email correspondence, manifestos, newsgroup postings, and even material culture--not collected elsewhere.
Share your stories at our online oral history survey!
Our first project focuses on the massive open-source encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Our goal is to gather and preserve the accounts and perspectives of some of the tens of thousands of people who have participated in this remarkably successful project. Currently in a pilot phase, we're conducting interviews using various media as well as soliciting memories via an online survey. These materials will eventually become available to researchers as a collection within the Open Source Historical Archive.
The Open Source Historical Archive grows out the work of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and especially its Echo (Exploring and Collecting History Online--Science, Technology, Industry) project, which has sponsored a number of online collecting efforts in the history of science and technology as well as the massive September 11 Digital Archive. OSHA has received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.