My assignment for my Digital History class this week was to update or create a new Wikipedia entry. I forgot. So, today I gave it a try. I started with ambitious plans to create the first John Plankinton wiki entry. It’s a little more complicated than you’d think. I copied from the Plankinton biography on my blog and correctly organized the references, but decided it wasn’t complete enough. I think I’ll take a little more time to get it right. I’d like to take some time to review best practices and deliver a more polished post for my first Wikipedia entry. It’s there in my sandbox waiting for me.
So, instead of creating an entry, I updated one. I very simple added this statement to the history section of Plankinton, South Dakota
“The voters approved the incorporation of Plankinton as a village in an election on September 7, 1882. The first officials were elected on September 22, 1882.”
I posted that sentence and then added another listing the first village trustees. After my second change I added the page to my watch list, so I can check if anyone else makes changes to that page.
The history section is very short and I’d like to fill that in some day. The ‘annual’ grain palace it documents lasted only two years. I would have changed it, but I’d have to track down the sources first. With this short exercise, I’ve learned that this process requires time to review other entries, study the guidelines, plan what to write and assemble sources.
One good thing about writing history for graduate school, the practice of managing resources and citations builds skills that make it less daunting to tackle such projects as updating and creating Wikipedia entries. It still takes time and thought.
Something more to put on the history ToDo list for my future as an historian.