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Wikipedia - the endless palimpsest
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Wikipedia - the endless palimpsest



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  • 2. who? Dictionary of Sydney Wikimedia Australia UNSW History honours
  • 3. Doctor: “It hurts when I do this...” Flight Attendant: “I went on holidays last year...” Wikipedian: “I found a mistake in an article...”
  • 4. Palimpsest? The palimpsest is that most unusual of sources as it shows not only what was retained but also what was considered unworthy of retention. What was once discarded can be reclaimed.
  • 5. Double palimpsest Hyper-palimpsest (novgorod) Infinite palimpsest.
  • 6. People always say to me: “I read Wikipedia articles...
  • 7. ...but you don’t actually use them, do you?”
  • 8. “Using” Wikipedia Read it Cite it Edit it For Primary Research...
  • 9. There is an increasing literature about how to use Wikipedia in the classroom and also the specific circumstances when you could legitimately cite its articles. This presentation talks about Wikipedia as an historical record in its own right and therefore how it might be legitimately used as a primary source. It is the most controversial of the “four uses”.
  • 10. Three Pillars Neutral Point of View (NPOV) Verifiability (V) No Original Research (NOR)
  • 11. Without these three pillars, Wikipedia would not be of any use to historical research. With them, Wikipedia is a compendium of information - created by the world in real time - of primary history.
  • 12. Where does the historian start?
  • 13. “Prolific by unmediated, powerful but untamed, open to all but taken seriously by few.” - Dan Cohen, History and the Second Decade of the Web, 2004 (Speaking about the internet in general but especially applicable to Wikipedia)
  • 14. 4 Primary History Uses of WP Articles Paratexts Discussions Popularity
  • 15. Digital Archaeology Given an sufficient amount of server space and the commitment to maintain it, a resource already exists that may not only sound the death knell of archaeology but also the opportunity to enable a greater depth and sophistication of anthropology than has ever existed before. So radical an innovation would this new anthropological methodology represent that it deserves its own name. Call it Wikipediology. - Andrew Updergrove, The Wikipedia and the death of archaeology 2006
  • 16. ARTICLES
  • 17. Arthur Conan Doyle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Help us provide free content to the world by donating today! Log in / create account article discussion edit this page history Arthur Conan Doyle From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, DL (22 May 1859 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 7 July 1930) was a British author most noted for his navigation stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are Main page generally considered a major innovation in the field of Contents crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Featured content Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works Current events Random article include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays and romances, poetry, and non-fiction. search Contents [hide] 1 Life 2 Death interaction 3 Bibliography About Wikipedia 3.1 Holmes books Community portal 3.2 Challenger stories Recent changes 3.3 Historical novels Contact Wikipedia 3.4 Other works Donate to Wikipedia 4 See also Help Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 5 Notes and references toolbox 6 External links Born 22 May 1859 Edinburgh, Scotland What links here Related changes Died 7 July 1930 (aged 71) Upload file Crowborough, East Sussex Special pages Life [edit] Occupation Novelist, short story writer, poet, Printable version doctor of medicine Permanent link Arthur Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland, to an English father of Irish descent, Nationality British Cite this page Charles Altamont Doyle, and an Irish mother, née Mary Genres Detective fiction, historical languages Foley, who had married in 1855. [1] Although he is now novels, non-fiction Afrikaans referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound Notable stories of Sherlock Holmes surname is uncertain. [2] Conan Doyle's father was a work(s) The Lost World !"#$%&'(&) chronic alcoholic, and was the only member of his family Influences [show] who, apart from fathering a brilliant son, never Bân-lâm-gú accomplished anything of note [citation needed] . Influenced [show] Bosanski Brezhoneg Conan Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit Signature *+,-./012 preparatory school Hodder Place, Stonyhurst, at the age of Català nine. He then went on to Stonyhurst College, but by the Cebuano time he left the school in 1875, he had rejected Christianity to become an agnostic. 3456' From 1876 to 1881, he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, including a period working in Cymraeg Dansk the town of Aston (now a district of Birmingham) and in Sheffield [3] . While studying, he also began Deutsch writing short stories; his first published story appeared in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal before he was Eesti 20. [4] Following his term at university, he served as a ship's doctor on a voyage to the West African 7889:;<= coast. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885. [5] Español
  • 18. Revision history of Arthur Conan Doyle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia You can support Wikipedia by making a tax-deductible donation. Log in / create account article discussion edit this page history Revision history of Arthur Conan Doyle From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia View logs for this page Browse history navigation Main page From year (and earlier): From month (and earlier): all Tag filter: Contents Featured content Current events Random article (latest | earliest) View (newer 50) (older 50) (20 | 50 | 100 | 250 | 500) For any version listed below, click on its date to view it. search For more help, see Help:Page history and Help:Edit summary. External tools: Revision history statistics · Revision history search · Page view statistics (cur) = difference from current version, (prev) = difference from preceding version, interaction m = minor edit!"#"$"section edit!"%"$"automatic edit summary About Wikipedia Community portal (cur) (prev) 04:55, 30 June 2009 RibotBOT (talk | contribs) m (26,529 bytes) (robot Recent changes Modifying: "#$%&'(')*&+,-.)/0120) (undo) Contact Wikipedia (cur) (prev) 18:14, 25 June 2009 VolkovBot (talk | contribs) m (26,529 bytes) (robot Donate to Wikipedia Modifying: "#$*&+,-.)%&'(')/0120) (undo) Help (cur) (prev) 13:56, 22 June 2009 (talk) (26,528 bytes) (!Life) (undo) toolbox (cur) (prev) 13:54, 22 June 2009 (talk) (26,593 bytes) (!Life) (undo) What links here Related changes (cur) (prev) 13:37, 22 June 2009 Alansohn (talk | contribs) m (26,528 bytes) (Reverted RSS Atom edits by to last revision by Alansohn (HG)) (undo) Upload file (cur) (prev) 13:37, 22 June 2009 (talk) (26,526 bytes) (undo) Special pages (cur) (prev) 13:36, 22 June 2009 Alansohn (talk | contribs) m (26,528 bytes) (Reverted edits by to last revision by Deor (HG)) (undo) (cur) (prev) 13:35, 22 June 2009 (talk) (26,535 bytes) (undo) (cur) (prev) 23:06, 20 June 2009 Deor (talk | contribs) (26,528 bytes) (no—see (undo) (cur) (prev) 19:58, 20 June 2009 (talk) (26,766 bytes) (!Life: Added post regarding Conan Doyle's stay in San Francisco, CA) (undo) (cur) (prev) 17:07, 18 June 2009 Deor (talk | contribs) (26,528 bytes) (Undid revision 297192158 by (talk)) (undo) (cur) (prev) 17:06, 18 June 2009 (talk) (26,527 bytes) (!Life) (undo) (cur) (prev) 07:47, 17 June 2009 Timrollpickering (talk | contribs) m (26,528 bytes) (!Life: footnote link) (undo) (cur) (prev) 17:43, 15 June 2009 (talk) (26,526 bytes) (undo) (cur) (prev) 17:42, 15 June 2009 (talk) (26,527 bytes) (undo) (cur) (prev) 22:06, 14 June 2009 (talk) (26,545 bytes) (Minor geographic biog amend) (undo) (cur) (prev) 22:02, 14 June 2009 (talk) (26,458 bytes) (undo) (cur) (prev) 15:21, 13 June 2009 Ohconfucius (talk | contribs) (26,444 bytes) (ce, use dmy
  • 19. Everything is kept. Everything is available for analysis. And I mean everything.
  • 20. Long History “Australasia - natives” - Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1842 “Indigenous Australians” - Encyclopaedia Britannica, present. It is not the information in these EB articles which is interesting to historians. It is that they demonstrate the spirit of the age. As it is with EB, so too with WP.
  • 21. Short History Timelapse video of first 24 hours of WP article development: “July 2005 London Bombings” A minute by minute account of the public record of “interesting” events.
  • 23. Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Wikipedia is sustained by people like you. Please donate today. Log in / create account article discussion edit this page history Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy hyperlink From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia navigation The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy Main page began after twelve editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Contents Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish Featured content newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005. The Current events newspaper announced that this publication was an attempt to Random article contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self- censorship. search Danish Muslim organizations, who objected to the depictions, responded by holding public protests attempting to raise awareness of Jyllands-Posten's publication. Further examples of interaction the cartoons were soon reprinted in newspapers in more than About Wikipedia fifty other countries, further deepening the controversy. Community portal This led to protests across the Muslim world, some of which Recent changes escalated into violence with police firing on the crowds (resulting Contact Wikipedia in more than 100 deaths, altogether),[1] including setting fire to Donate to Wikipedia the Danish Embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, storming Help European buildings, and desecrating the Danish, Dutch, toolbox Norwegian and German flags in Gaza City. While a number of What links here Muslim leaders called for protesters to remain peaceful, other Related changes Muslim leaders across the globe, including Mahmoud al-Zahar of The controversial cartoons of Muhammad, as Upload file Hamas, issued death threats. [2][3] Various groups, primarily in they were first published in Jyllands-Posten in Special pages the Western world, responded by endorsing the Danish policies, September 2005 (English version ). The Printable version including "Buy Danish" campaigns and other displays of support. headline, "Muhammeds ansigt", means "The face Permanent link of Muhammad". Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the Cite this page controversy as Denmark's worst international crisis since World languages War II.[4] Alemannisch Some critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic or racist,[5] and argued that they are blasphemous to people of the Muslim faith, are intended to humiliate a Danish minority, or are a manifestation of ignorance Bosanski about the history of Western imperialism. !"#$% Supporters have said that the cartoons illustrated an important issue in a period of Islamic terrorism and that Article Cymraeg Dansk their publication is a legitimate exercise of the right of free speech, explicitly tied to the issue of self-censorship. Deutsch They claim that Muslims were not targeted in a discriminatory way since unflattering cartoons about other Español religions (or their leaders) are frequently printed. [6] They question whether some of the riots were spontaneous
  • 24. Of the associated discussion pages: I submit that this transcript is valuable in revealing exactly how a war of ideas is waged... As the primary article about the Muhammad cartoons evolved, there also arose behind the scenes a fierce debate over whether or not the cartoons themselves should be included and how they should be displayed. The transcript of the debate captures not only the ideas expressed by the many contributors and readers, but also the tenor of the debates, the pleas, the acts of vandalism, the argumentative styles, strategies, tactic and gambits. In other words, the transcript reveals how some contributors won the debate, how the others lost, and how each side treated the other. This transcript reveals the mechanics of the clash of civilizations. John Simmons, Iraq Museum International
  • 25. “Ordinary writings” This is unmediated debate* in the frame of describing topics for posterity. Wikipedia discussion pages are not for conversation but for planning and debating the best way to convey a topic. There is scarcity of analysis but an abundance of data. Historians, with new tools and methodologies, are needed to analyse this data. *digital divide notwithstanding
  • 27. Vandalism... “...from the philosophical and the poetic to the lewd and the obscene.” Rex Wallace, An Introduction to Wall Inscriptions from Pompeii and Herculaneum, 2005
  • 28. Their banality becomes their usefulness. What was once discarded becomes important, precisely because it was never meant to be kept. Spelling/grammar mistakes, marginalia, erasures...
  • 30. Quantitative, not just Qualitative How does the historian footnote the following statement: “In the lead-up to the 2008 US presidential elections, the choice of Joe Biden took no one by surprise but the choice of Sarah Palin took her from relative obscurity to become political phenomenon, instantly.”
  • 31. Absolute popularity
  • 32. Wikipedia article traffic statistics Wikipedia article traffic statistics Michael_Jackson has been viewed 12507214 times in 200906. This article ranked 142 in traffic on 6.3M 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 5.9M 5.0M 3.8M 2.5M 2.0M 1.4M 1.4M1.4M 1.3M 17.8k18.6k16.7k18.8k19.9k15.2k17.4k16.8k19.6k16.8k20.5k16.1k14.7k15.5k16.3k16.1k17.4k16.8k14.4k27.6k19.3k16.9k16.4k16.4k 0 0 Enter another wikipedia article title: English 200906
  • 33. Relative Popularity How does the historian footnote the following statement: “In the 2008 US Democratic party primaries, Barack Obama consistently dominated the popular interest of the population, at least those online.”
  • 35. Thank you