Monday, September 18, 2006

more on Wikipedia

So, one of our assignments for this week was to surf Wikipedia for some entries that we may change or contribute to or add from scratch. I found several in my areas of colonial history that could use some work.

First, there is no "history" section for Northumberland County, Va. That is the county whose court records I used to write my master's thesis. I have several ideas for some history to add to the county's entry. From there, I went into some of the names of the major planters/justices that I surveyed in my thesis. None of their names appeared. This did not suprise me much, given that not many people outside 17th century Virginia history would recognize the names of John Mottrom (or Mottram), George Colclough, William Presly, and others. Heck, some colonial Virginia historians may not even know them either!

Then, I decided to search a little more broadly - like, the history of the state/colony of Virginia itself. At first, when I searched for Virginia, I saw very little information and I could not believe it! But, I discovered a hyperlink for "history of Virginia," and upon visiting there, I saw a much more detailed entry, making me vert happy!!

Also, I visited some Civil War sites (which I would consider my 2nd strongest area of American history and somewhat of a hobby, not an area I would ever pursue acadmically...mainly this is because of the oversaturation of historians in the sub-discipline, but that can wait for another post...) and noticed a lot of fairly detailed entries, which is not suprising given the interest in that area of American History. But, there are some mistakes and I will look into correcting some of them.

In the end, I saw more areas for creation than for addition or correction, I guess because of my area of specialty. That is good for me, I suppose...it gives me several areas to create or correct in search of my Digital Skills points (how do you earn 5 points is what I want to know? Could I ever do enough to get 5 vs 3??).

The only problem is that, when I tried to create an account, the page would not load! Is there something wrong with the site? Did it crash from overuse?? Given that I have never thought of messing with making an entry, to the folks who have, does this happen often with Wikipedia? I will try again later tonight or maybe tommorow because there was one aspect of Sir William Berkeley's entry that I could change very easily - adding my advisor's book to the reference section! I'm sure he would be eccstatic about it, maybe it will get him a couple of extra book sales!!

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