Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Wikipedia I

TL;DR -- About the Wikipedia page(s) which need some attention.  


One of the first things that we did back in 2010 was start the Wikipedia page for Thomas Gardner (planter). To be exact, this is the first issue of the page on 10 Jan 2010. 

1st page - Thomas Gardner (planter)

It was short and quoted Dr. Frank. As well, we updated pages for Gloucester, Cape Ann and the Dorchester Company to reflect the existence of Thomas Gardner. And, of course, we mentioned John Lowell and Isabella Stewart Gardner. Since then, there have been lots of updates. We have created several supportive pages, such as Great House (Cape Ann)

We actually started this work in 2009, on ancestry. Later, a DAR Registrar mentioned the problems with that approach, so we started our own approach which needs some attention (having millions of bits of data). But, we'll start with Wikipedia which will be updated this month to be more in agreement with the Wikipedia requirements. For instance, some of our work was new though the web was full of stuff. Lots of the resources did not meet standards, even Dr. Frank's book. So, we will shift to using Anderson's look at the Great Migration, with updates. 

For our work here, we decided to use WikiTree since it uses the Wiki paradigm. Note some of the benefits of that in the image. We have been slowly editing the pages for Thomas and Margaret on WikiTree, after establishing our credentials via work at that site. We will be going into more detail this year.  

About Wikipedia, from the beginning, it stood out on the web. There is a lot that could be discussed, but, for most subjects, Wikipedia offered a perfect summary overview, many times written by experts. It's the first choice for our work, here, in most cases, even if we pick it off of the Google offerings after a search. With respect to technology and knowledge (that order, by choice), Wikipedia represents a worldview that is essential. Lots to discuss with regard to this.  

Early on, many academics argued against the approach for many reasons. One of these was the open edit which allows 'graffiti' of various natures, but that can be controlled. Too, lots of opinion has been expressed on the site. But, over the past decade, concerted effort with regard to reviews and such has paid off. 

With respect to changes, we will use CA Anderson's work with updates. Some of these have already been suggested on WikiTree to the Great Migration Project team who has demonstrated an approach that is sorely needed given the free-flow of fluff that one finds on ancestry and the like. 

We will be getting back to ancestry, somewhat using it as a means of demonstration to support the work that will be the focus of our portal (TGSoc.org). 2021 will have a heavy technical focus. As we move along, some requirements will become more in amenable to discussions about tasks. Right now, we are thinking of GitHub as a means for providing a project overview. There are other options. 

Those are configuration issues. Content will continue to grow in size and scope. For instance, one example of many deals with the descendants which has common interest. On WikiTree, all of the children have been represented. Some more sparsely than other. But, that work has to be done by Thomas Gardner descendant who care about the quality of the data. As we mentioned before, one tactic will be to reflect across DAR's view. To the rebellion, we're talking 250 years. Then, we have 150 years to cover before that. 

Now, there has been work done for over two centuries on these subjects. We want to have a bibliographic that is as inclusive as we can make it. We already started that. For instance, thank Rev. Hubbard for making the first reference to Thomas; had Rev Hubbard's manuscript (from 1680) been lost, we would be really deficit. On the computer, work started way before the internet was let loose by DARPA who is finally realizing some mistakes and thinking of the need for a 100-year outlook. 

Want an example? The B52 which is still flying (designed in the 50s). So, we had pre-web stuff. Then, the web stuff can be seen by its generation. We want to map that out. And, we will pull information that can be supported into a common view where WikiTree is only a part. After all, that graphic mode of ancestry does not make for a proper presentation that will survive across decades. 

Now, with respect to that, we might not see some of this come about, but we sure can set up the framework for continued work. If you look in this blog, you'll see our reference to the dude who spent his career at the Library of Congress and did genealogy on the side. When he died, there was some issue about how to support the continuation of the work and site. Fortunately, the NEHGS picked this up. BTW, we just has a post last month on CA Flagg who was at the LoC in the time of Dr. Frank and who contributed to The Massachusetts Magazine and a lot more. 

Remarks: Modified: 01/19/2021

01/19/2021 -- Followed this look with an update from two weeks later, 31 Jan 2020.

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