Creative Commons & Wikipedia

Look at the History and Discussion tabs of several Wikipedia history entries and write about what you see. 2) Consider what Creative Commons License you might use for your own site.  What role does copyright play in the resources you are working with this semester?

I looked into several different history entries on Wikipedia to get a sense of how active those pages are and what most of the editing involved for those topics. Since I already had some practice editing Wikipedia I have a decent understanding of how administrators deal with newly updated content and the processes of how to make contributions to pages.

One of the interesting points I noticed was the varying levels of seriousness in the discussions on content in the talk pages for each articles. There were sections that contained heated debates right next to sections on reasons for removal or grammar arguments. For instance on the talk section for Sun Yat-sen there was a grammar question on how his name should be shorted when discussing him throughout the page. One of the contributors suggested using “Yat-sen” whenever he was referenced. However another reviewer brought up that “Yat-sen” was his first name and it is standard both in Chinese and English writing to primarily refer to an individual by either their full or last name.

Another page I looked into had an interesting perspective on sources. Wikipedia articles often have a series of sources for the information presented. In an article on the Great Leap Forward one editor wrote about trying to diversify the sources for quotes that the article uses. Noting that all of the quotes seem to be coming from the same print source, they suggest trying to check those quotes in other sources just to maintain the credibility of those sources.

In terms of Creative Commons licensing as a group we would need to come to a consensus on what type of licensing we should use for our site. We should also discuss with Luisa Dispenzirie about any expectations the National Park Service might had in terms of licensing. The diaries are of course currently public domain however since the Park Service are in charge of the diaries they may have an opinion or a standard procedure on copyright that we should be aware and respectful about. However I speculate that we will probably use a Creative Common license in the end, and one that is more restrictive than the least restrictive license that Creative Commons offers.


The Ever-Looming Copyright Law

Copyright is something we all run into on a daily basis. Whether it be a video on YouTube or a new album that is only streamed on a certain website that is losing a lot of money (I’m looking at you Kanye and Tidal). It is often times something that we understand is important but do not fully understand the repercussions when we break it.

Exploring the History and Discussion sections on Wikipedia is like a whole new area of Wikipedia that I had zero idea existed. The History tab is kind of boring, showing only what small phrases were changed or sometimes what things were completely taken out because of poor citations. However, the Discussion tab was the cool part. Here, the contributors communicate with one another to discuss improvements for the topic. The first page I read was the featured article of the day about Chester A. Arthur, the 21st president of the United States. In the discussion, the contributors talked about what new information that could add based on new information that has come out about Arthur. I think it is this latter point that is the most important. The new information must be backed up and cited by historians or others relevant to the field of study. The copyright comes into play because this information needs to be cited correctly.

For my project, I think the Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike” would work best. This license would allow others to take the work that my groups has done and tweak it or add onto it. However, the person who decides to work on the project further must do two things. One, they must properly credit my group and the work we have done. And two, they must use the same Creative Commons license in their work. I really like the second part of this license because it ensures that the spirit of the work is moving forward as more people work on it and leave it open for others to extend on their research and work.