By Juliana Adelman
A few years ago some historians of science decided that they ought to embrace Wikipedia. Instead of worrying about whether it was accurate, they were going to use their expertise to try to make it as accurate as possible for topics within their expertise. There is a special Wiki devoted to this process which you can see here. If you are anything like me, you tend to use Wikipedia to look up things that you know nothing about. They tend not to be topics associated with your research, but more things that you are curious about. Wikipedia, used with a very large pinch of salt, can sometimes point the way to finding reliable sources. If you do any teaching you quickly realise that students view it in a similar way. They use Wikipedia to look up things that they don’t know anything about. The problem is, what they don’t know anything about is probably their essay topic. It may sound radical, but I think it’s time that we embraced Wikipedia and just tried to improve it. Maybe if we added appropriate references to books then people would go and look at them, too. If we view Wikipedia as a portal to a subject then it can be a positive thing. With this in mind, I’ve gathered a few links on Irish history and historians and now I throw down the gauntlet to you all to go and make them better. Also, you may wish to add other topics and persons. I’ve just gone through some obvious ones off the top of my head. Many of them are fairly good already:
Modern Ireland (no such page)
The Irish Rebellion of 1641 (There is no page for the 1641 Depositions)
Oliver Cromwell (This one even has a bit of historiography on Cromwell and Ireland)
Check the List of Irish Historians and see who should be added!