December 14, 2005

Mitch Kapor on Wikipedia

Here's a link to a talk given by Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation, at Berkeley on the Wikipedia. These days, Kapor is the President of the Open Source Applications Foundation.

Posted by mills at 07:42 PM

December 12, 2005

CNN Wikipedia story.

CNN has a story about the guy that wrote the fake bio. I thought this bit was interesting.

"Chase said he didn't know the free Internet encyclopedia called Wikipedia was used as a serious reference tool."

It certainly doesn't inspire much confidence regardless of the other article we read examining its accuracy.


Posted by kknoerl at 08:44 AM

December 07, 2005

Old news perhaps but still interesting...Wikipedia

Online encyclopedia tightens rules following false article

Posted by kknoerl at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2005

Matt's Wikipedia Entry

Sorry I missed you guys at Molly Malone's. I got Kurt's e-mail with the location, but it was a little late for me to drive from Fairfax. I also forgot that I had to pick up my dog from the boarder's this afternoon after work - he's been there since Thanksgiving, and I just couldn't leave him alone another night.

But to make good use of my time, I made my first Wikipedia entry.

Working within my theme for my project proposal, I checked out the Wikipedia entry for Degenerate Art, the English translation of the German Entartete Kunst. The entry is useful, if a bit scattered, and more focus could be placed in the actual Munich exhibition of 1937. I'll probably make those additions whiles procrastinating in Clio II next term.

I did complete the list of artists exhibited at the show. Prior to my edits, there were only a dozen artists listed. Using my resources, I completed the list with the name of every artist who had at least one work in the Entartete Kunst show.

Posted by mhobbs at 09:01 PM | Comments (1)

Miles's Wiki

I edited an existing article about Samuel Armstrong. You can read my edit at I'll add some thoughts later, but now I have to rush to the meeting! See you soon.

Posted by miles at 03:29 PM

Wiki Tai

See my Wiki posting Thomas L. McKenney

I was actually shocked at how easy it was to contribute to Wiki. I have a great picture I wanted to upload of His Hotness - Mr. McKenney, but then I felt marginally guilty about the fact that it may or may not be legal for me to do so. I didn’t figure out the bulleting some of you used. Now I’m going to give a shout out to Ammon because you were my inspiration on the format of the posting.

Posted by tgerhart at 03:15 PM

Suzanne's Wiki Experience

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in Arlington in a few hours. I did it! I created an account for myself in Wikipedia, and I added to the Further Readings section of the Great Awakening entry in less than 30 minutes. There were only 3 or 4 readings, so you can see what I added at

I'v added a few thoughts about Wiki and the article in my entry

If technically challenged people such as myself can edit wiki, does that make it too easy? This goes hand in hand with the question, if anyone with any level of expertise can edit wiki, does that make it a reliable source? Certainly, the students out there are using it. Every teenager I polled (not too many yet) said they use wiki and trust its information. They understand that they too could add or edit wiki, but they trust that "people who know what they're talking about" are writing the entries.

The article brings out very good points, both pro and con, for this implicit trust placed in wiki. At any given time, students could look at dates for the French and Indian War and instead of the accurate date they could find the 'trick date' placed by a professional historian testing wiki. Or they could quickly find the accurate information they need and move on. They might even read more or click on links to learn more.

I agree with the idea that more professionals, historians, scientists, writers, etc. should consider adding or editing their area of expertise in wiki. I'm a teacher so I believe in sharing your knowledge with the world. I also think students should be taught to think critically about wiki and challenged to search for the accuracy of the information. Not many will on their own, but what a great object lesson to put inaccurate information along with accurate information and challenge students to decide which is which.

I've only used or visited the site a couple times before this assignment (another thing I've learned and become comfortable with on the web), but wiki is another example of the student's use of the web NOT going away. Teachers and professional historians can find ways to use it effectively or ignore it, but it's not going away. Given my lack of experience with wiki, I was really nervous with the idea of adding to or editing an entry, but thanks to Nona, I realized I could start small with contributing to the Further Readings section hopefully without rocking anybody's boat.

See you soon

Posted by scarson1 at 12:48 PM

Wiki Das Boot--Scott

OK, another new experience for this "old dog." Glad to know I can learn at least one new trick: U-550

After spending a couple of hours exploring the site and another hour figuring out how to edit pages and then how to create new pages, I did it! My Wiki account name is 1999screamingchicken

Had trouble navigating the site this weekend over my dial-up connection so I waited to post my entry until this morning and it's now up and running. I thought I'd better write about a subject that I am more than just familiar with and what better than U-boats! I've written a number of articles on U-boats that the Coast Guard sank and after checking the entries I noticed that no one had written anything about the U-550. First I edited the page on the U-863 which we are currently working on at the office since it was recently discovered in a place that no U-boat wreck was supposed to be. Writing the entry was fairly easy, I just condensed an article I had written. Would have kept it more simple but the "how to" section under FAQs suggested that a few paragraphs are better than just one, so what the heck. I linked it to the "List of U-boats" page where I hope it will get noticed. I'll add more links this afternoon and maybe even post a photograph. Overall it was fairly easy to work with once I figured out how to move through all the different processes one could take to publish a new page. Reading directions did help; started with the "Help:Starting a new page" page at and went from there. Not sure on the translations though, does Wiki use a special language? There was a section on converting Word docs and HTML too. Hmmm, that will take some more research on my part. Overall a fairly rewarding experience. It hasn't been up long enough for me to judge what kind of responses I've received but as soon as I do I'll add them to the blog.

OK, it's now been up for over 24 hours and no one else has edited it in any way; after reading Rosenzweig's article I expected to get jumped on by all of the U-boat nuts that are out there. Could it be that I wrote the perfect entry?? Naah.

Thursday, 1 December in the a.m. and no one has added anything or edited my piece. Guess it wasn't too bad. Re-read Roy's article again, he really did a balanced job I thought. Interesting to think that it took a multi-millionaire to get Wiki started. He did not, in my opinion, create a Frankenstein. How do you define history? However you answer that question will show what you think of Wiki.

As I read Roy's article the first time I realized that most of the material we've read in this class relates to the academic historian and how his/her ability to teach will be affected by the web; public historians don't seem to be wringing their hands with worry over this whole issue. Students today live on-line; get over it. Wiki, I thought, once again, would make a good starting point in anyone's research. As he noted, the entries got the facts "right." Move on to more in-depth research from there. My Wiki entry gives a good overview over the "history" of the U-550 but is nothing close to the final word. Also, Wiki's weird, but perhaps necessary caveat of not allowing original research or polemics in the entries definetly limits its usefulness to academic-professional historians. But so what? Should academic-professional historian's contribute? Why not--individual choice.

What I see here is "history" moving into the marketplace -- and it really makes the academics nervous, but the public historians aren't so worried. Why? We live in the marketplace well away from an ivory tower. Being a Fed though is something of a cushion but even we are subject to the "political market." For example, cutting the size of the federal workforce under Clinton affected most Federal historians.

Whatever we, as students or professional historians, believe doesn't really matter. The market, that dreaded fact of life, will ultimately decide what happens with Wiki. Look what happened with open-source Linux, any inroads to Microsoft's market share?

Love the comment by the Ph.D. student who writes for Wiki, he does it to improve his skills in writing to a general audience. Good attitude.

Posted by sprice7 at 12:01 PM

Wiki - Ammon

I started out not quite knowing what to do. So in true hypertext fashion, I bounced around from link to link until I found a link to a person with no entry. I created a brand new entry for that person. It's not much, information wise.

Karl G. Maeser

Posted by ashephe1 at 11:17 AM

Liz on Wiki

Seeing how the Bears are atop the NFC North (yay!), I decided to do some research on Chicago football teams, past and present.

The history of the Chicago Tigers was a bit too brief. I added the roster, end-of-season stats, and the list of teams of that season (adding the links). There is little on the American Professional Football Association.

The table was the worst part--the stats kept going in the wrong columns. I eventually fixed it.

Posted by ejonese at 08:06 AM | Comments (1)

Maureen's Comments on Wikipedia:

Maureen’s Comments on Wikipedia:

Somewhere along the line I missed out on Wikipedia and this week’s project was a unique experience. It was fun to re-edit the links about the Woking mosque’s connection to the Begum(s) of Bhopal and I found it an extremely easy process to add to the original entries. If I can do this, ANYONE can. And, once I realized how easy it was, I had equally interesting time thinking about how Wikipedia has created a site that could be both the worst and the best thing for teachers who want their students to seek out and research primary sources.

History and art history teachers expect their students to do their own research and to use primary sources. Obviously, as Roy Rosenzweig notes, this is not going to happen on the Wikipedia site and we need to consider how that challenges conventional historical research. In one of our earlier readings, Vernon Takeshita expressed his concerns about how consistent use of the Internet would “undermine…analytical thinking” of young students who do not seek out primary sources.

Takeshita’s ‘Web-phobia’ has been thoroughly challenged in our class discussions and through our continuing examination of, and research into, digital scholarship. Obviously, the Internet does provide web sites that challenge and educate students in history as well as in other academic pursuits. As we have clearly seen, sites like “Who Killed Willie Robertson” create opportunities for students to use primary source documents as evidence in order to try to solve problems.

However, Wikipedia does not provide primary source documents and, instead, it becomes a site of what Rosenzweig calls “reasonably accurate accounts” of important people, places and things. Is ‘reasonably accurate’ a good enough source? According to Rosenzweig, Wikipedia does a more than adequate job of providing accurate information. In fact, he argues that it is ‘surprisingly reliable’ in its American biographies. Thus, it could be an easily accessible site for students to do a quick paper on an artist without reading a biography or looking at works of art in order to understand that artist’s legacy. This could be a problem but the beauty of Wikipedia is that it also provides an incredible teaching tool for teachers and students.

The site’s ability to allow anyone to edit entries or to write new ones provides an opportunity for students to add on to existing entries on famous people, places or things, or to write an entirely new entry. And, in order to do either of these, students will have to have some knowledge in order to write an entry that will be retained on the site. Thus, it becomes possible for teachers to use Wikipedia as a scholarly site. Students can look for the ‘amateurish’ sites that need to improved upon or follow their own interests and create a new entry or edit an existing one. However, students would need to learn how to research, hopefully with primary sources documents, in order to create an entry that would stand the test of time, peer review by others.

Since the Web is not going to disappear, we need to make sure that what we do have and what students are using on the Web can be used to their advantage in learning as well as to our advantage in teaching. Wikipedia is a site that provides some interesting ways to make students think about history and how it is written and we need to use it to their advantage as well as ours.

Posted by mguignon at 12:07 AM | Comments (2)

November 27, 2005

amanda's wiki wacky

I have no problem with Wikipedia as a possible source. I check each source I use from the web for authenticity anyhow. I think it would be a problem for users with no research experience who take for granted everything that is posted. While I think the provider of the info should try to be certain what they post is accurate, at some point it is the vistor has to take responsibility for authenticating the information. It was fun trying to find a subject that had not been covered. I was surprised at how well some of the entries were written and cited.
I wrote about Gottfried Lindauer, a New Zealand artist who had rocked my world since I was a little kid. We lived in New Zealand for a while when I was small and Dad was building ships. It was easy to write about because I am so excited about his work. I am also interested and excited about Maori history, a lot of which I learned from studying the paintings. Lindauer is an important artist for the Maori and the history of New Zealand, so I was surprised that he wasn't already covered.
The Wiki format was pretty easy after learning this blog thing so away I went. I tried to present a "reasonable accurate account" as Roy would put it, of Lindauer and the thrust of his paintings.
I was even able to link some websites so people can see the artwork I am referring to. (that's amazing for me, an internet neophyte) I think art is one of the most important things in human life. It is one of the only things that truly seperates us from animals. see some beautiful art and let me know what you think of my entry @
here's some helpful visual links

Posted by avonargy at 09:39 PM | Comments (3)

Wiki Slanguage

I searched Wikipedia's "article request" for a topic I might know something about and found a request for "see a man about a horse." Having done some research in Slang (and making a digital project on it), I figured this was something I could do:

See A Man About a Horse

P.S. I really dislike Wiki's coding system.

Posted by mhess3 at 09:20 PM | Comments (1)

Debbie's Wiki edit on James Armistead Lafayette

My wiki edit is on James Armistead Lafayette. I was going to do a couple of others but this took hours by the time I checked my research and figured out how to make external links. The links still don't look great but they work and at least the information is accurate and I was able to add a redirect for James Armistead Lafayette to James Armistead. I think if the editing process was easier the quality of entries would hopefully improve. See you all tomorrow. Debbie

Posted by dschaef1 at 08:42 PM

Maureen's Wikipedia Entry:

I edited two Wikipedia entries; one on Woking (England) and the other on Sultan Shah Jehan, Begum of Bhopal. My entries clarified that:

Shah Jehan was the Begum of Bhopal from 1868 to 1901 and she commissioned the Mosque in Woking, England. She was one of four female Muslim rulers in Bhopal who reigned for over a century between 1819 to 1926.


Posted by mguignon at 07:49 PM

November 25, 2005

nona's wiki response and post

Response to article:
The article set out to answer quite a few questions. The ones I was most interested in reading the answer too were:

I agree with the author that the “less sophisticated reader” may not know the difference between an ill-informed amateurish article and a polished one.(18)
There is where I think the danger lies. If that same less sophisticated reader went to Encarta with its same propensity for errors and wooden text, they would not happen across that amateur ill informed article. Just a thought, I do not condemn the whole venture because of that concern.
I also agree with his assessment of encyclopedic entries. Anytime any encyclopedic entry that serves as one's sole source, it is not a good thing (22). But Wikipedia can not be blamed because it belongs to this category of reference material.

I was not aware of the discussion page that accompanies each entry. I agree with the author that it is in the line of collaboration and peer review.

I tentatively disagree with the author’s tentative statement that historian’s probably have a professional obligation to make Wikipedia as good as possible.(25) I think that no such obligation exists. That said, when I come across articles on subjects that I am interested in or that are in my area of expertise, I will probably read them very carefully and edit accordingly and in that aspect I will be very much like any other Wikipedia user. I will also, as a teacher, instruct my students that like any other encyclopedic source, this may be only a starting point for their research and corroboration and verification is expected. That I feel is the extent of my obligation to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Edit:
I added to the entry on the Bahamas a section called: Bahamian History Resources.

Posted by nmartina at 05:08 PM

November 23, 2005

Amy's Wiki article response

Here are some of my initial thoughts on Wiki and our Wiki reading before the holiday (and the sleeping pill known as turkey!!) set in. To anyone on the blog before/during the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!! Amy

I must admit: I just don’t “get” Wikipedia. I understand that it’s an online, user-edited encyclopedia and all that, I just do not understand the allure, or why someone would spend six hours a day writing articles for it (as the art historian from the article did). As such, I do not understand how Wikipedia is blooming the way it is. I am either out of the loop, not with the times, etc. or Wikipedia really is not representing such a wide body of users as it could be thought to be.

Though the article did not set out to explain the “why” question, I was able to draw a few reasons, none of which surprised me. As we have discussed in class, the free stuff quotient is high with Wiki and it’s a perfect tool for free and easy access to information (and some additions and corrections if you have them). This, though, does not explain the 52% of edits that are produced by the users who make 100+ edits per month (p. 20). Perhaps these kinds of figures can be explained by the fact that people want to make their work public and/or contribute to public Internet community. However, the above figure and others like it point to a commitment to these practices rather than a passing interest in “the new thing.” I don’t find this medium of digital history particularly threatening, I just must be missing something.

More to the point of Wiki and historical scholarship, however, I find the idea of Wiki as “the first draft of history” (p. 20) quite an intriguing one. Beyond the writing allusions, I think we could see in Wiki trends of historical interest from outside the world of the university; ideas that could indeed lead to the formation of new fields of interdisciplinary study. Wiki lends itself particularly well to interdisciplinary study by encouraging (though the technology of linking) relationships across seemingly unrelated topics. A Wiki user’s lack of “a command of the scholarly literature, [and] persuasive analysis and interpretations…” (p. 15) may be helpful in pointing out fresh ways to study various topics (an “organic intellectual” perhaps?)

Or not. Or the bland and/or disjointed Wiki prose could disguise any creative approach, leaving Wiki a collection of random, colorful facts. Given the growth of Wiki thus far, Wiki and the state of digital historical scholarship via Wiki in the future are uncertain. For my part at least, maybe I can finally make some sense of it to determine its appeal and then report back.

Posted by alechne1 at 08:45 PM

November 22, 2005

I edited an entry on...what else? Underwater Archaeology

I was fairly surprised by how poorly the maritime archaeology section was written. I didn't rewrite the whole thing(though some day I might in all my spare time)but just corrected a couple of factual errors regarding how underwater sites are different from land sites.

They only listed two, one of which was inaccurate. So I just corrected the one and because of that change added a third. There is a lot more of course that could be written but I thought this would do for now.

First they suggested that underwater sites had two "advantages" over land sites in that organic materials such as wood or leather could be better preserved. Second they said that because shipwrecks have been out of reach until relatively recently this made them time capsules.

My input was to change "advantages" to "differences" because the same process can also cause faster deterioration or organic materials. Organisms such as the toredo worm found in salt water environments quickly eat wood fibers and often result in the complete destruction of any wood exposed not buried in bottom sediments. The second change deals with the time capsule comment. Inaccessibility does not make a wreck a time capsule. It does, or did until the advent of scuba gear, help preserve wrecks from looting. I then added a third difference by describing that shipwrecks are often described as time capsules because the wrecking event is a frozen moment of time (hence a time capsule) unlike a land site which more often represents a slow accumulation of debris over a period of years.

Actually their whole breakdown of differences between Maritime, Underwater, and Nautical archaeology is a bit confused but fixing that is a much larger project. For now let me just say that maritime and nautical archaeology don't necessarily have to take place underwater while not all underwater archaeology involves shipwrecks or even maritime activities.

Creating an account was easy and clicking on the "edit this page" tab made the process pretty quick. If you want to see the changes go to this page:
My user name is Muak.

Posted by kknoerl at 08:33 PM