March 9, 2010
Pop Quiz: What’s in Wikipedia?

Written by Jennifer Geigel Mikulay, assistant professor and public scholar of visual culture at IUPUI.

Photo by Katie Chattin

Do you ever use Wikipedia? Come on, admit it.According to Wired, 300 million people a month seek information using Wikipedia. The open source, user-created encyclopedia has been around for almost a decade, and the English version has over 3 million articles on topics ranging from the mundane to the bizarre. Unfortunately, Wikipedia’s coverage of art is still quite limited.Do you ever write or edit articles in Wikipedia? If you care about art and culture, you should.

IUPUI students recently kicked off Wikipedia Saves Public Art (WSPA), an open initiative that aims to make quality information about outdoor sculpture more accessible within Wikipedia and other digital platforms. We started with creating Wikipedia articles about 40 artworks on the IUPUI campus, and we hope others will follow our lead.

WSPA seeks help locating, photographing, and researching public art to create robust Wikipedia articles featuring historical detail, up-to-date images, geolocational data, and accurate references. There are lots of ways to participate. For example, did you know that the Landmark for Peace Memorial in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park has a Wikipedia article, but it currently includes no images? Or, that there is a Wikipedia article about Meredith Nicholson, but no entry currently for either the Meredith Nicholson House or the Indiana Humanities Council?

Public art is one of the most accessible art forms, and Wikipedia is one of the most accessible forums for information, so they make a perfect match. Please consider joining WSPA and improving a Wikipedia article about an artwork in the state of Indiana. You can find more information about how to get involved here. You can also learn more about what we’ve done so far here.

Posted In: Miscellaneous

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