Blogs > Cliopatria > Historians and Wikipedia

Aug 2, 2007 12:55 am

Historians and Wikipedia

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:

  • History of Science: Sage Ross and 80 other specialists in the field are contributing.
  • Military History: Over 600 amateur and professional specialists in many sub-fields are contributing.
  • Russian History: Marshall Poe and over 50 other specialists in the field are contributing.
  • 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.

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    Another Damned Medievalist - 8/2/2007

    I think part of it may be that the medievalists were in at the beginning and were gone by the time all the Wikipedia Projects started. Some of the medieval stuff is solid, but some is dire, not necessarily on the facts, but on the interpretations, which are often a good 30 years behind current thinking, with a smattering of ideas that haven't yet gained acceptance.

    Ralph E. Luker - 8/2/2007

    I'm sorry to hear that professional expertise seemed unwelcome among the medievalist contributors. There must be quite a contrast there with the History of Science and Russian History lists, where academics took the lead and shaped the exchanges.

    Another Damned Medievalist - 8/2/2007

    Looked through the MA group, and there are very few academics or specialists on the list. Some of the people have been working on the wikipedia for a while and are really sold contributers, but most of the professional medievalists bailed on Wikipedia long ago because their expertise was neither respected nor welcomed by a significant number of people with an interest in the MA. It's good to know that some of the people who did support the idea of expertise are still there, though.