100wikidays 4 to 9

Gamescom 2011, World of WarCraft - Flickr - wuestenigel

The past five days have gone by very quickly, and although I am only a little over a week doing this challenge I have already started to dream about writing articles. Mostly it still centres around my worry that my articles will be flagged for deletion – or even worse, speedy deletion! This has yet to happen thankfully.

So far I think the Margaret Clarke article has been the most successful in Wikipedia terms. It has been visited a good amount and two of my fellow editors taking part in the challenge translated the article into Hebrew and Ukrainian. If that isn’t an endorsement of the article, I’m not sure what is. It did further highlight to me just how poor Harry Clarke’s article is, but I have yet to attack it, although I did quickly add a photograph of him from Commons.

Editing can be quite draining and I’m trying not to spend all my free time (or time I should be using for other activities!) editing. I do find myself editing, or researching for articles, by default. The minute I finish one day’s article, I identify what I’m going to do the next day and look around for references and resources. I’m not surprised that I have started to do this, as this is similar behaviour to gaming. Through all the computer games I have played over the years, I am a completionist, I have to reveal all the map, find all the extra hidden extras, unlock the most obscure achievements, or try to find the most rare accessories (the fact that this one in World of Warcraft eluded me still bothers me). So the fact that I have given myself a list to complete and an achievement to “unlock”, this behaviour should not be a surprise.

I have begun to alternate the content on different days, swapping between buildings and biographies, mostly to vary what I am covering and so it doesn’t get too repetitive. Being from Carlow and having many fond memories of the old museum meant that the Carlow County Museum was bound to be on my list. As I spent so much time there as a child, I did briefly worry about Conflict of Interest, but it was a little ridiculous. Yes, about 15 or 20 years ago, I spent a lot of time there, but I don’t gain anything from the article’s existence, other than a sense of satisfaction and home-town pride of course. I even had a photograph to add from a trip I took there with the Irish Museums Association a while back, which added to the level of satisfaction!

Alexander Carte is someone I was very surprised to find had no article. From working in the National Museum, he was a large figure in the Museum’s history, especially when it came to Natural History. His influence on the early collections, as well as overseeing the building of the Natural History Museum in 1856/7, meant that his mark on the Museum is indelible. Like many of the prominent members of the Royal Dublin Society and Royal Irish Academy, Carte is included in the Dictionary of Irish Biography, but I am always aware of relying on this source too much. As excellent as it is, I have found a few errors in it so far, and in a wonderful comparison suffers from what Wikipedia rails against, it was compiled by a relatively small group of writers much like traditional encyclopaedias that Wikipedia competes with. I have noticed this, as the individual entries have a writer’s credit, and I am seeing a few names repeatedly. As I am looking at figures from Ireland’s scientific history, perhaps this is to be expected, but interesting none the less.

The next one I approached with a little bit of trepidation, Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio could have been a struggle to establish as worthy of an article. However, I found it had been covered in a number of sources, and that the founder and curator had been the subject of a short documentary. This one wasn’t as fun as Clarke, as finding good, non-promotional material was a little trickier. I am finding that with the museum/gallery/historical sites in general, an entry on Discover Ireland is easy to find, but something more substantial is a challenge. It may be that I will need to revisit them as more sources come to light.

Gulielma Lister is not an Irish woman, but someone that was given the nod by Robert Lloyd Praeger as having a place within the development of natural history in Ireland. Again, given her entry in several decent reference books and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, how she had gone this long with no article was quite shocking. Even if the study of slime moulds isn’t the most glamorous of areas to be a world expert in, her absence did seem like quite the oversight. Her father, Arthur Lister, still has no article, despite the more famous Lister’s already having their place in Wikipedia.

Today’s effort was the Irish Agricultural Museum in County Wexford. At first I thought I would have one article for this museum and the Johnstown Castle Gardens, but having done a little investigation, I think two separate articles are in order. When we lived in Wexford, the Gardens were a regular day trip destination, so if I was so inclined, I could find images of the Gardens from the 1970s onwards! This one had some of the same issues as the Radio Museum, attempting to find more neutral sources, that weren’t promotional. I’m unsure just how successful I was in this resource search, but I fear most museums (or the less well known ones) will have this issue. Having added a number of new museums to the template list that is added to the bottom of all Irish museum and gallery entries, I noticed that the list was getting overly long. So I did my first structural edit to a template, dividing what was an alphabetical list into one subdivided by area. This just made me notice the huge concentration of articles on Dublin museums. I have since gone back to my list and added more museums and galleries from other parts of the country, to try and mitigate this imbalance.

And so it continues! Each article just reveals about two more areas that I need to address, I hope I don’t suffer from burnout too early on in this, and that the energy levels are sustained. I think I might try and help Harry Clarke’s article this evening, as if that was an easy task!