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March 27, 2012
ConText: Perhaps Justice Scalia will be interested in crowd-sourcing Madison's Notes
The Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier in partnership with the Brookings Institution has launched ConText. It is an "experiment in crowd-sourcing commentary on dense historical texts and in illuminating those texts for the public, for students, and for scholars in new ways, writes Benjamin Wittes. For a very interesting discussion of the backdrop for this project, see Wittes' ConText: An Experiment in Crowd-Sourced Commentary.
ConText was launched on James Madison's 261st Birthday with Madison’s Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787. ConText also includes Madison's Vices of the Political System of the United States. Commentary for crowd-sourced documents are organized into the following categories: Historical, Current Events, Theoretical/Philosophical and Other. More documents are expected to follow. The site's Featured Documents page includes an RSS feed for tracking purposes.
ConText in my opinon is an excellent example of independent educational organizations like The Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and the Brookings Institution supporting open scholarship during its beta stage of development. From the site's About Page:
Working with an interdisciplinary group of historians, political theorists, lawyers, technological innovators, educators, and you, we are all together crowd-sourcing the most important documents in our nation's history. With this site, you can explore historical documents through browsing the text, reading scholar commentary, and adding your own observations. In the process, you will delve into the document's historical context and realize its relevance to the contemporary world.