HOPAU Update: 11 November

This week Tony Naar produced an update for his colleagues at the the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) on the The History of the Paralympics in Australia project  in Wikiversity.

He noted that “one element of the project is the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia products to ‘crowd source’ articles about the Paralympic Movement in Australia” which can then feed into the history of the Movement being written by Murray Phillips.

Tony reports that this has involved the creation of a project The History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia in Wikiversity. The Wikiversity site is a living record of the project which can be updated by anyone at any time. You can sign up to join the discussion or can ask to receive regular updates. There is a project blog too (coordinated by Leigh Blackall). The idea is to create a record of the project and its development which can be used by anyone to develop their own project.

Tony adds:

  • Since we started this part of the project – about three months ago – project contributors have created more than 350 new Wikipedia articles relating to the Paralympic movement in Australia.
  • This includes an article about every Australian Paralympic medallist.
  • Most of these articles are known as “stubs”. That is, they are very brief articles that need to be expanded.
  • The article about Tim Matthews is an example of a stub about an Australian Paralympic athlete.
  • Expanding the stubs is one of the next steps in the project. This is already happening, and the article about Elizabeth Edmondson is an example of an expanded, more comprehensive article.
  • Expanding articles is a lot of work, as information in articles must be verifiable and references to sources are expected.
  • Photographs also help, and another aspect of the project is to scan and upload images under a Creative Commons licence which can be used in articles and in the history project more generally.
  •  These include images to which the APC has the rights, but which have no other commercial value to the APC.
  • These are uploaded into Wikimedia Commons – a media sharing database. So far, we have uploaded 94 images, mostly from the 1996 Paralympic Games. We are currently scanning images from the 1992 Games and more from 1996 and these will be uploaded in coming weeks.

In addition, Tony writes:

“Within the Wiki community, we are promoting the project by seeking recognition for the articles that are being created. One way of doing this is to create an interesting “hook” about an article and apply to have the hook included on the home page of Wikipedia in the “Did you know…” (DYK) section. This is a sought after achievement within the Wikipedia community and we have been successful with 10 DYKs  so far. The latest is a DYK about 1996 basketball gold medallist and 2004 Gliders coach Gerry Hewson.

Laura Hale – a member of the University of Canberra team which works with us on this project – has written a very interesting account of the Paralympic DYKs, including the page view stats for each article.

The athlete profile pages on the APC’s website have always been the most popular pages. Articles about athletes on Wikipedia have the potential to increase this exposure significantly.

Laura is working to have one of our articles accepted as a featured article on the Wikipedia main page. That is a high achievement within the Wikipedia community and requires a comprehensive article, fully referenced and supported by good images, about a notable person or event.

We are currently considering ways to increase the number of experienced Wikipedians who are working on Paralympic articles. One suggestion would also incorporate a Wikipedian creating articles about Australian medallists during the London Games.

To help create the Wikipedia articles, we are working to build a pool of editors with an interest in Paralympic sport. To that end, we have held training days recently in Perth and Brisbane and we now have well over a dozen people, either from the Paralympic community, or from the Wikipedia community, who are editing and contributing to articles. These include Paralympians such as Elizabeth Edmondson and Peter Marsh, friends and partners of Paralympians and people who have just somehow gotten involved.

In the near future, we are looking to do something a bit unique for Wikipedia – to add embedded video and audio into Paralympic articles and also to record the subjects of articles reading the article about themself. Sources of audio and video will include the National Library’s Paralympic oral history project and interviews conducted by Shaun Giles with the oral history interview subjects, as well as other video footage to which the APC has the rights.”

Photo Credits

Elizabeth Edmondson

Louise Sauvage

Peter Martin

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