Open Source Archive




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Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media


The Open Source Historical Archive (OSHA) was 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. The project's interests embraced well-known "open source" projects such as Linux and Wikipedia as well as much smaller and sometimes less-successful efforts. It was 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, as well as other historical materials--email correspondence, manifestos, newsgroup postings, and even material culture--not collected elsewhere. Its first project focused on the massive open-source encyclopedia, Wikipedia. The goal was to gather and preserve the accounts and perspectives of some of the tens of thousands of people who participated in this remarkably successful project. It conducted interviews using variousmedia as well as solicited memories via an online survey. The Open Source Historical Archive grew 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 sponsored a number of online collecting efforts in the history of science and technology as well as the massive September 11 Digital Archive. OSHA received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It was hosted at


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Archive; digital history