Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Northside Chronicle (Canberra)
By: Meredith Clisby
UC creates Paralympic history
Photo: Australia's Louise Sauvage wins gold in a fantastic women's 5000m T54 final at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, by Julian Andrews
THE University of Canberra is helping to create a living history of the Australian Paralympic movement by crowd sourcing through Wikipedia.
The university's National Institute of Sports Studies will use open-access social media to inspire the creation of articles and the recording of experiences of athletes and others involved in the movement.
The project, launched by the Australian Paralympic Committee, already has about 2000 people from all over the world working on it.
University of Queensland historian Murray Phillips will assemble the articles into a Wiki book and write a hard copy book of what has been produced. Director of the UC sports studies institute, Professor Keith Lyons, said it was a very exciting project to be involved in. He said originally the Australian Paralympic Committee had wanted to research for the production of a book only and the university had suggested otherwise. "We thought it would be wonderful if it could be dynamic and be a new book each day," Professor Lyons said. "Our hope was we could use the power of Wikipedia to build up stories of paralympians in ways that haven't been done before." He said the idea was to encourage people to write their own stories about their place as an athlete, or as someone part of the movement. Others are being encouraged to help curate the book by editing the submitted stories.
As part of the project the Australian Paralympic Committee is donating a significant number of photos in its collection of more than 35,000 images. This will be done through Wikimedia Commons and it will enable high quality photos to be used to illustrate the history. Professor Lyons believes this is one of the first times that a history book has been created in this way.
He said the institute's staff would use both their sports history knowledge and their skills with open access to help administer the project. The collection of articles began in July
and is due to officially finish on December 31. However Professor Lyons hopes the Wild book at least will live on after this time with people continuing to add details to it.
The Australian Paralympic Committee chief executive Jason Hellwig said the project would help to ensure the cultural and sporting significance of the Paralympic movement is recognised and understood.