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a born-digital, open-review volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki

Part 2: The Wisdom of Crowds(ourcing)

Permalink for this paragraph 0 How does historical writing change when technology enables everyone to publish online? Leslie Madsen-Brooks opens up the conversation with her essay, “‘I nevertheless am a historian’: Digital Historical Practice and Malpractice around Black Confederate Soldiers,” which investigates how false claims about U.S. Civil War history arose, and have been combatted, on the Internet. Other contributors focus on the world’s most popular crowd-sourced encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Launched in 2001, over 30 million registered users have collectively contributed to this open-access knowledge platform. Yet Wikipedia has generated controversy for its democratization of historical expertise and authorship, the practice of its so-called “neutral point of view” (NPOV) editorial stance, and conflict among educators on whether it should be referenced in, or even considered as part of, academic writing. Robert Wolff’s essay, “Beyond the Historical Profession: The Historian’s Craft, Popular Memory, and the Wikipedia,” explores what we can learn from analyzing debates over editing Civil War history in the multi-author Wikipedia platform. In “The Wikiblitz: A Wikipedia Editing Assignment in a First Year Undergraduate Class,” Shawn Graham recounts what he and his students learned while updating a single page on Canadian history. At Amherst College, Martha Saxton recounts challenges that she and her collaborators faced when confronting the so-called “neutral point of view” editing standard in “Wikipedia and Women’s History: A Classroom Experience.” (For more on Wikipedia, see also Adrea Lawrence’s “Learning How to Write Traditional and Digital History” and Amanda Seligman’s “Teaching Wikipedia Without Apologies” essays in the next section.)