The nature of historical representation on Wikipedia : dominant or alterative historiography?
Date of Issue2011
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Given their ease of use and capability for interactivity, new media are seen as having the potential to make visible previously marginalized voices. The online presence of the writing of history is increasing, and this potential would be a welcome development for the field as it would create a much richer set of easily available historical perspectives. However, this article suggests that the achievement of this promise is fraught with difficulty and that a more likely outcome is a mapping of the status quo in historical representation onto the new media. To illustrate this, I present an analysis of the Wikipedia accounts of Singaporean and Philippine history. For Singapore, alternative historical visions are not as developed as those for the Philippines, and this is reflected in the nature of the respective Wikipedia accounts. I suggest that a possible means to achieve something more of the promise of digital media for history is for information professionals to take a keener interest in Wikipedia, with an eye to helping include accounts of documented historical perspectives that are ignored by mainstream historiographical traditions.
DRNTU::Library and information science::Libraries::Information systems
Journal of the American Society for information science and technology
© 2011 ASIS&T. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, ASIS&T. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: DOI [http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.21531].