CZ:Biology Workgroup/Biology Week/Endorsement Letter (Academics)

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The following (below the line) is a template letter that could be sent to major academic departments and academic/professional organizations, introducing ourselves and asking for some sort of endorsement--i.e., asking them to ask their colleagues and members to participate on the week, or simply for a quote saying that the week sounds like a good idea.

Please feel free to edit the template, or to copy it to your computer for adaptation to your particular intendees.


Dear ________,

I am writing on behalf of the Citizendium project -- http://en.citizendium.org -- a free, expert-guided collaborative online encyclopedia project on the World Wide Web. I have a very small request of you, but first let me give you a little background.

Citizendium is an attempt to create a more reliable and authoritative version of Wikipedia. Unlike that project, we are devoted to achieving genuine reliability through the contributions and gentle oversight of certified experts, and we require contributors to use their own names. We are young (a little less than two years old) but we have already created 7-8 million words in over 10,000 articles in various stages of development, and we're growing nicely. The project was founded by Dr. Larry Sanger, a philosopher and one of the co-founders of Wikipedia.

We are now preparing to expand our offerings in Biology, by offering an "open house" for biologists to participate to any degree they feel comfortable. From September 22nd to thru the 28th, we will be holding Biology Week, an event we intend to publicize Citizendium far and wide in the biology community. During that week, we will recruit as many biologists as possible to join the project, either as Biology Workgroup Editors or as Biology Workgroup Authors. We current have 44 Biology Workgroup Editors writing, editing, and guiding contributors with lesser expertise. We list the names and links to their profile pages of our current Biology Workgroup Editors, see http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Category:Biology_Editors.

This will be an opportunity for biologists to come together to support a project that we believe will provide a critical resource — a reliable, authoritative free online non-profit encyclopedia, with referenced articles. This Biology Week event will help raise the profile of Citizendium among biologists. It will also help introduce biologists to the brave new world of online wiki collaboration, and give them an opportunity to widely share their knowledge.

To implement this event we have a small request to make from you. We are asking for a sentence or two from you encouraging your colleagues to join the project and show up online for Biology Week. You could offer it to your colleagues either in your own name as an individual biologist, or as a representative of your department, division, institute, or the like. We would use your endorsement in materials that we are using to announce Biology Week to biologists. Indeed, if biologists see your further encouragement to support Citizendium by you yourself showing up online for Biology Week, they will be more likely to sign up themselves.

You can learn more about Citizendium’s mission at http://en.citizendium.org, which will take you to the Welcome Page that has a link to the Biology Workgroup page, and from there to the articles in progress and to the list of Core articles for which we need contributors.

Learn more about the reasons we started the Citizendium project at: http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:About and http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Why_Citizendium%3F

Please consider emailing a brief statement to your colleagues, individually or through a distribution list. If you prefer, you could simply forward this message to them, saying something like this:

I have checked out Citizendium and it appears to be a worthwhile educational project. I would encourage you to check it out for yourself and consider showing up online during Biology Week and sharing some of your knowledge.

We feel a small expression of support from you, individually or as the head of your unit, could help us build our Biology offerings, currently viewable at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Category:Biology_Workgroup, into a first-rate knowledge resource in biology.

Best regards,

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