Editing a Wikipedia Article
(Digital Scholarly Editing)
What is scholarly editing? “Scholarly editing and the production of critical editions underpin much research in the humanities, notably in the fields of Classics, History and Literary Studies.” Scholarly editing, to me, is understanding, reading, thinking, writing and editing in an educated fashion.
“The preparation of scholarly editions involves a number of highly specialist tasks: reading historical handwriting, analysing the complex processes of textual transmission (which includes bibliographical questions of how the manuscript, archive or book was produced), collating large numbers of variants and, last but not least, the application of critical judgment and editorial theory. “
This was my first time attempting to edit a Wikipedia article. I admit that I have not done much digital scholarly editing before. When I first heard that anyone is able to edit a Wikipedia article, I thought it would be easier to edit than it was to be honest. The wiki markup language was new to me and it took me a few minutes to get used to it. But, in the end, once I had it edited, I realized Wikipedia is easy to edit.
The first thing I did was to choose my subject, which was a Wikipedia article on online radio. I took a screenshot of the document before my editing. Next, I clicked on “Edit” and took a look at the code. I realized I had to reference any changes that I was making. I was lucky because the piece that I had chosen was marked as outdated so this was the section I chose to edit.
Next I made a Google search for online radio listenership figures and the most up to date piece that I could find was from 2014. I copied the text that had the new information from the website and I pasted it into the edit window of the Wikipedia article. I used the cite button and put the ref tag before and after my citation. I took the URL of the website I had found the updated information on, and used this as my reference for my edit.
I realize now that I literally dived into the editing too quickly but this is the way I usually work when it comes to code. I like to see if I can do it myself without help first and I found I could. I realized after that I should have done more research on how to edit the document before I started editing it! It was only afterwards that I read up about how to edit Wikipedia documents and I watched a video tutorial that I had downloaded from the internet.
I found I could easily edit using wiki markup myself but it is a language of its own at the same time. However, it is a language that is quite easy to learn.
As the above screenshots from the video tutorial I watched on how to edit Wikipedia states, Wikipedia is a huge encyclopedia available to any internet user and it can be edited very easily by any one of the millions of internet users accessing it. One could say it is the “Facebook” of research on the world wide web when it comes to its popularity with 10 million articles and 250 million visitors and it is found in 250 different languages.
“What is Scholarly Editing?” This is known as the WISE programme. “The objective of the WISE programme is to offer training and guidance for new editors to gain some experience early on in their career as editors.” It seeks to enhance knowledge of digital scholarly editing. “The development of an appropriate training framework for this core humanities research activity will help both to enhance the national skill set and to secure increased recognition for editorial activity, and indeed for collaborative, trans-disciplinary editorial work more generally.”
I am a beginner when it comes to scholarly editing but I have learned a lot from this exercise with Wikipedia on how to edit in a scholarly fashion. I hope to edit more Wikipedia documents in future and to become skilled and quick in Wiki markup language so that I will become a better editor of scholarly works.