Monday, March 22, 2010

Historical Societies and #Wikipedia

Regularly, there are contacts between Wikipedians and historical societies. Often such societies are the custodians of historic material and, when asked nicely, they are often willing to share their material on Commons and their expertise on Wikipedia.

AWV - Archeologische Werkgroep Valkenburg

Many historical societies publish journals or maintain museums to showcase their field of study. Some are much smaller, like the one my father is a member off, he and his three colleagues have worked on several digs. Two of them have published about their archaeological work.

Making Wikipedians out of the people who make up historical societies can be problematic. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and consequently its content should provide an introduction. Historical societies research and publish about their field of interest but original research is anathema at Wikipedia.

The public interested in the publications of the AWV, my father's archaeological club, is limited but their material is of interest. One solution for the dilemma about cooperation would be to include their publications in Wikisource. It would be a big win for the historical societies because it raises the visibility of their work. With the illustrations in Commons, the pictures have ample annotation and they can be used wherever appropriate.

In a way, historical societies are very similar to GLAM, they have similar needs and, they offer us similar opportunities.
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