Improving Wikipedia’s coverage of 9/11

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks — and as many people reflect on the milestone, some will turn to Wikipedia to read about this moment in history and the widespread impacts of it. The attacks occurred in Wikipedia’s first year of existence, and played an important role in shaping the culture … Continued

Improving Wikipedia’s Islamic art and architecture coverage

The Book of Curiosities is an 11th century book of maps, star charts, and historical information believed to have been created in Egypt during the Fatimid Caliphate. It includes a rectangular map of the world that represents the oldest surviving map to use a graphic scale. Scans from the copy of the book in the possession … Continued

Expanding coverage of African archaeology on Wikipedia

Tassili n’Ajjer is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sahara Desert in southeastern Algeria known for its Neolithic rock art from a period when the site was still savanna. With over 15,000 documented pieces of art, the site is exceptional. Before students in Mary Pendergast’s The Archaeology of Africa class started working on it, Wikipedia’s article on … Continued

Sea slugs, jellyfish, and crabs

We rarely associate the process of photosynthesis with animals, but life regularly outpaces our ability to imagine it. For Costasiella ocellifera, a species of sea slug, photosynthesis is part of the way it makes a living. When these sea slugs eat algae, they absorb the undigested chloroplasts and incorporate them in their skin. This practice, called … Continued

Can “behavior” exist absent a brain or nervous system?

Spring in the northern Temperate zone brings an effusive burst of life. Flowers and leaves appear on trees and shrubs from seemingly dead branches, while non-woody perennials emerge from the ground as if from hiding. The burst of flowers and the flush of leaves seems almost miraculous — one day it’s all brown, the next … Continued

The sex lives of plants

The biology of sex determination has come to the forefront of the culture wars, but if you’re a plant biologist, the idea that sex determination is complex is old news. Jennifer Blake-Mahmud’s The Secret Sex Lives of Plants spent time last Fall improving Wikipedia articles on these topics. A student in the class made major improvements … Continued

Students improve Rudolph Fisher article

Rudolph Fisher was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance whose work has largely slipped from the public consciousness. The son of a Baptist pastor, Fisher was a physician, radiologist, and novelist. He also wrote short stories, plays, and music and was a skilled public speaker. Despite dying when he was only 37, Fisher made a … Continued

Striving toward a more equitable Wikipedia

Wikipedia serves as a subtle form of information warfare against colonized populations. The colonial act of erasing cultures includes the psychological condition of feeling as if you cannot and should not “disrupt” the information architecture. – Alexandria Lockett in Wikipedia @ 20 Wikipedia is the world’s largest reference work, and it has also become the most freely accessible … Continued