In A tale of two dams I proposed using a tag, WestStDamKeene, to coordinate public discourse about a decision we need to make here in Keene, NH. Should we repair the Ashuelot River Dam on West Street, or remove it?

On the day I wrote that post, it was the only document on the web containing the 14-character string WestStDamKeene. A few months later I mentioned it again in Awakened grains of sand1, which considers what we can do when we invent names that are unique to the web — and that can be found by searching for them.
So now a Google or Bing search would find two documents on the web containing the tag WestStDamKeene.

Yesterday I tried that again and was delighted to find a number of results, notably from two local organizations deeply involved in the decision about the dam: the City of Keene [Google, Bing] and the Keene Sentinel [Google, Bing].

Among the links that turn up in a general search for WestStDamKeene is this pointer to minute 40 of the two-hour city council meeting on Oct 6, 2011, when discussion of agenda item F begins. That happens because the title of item F is Ashuelot River (West Street) Dam (onlinetag: weststdamkeene) – Department of Public Works.

This makes me very happy! The City explains:

The City of Keene has embarked on a new online initiative to streamline information sharing with the citizens of Keene. The City will be “tagging” certain projects or initiatives that have generated a significant amount of community interest. This initiative will be a collaborative effort with the Keene Sentinel, which will be applying the same tag to their articles. The tag assigned by the City can be used to search all online content associated with the item through the search engine of your choice.

And it adds:

As you collaborate with others online to discuss City projects, you are welcome to tag your posts, emails, articles, etc. with the same tags. For example, if you belong to a Keene neighborhood group, and you have information to share regarding the West Street Dam project on the group’s Facebook page, make sure to include “weststdamkeene” in your post. Your post will then appear in a Web search alongside City and Sentinel tagged content.

If others follow that advice and join in, my happiness will increase.


1 Cliff Gerrish’s poetic response to Awakened Grains of Sand also made me very happy.