Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Historians contributing to Wikipedia

Ralph Luker, Historians and Wikipedia, Cliopatria, August 2, 2007.  (Thanks to Karen Winkler.)  Excerpt:

Whatever its flaws, Wikipedia has become a significant influence in history education. Some of our colleagues have determined to improve it with their own contributions. Here are some instances in which they have assumed significant responsibility for their fields:

Here, in alphabetical order, from Ancient Egypt to West Virginia, are over 30 other specialized history Wikiprojects, with lists of their contributors. There are, obviously, many gaps -- fields that are not covered. Think of them as opportunities.

Comment.  I applaud this.  I stand by the recommendation I made in a SOAN article from July 2005:

If you're an expert on a certain topic, then make sure that Wikipedia includes the fruits of your expertise….You may not have a high opinion of Wikipedia, but there are two reasons not to let that stop you.  First, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If experts add or enhance articles to reflect their expertise, then Wikipedia will deserve respect to that extent.  Second, Wikipedia is an increasingly common first stop, and probably last stop, for non-academic users looking for information.  If you want to be visible to non-academic users, then it's an eyeball destination that you can easily join.  (…Don't give up your standards, but don't judge this resource from mere presumptions without firsthand knowledge.)