Wikipedia and Creative Commons

When looking at the specified Wikipedia discussion tabs on several historical pages, the first thing I generally noticed was something further specifying what the page was, and a listing of what categories and WikiProjects the page was related or relevant to. That page would also tell you if the article had been nominated for or won any good or featured article type awards within its category. Following that, what you would see is a listing of posts by various users about the article, particularly about how to improve it or fix problems. While the discussion page isn’t supposed to be for general discussion of the article’s subject, there were some examples I saw of historical debates breaking out on the page over discussions ostensibly about improving the article. One example was on the page for the Thirty Years’ War, where there was something of a debate about in what order to list the belligerents of the war, with the idea seeming to be that the importance or scale of those nations’ contributions was relevant to how they were listed. There was even some nationalism on display, as one user seemed to be arguing that the English-speaking world downplayed the French contribution. The “history” tab, which showed what edits had been made, generally showed people had made edits in order to improve the attributions and categorizations of the articles, rather than major changes to the text.

For our own group project, I feel the most accommodating CC license, that of Attribution, would be the best. Going through the Stanford guide to fair use, I feel the nature of our project, a published website which we will try to disseminate as widely as possible across the Civil War historical community, is something we should very much encourage people to visit and use material from with no fear of fair use problems.