Wikipedia, Culture, and the Memory of the World (Liam Wyatt) – VORSCHAU: OFFENE ARCHIVE 2.3 (5)

Liam Wyatt
Wikipedia, Culture, and the Memory of the World 

This presentation will provide an update on the Wikimedia movement’s relationship with the cultural sector, especially in Germany, by showcasing local activities and developments from the NRW region, from Germany, and internationally.

Several years after the German Wikimedia community made global headlines arguing for Wikipedia to be classified as UNESCO World Heritage, this presentation will then discuss the philosophical and practical questions about the relationship of Wikipedia to the sister program for documentary cultural heritage – the Memory of the World. Works inscribed in this program are of great significant according to at least one of the following aspects: Time or Place of creation; the People or language it represents; its Subject/Theme; or its Form/Style. In this presentation it will be argued that Wikipedia is in fact of heritage-significance for all of these factors, and therefore should be the first born-digital item inscribed on the register. However, the rules also state that: „The documentary heritage nominated must be finite and precisely defined…Once added to the Memory of the World Register, the document group cannot be varied or redefined over time.“ But re-use and modification is the vernacular culture of internet society, and Wikipedia is an exemplar of that. What does heritage mean for culture if it must stay fixed? And what value would Wikipedia have if it was static?

Kurzbiographie Liam Wyatt

© Liam Wyatt

Liam Wyatt is the Wikimedia Coordinator for Europeana and founder of the GLAM [Gallery, Library, Archive and Museum] collaboration projects in the Wikimedia community. He was the world’s first ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ at the British Museum and the Global Cultural Partnerships coordinator for the Wikimedia Foundation. He has also worked with Creative Commons Australia and was the innaugural social media coordinator for the National Library of Australia.

He has the UNSW university medal in Historiography for his thesis „Wikipedia’s Academic Lineage“ and a Masters of IP law from WIPO. He now lives in Bologna, Italy where he enjoys the local cheeses too much. You can find him online as @Wittylama.


Elisabeth Steiger

Elisabeth Steiger hat Germanistik und Europäische Ethnologie/Volkskunde an der Universität Würzburg studiert und arbeitet am Cologne Center for eHumanities (Universität zu Köln) und für das International Centre for Archival Research (ICARUS). Außerdem ist sie als Journalistin und Redakteurin tätig. Sie bloggt unter: co:op, Archive2.0, UniBloggT, Archivum Rhenanum – Archives numérisées du Rhin supérieur / Digitale Archive am Oberrhein, Pfälzische Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften und Geschichte Bayerns.

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