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"Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past


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#1 D Letouzey

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 01:52 PM

"Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past"
An excellent paper from Roy Rosenzweig* (CHNM (centre for History and New Media, George Mason U).
Worth reading, and maybe discussing.
http://chnm.gmu.edu/...ces/essays/d/42

*RR has also written "Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web" (with Daniel J Cohen)

The first part recalls the Wikipedia 's success story, which challenges the authority of the professional historians.

The second tries to determine the accuracy of Wikipedia : he compares entries in Wikipedia with Microsoft's online resource Encarta and American National Biography Online (read his comment on the Lincoln entry).

The third one discusses the historians' implications :
Should those who write history for a living join such popular history makers in writing history in Wikipedia? My own tentative answer is YES".

"Can the wiki way foster the collaborative creation of historical knowledge?" YES

"If the Internet and the notion of commons-based peer production provide intriguing opportunities for mobilizing volunteer historical enthusiasm to produce a massive digital archive, what about mobilizing and coordinating the work of professional historians in that fashion?"

"Could we, for example, write a collaborative U.S. history textbook that would be free to all our students?"

"Still, Wikipedia and Linux show that there are alternative models to producing encyclopedias and software than the hierarchical, commercial model represented by Bill Gates and Microsoft".

How far do you use it with your students ?
Do you collaborate to the English version ?

a comment in French : http://clioweb.free....bats/wikirr.htm
Daniel

Edited by D Letouzey, 17 August 2006 - 04:59 PM.


#2 donald cumming

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 01:42 PM

Wikis are great, but being so text based are they really the way textbooks will go? They are certainly a very interesting development for referring to, but they are pretty traditional in their presentation.


As for 'proper' Historians getting involved - absolutely! Also wouldn't it be a fantastic bit of under/postgraduate research to check and improve a wiki on their specialist subject?!

Share the wealth I say!

#3 DAJ Belshaw

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 02:26 PM

Thanks for the link, Daniel. I haven't read it yet but just a quick comment about professional historians and wikis. Seeing as the way these people make their living is it likely that they're going to share their knowledge for free? In an ideal society, yes. In the hard-nose, capitalist, commercial world I'm afraid it's a no. :(

Doug :hehe:

#4 D Letouzey

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 07:28 PM

3 short comments :

wouldn't it be a fantastic bit of under/postgraduate research to check and improve a wiki on their specialist subject?!

Donald,
That should be a good way to motivate some students, and a mean to share our knowledge and give more place to discussion. In our education, we are often working as if we had to rediscover how to ligth a fire each year...

Wikis are great, but being so text based

Again, you are right.
But look at this forum : with words, we can say so much...

http://education.fra...ne/accueil.html
Take a quick look at this flash website.
I am not sure the graphic is more effective than a simple text.

is it likely that they're going to share their knowledge for free

Complex question, Doug.
I know you have to pay a lot to attend a conference (but not a Schoolhistory seminar online ;) ).
In France, if a conference is held near your place, and you have some spare time, you can go.
Even more, for this one about the Franco-algerian history, in Lyon last june, you can still watch the videos online.
In my messages, I usually write summaries for my colleagues.

So there is a place for sharing on Internet...

Daniel

Edited by D Letouzey, 19 August 2006 - 07:29 PM.





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