A Forum for Discussions among Voyagers and Others related to the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan
From: Michelle Moon
Date: 2014 Jul 25, 14:39 -0700
Ah, how far we've come. While sitting at my desk at Mystic Seaport way back in 2001, I developed Wikipedia's very first entry for "ship!"
I think I heard about some plans for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon after the voyage. While I agree that it would be ideal for all pages related to museum collections to be rich and up-to-date, as a museum professional (and a digitally savvy one!) myself, I do have to say that it is fairly easy for this to fall some ways down the priority list. Though Wikipedia in concept is easy to edit and open to everyone, in reality it is fairly time-consuming to gather the research and do the number of edits required, and especially once one wades into the community, can be a serious time drain. And while it's indeed a resource accessed by millions seeking information, and important, it's also arguably not the first and most vital place for a museum to invest its most precious and most constrained resource: staff time. In addition, the editing group on Wikipedia has gotten pretty sophisticated and now carefully polices anything that appears to be work done by a staff member. Often even good, correct edits will be rolled back because of issues of fairness and perceived bias. So the obstacles to having perfectly updated, rich Wikipedia pages are many, even for a large museum.
Many museums, like my own recently, tackle all this by hosting targeted "edit-a-thons." For these volunteer events, museum staff (usually including curators, librarians, registrars and archivists) assemble documents, photos, video, and other resources in advance. Then, they invite anyone interested to join in for a day or a weekend to take a crash course in the subject matter and begin digitizing, summarizing, editing, and posting. It's amazing what can be accomplished in a short time - and yet, as I recently witnessed, it does take a couple of weeks' worth of staff time and effort to gather the needed materials. The payoff is that the result is much better work - and far better uploaded resrouces - than the casual home keyboardist can usually provide.
One resource, of course, is all of us. 38th Voyagers themselves could certainly edit the 38th Voyage piece and provide some of the language and materials shared on the Voyage page. I think, in the general spirit of voluntarism that characterizes both this project and Wikipedia, anyone who is interested in editing the Wiki to update it about the restoration and voyage would be contributing a really wonderful outcome to the project.