Submissions/The Great War and Wikipedia

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This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission

The Great War and Wikipedia

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)

Presentation & workshop

Author of the submission

Chris Keating

E-mail address

chris dot keating at wikimedia dot org dot uk


The Land (talk)

Country of origin

United Kingdom

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikimedia UK

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

In July 2014, many countries around the world will begin the commemoration of the centenary World War One. This immense conflict, which is just passing from living memory, poses both an opportunity and a challenge for the Wikimedia movement.

First, the opportunity. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, students, and journalists worldwide will make Wikipedia the starting-point for homework, assignments, or reports. Hundreds of thousands more people will use it to research their family histories. And furthermore, dozens upon dozens of museums, archives and other institutions are already asking themselves the question "What are we doing for the centenary of World War I?" - this is a question that we can help them answer!

Now the challenges.

Firstly, the huge impact the Great War had means that it is seen through the lens of dozens of competing national myths, and these myths can sometimes overpower the academic historiography of the period. (In British schools, the War is often taught through war poems in English Literature classes, rather than in history lessons!) It is particularly difficult to get a global point of view. How can we overcome this?

Secondly, while military history is well-represented on many of our projects, there is still a bias towards recentism - World War II tends to be better-covered than World War I, perhaps because it is more recent, or more dynamic, or contained more of the ships, tanks and aircraft that in turn constitute a disproportionate fraction of our military history coverage. How can we inspire the community to overcome this?

Thirdly, the great number and range of institutions which will commemorate World War I is itself a challenge. To make the most out of this opportunity we will need to work with partners large and small, across national boundaries, in what has the potential to be an enduring and important part of our GLAM outreach work.

This presentation will briefly cover the opportunity, the challenges, and the work that Wikimedia UK is beginning with several of its partners to bring this together. I also hope it will serve as a focal point for military history editors, GLAM outreach volunteers and others to come together and start to make the most of this once-in-a-century opportunity.

  • GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums)

Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
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Slides or further information (optional)
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  1. Looking forward to it! Says the WWI historian/Wikipedian. HstryQT (talk) 19:19, 8 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Carolmooredc (talk) 20:18, 16 March 2012 (UTC) After 100 years may more truth come out!Reply[reply]
  3. Also interested in this, as someone fascinated by WW1 SarahStierch (talk) 22:50, 21 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. CT Cooper · talk 19:49, 22 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. Add your username here.