It was the time to choose a new course for the winter term 2014-2015. Among different courses I noticed a “Constructing Knowledge in the Digital Age: Wikipedia’s Contribution to the Humanities”. It sounded really interesting because until this time I was only a passive contributor of Wikipedia. In my opinion Wikipedia is one of the best resources where you can find an overview about almost everything.
Choosing the article to write
Also, in winter term 2014-15 I took an English literature course about the writer McEwan. I think nobody would be surprised that students google all the time. To be honest, I was really impressed not to find an article on McEwan’s short stories. All that you can find is an article on his short story collection “In Between the Sheets”. But I needed an overview of one special short story, namely of “Pornography”. That is why I decided to write an article on this short story. It is the first short story in McEwan’s second collection of short stories “In between the Sheets”.
As a philology student, I have technical problems all the time. My problem was, or better to say, were: references – how to insert these references? And the second problem was, how to make my article public. Every time that I saved it I thought it was already visible for every user of Wikipedia. I almost fell in panic when I tried to google it and found nothing. I did not push the button “move”. We, students of “Constructing Knowledge in the Digital Age: Wikipedia’s Contribution to the Humanities”, have a really good support system and with this help we solved all the problems quickly.
Another difficulty was about the content. Actually I wrote also about Somerset Maugham Award which gained “Pornography”. I found on some web pages that McEwan got this award for his second collection of short stories to which belongs “Pornography”. I checked it on the official web side of award: yes, he got the award, but only for his first short story collection “First Love, Last Rites”, not for second one.
Comparison of Wikipedia article and Scientific works
During my studies I have to write a lot of assignments, essays and scientific works. One of the biggest differences between essays and Wikipedia articles is that the Wikipedia article does not have original research. It is also written with a neutral point of view but provides information from different resources which are given in references. Every Wikipedia article appears to satisfy three core content policies: Neutral Point of View, Verifiability and No Original Research. Another big difference between Wikipedia articles and scientific work is that your Wikipedia article might be used by many people all around the world. Not only your lecturer is going to read it, but everyone is able to read it.
Now a little bit about the content of my article. During my writing I tried to keep in mind the Wikipedia core principles which we learned during this course. In order to decide which structure to use for my article I checked some English Wikipedia articles on different short stories. So I started with plot summary, then added a short descriptions of main characters. The next step was the motifs and main themes in “Pornography”. I named receptions which were published in “The Times”, “The Times Literary Supplement” and in “The New York Book Review”. Then I ended my article wirh references and external links. In one session we discussed our articles in class. I got some advices about structure from my colleagues, namely I should list the main characters. I used to have this part in line sentences.
After I have heard what happened with some of my colleagues articles -not nice comments or even deleted articles- I am really happy my article is still online. Generally, I am pleased with my experiences about writing my first Wikipedia article. I learned Wikipedia more from the inside. I wrote only one article “Pornography” but I can call myself active contributor of Wikipedia. To be honest I do not know when I am going to write my next Wikipedia article because you have to invest a lot of time to find information and then do not forget to check is it true or not.