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Submissions/The Power of Photography in a Wikiworld

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
The Power of Photography in a Wikiworld
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Skye Marthaler
E-mail address
Country of origin
United States
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Personal homepage or blog

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Skyrunner75 https://www.flickr.com/photos/skyemarthaler/

Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

From the smallest hamlet to the largest city, photographs add that dimension of realness to a place. Digital images on Wikipedia articles increase perspective and personalize the world. The focus of this presentation is on the following:

Providing a sense of place

This photo of Narrows, Virginia helps build a better understanding of the town.

When someone looks up their own place, particularly smaller communities, they often find a wall of text, demographics, and other rudimentary statistics describing it. While descriptive, it is not wholly indicative of what a place may be like. The addition of an image becomes a key factor, it has the power to make a place relatable to the individual. The best photos compliment the written text and work to build a fuller understanding.

Preserving history

Cromer House, a historical house in Virginia in disrepair and succumbing to nature.

One of the powers of photographs is its ability to preserve a time and place and provide a medium to preserve it. Photos provide a reality instead of having to rely on the memory of an event. These images can be archived and utilized to develop more detailed content and knowledge. This is a critical element of keeping Wikipedia a vibrant and expanding resource. Three issues to be addressed:

  • The importance of now
  • Access to images
  • Bringing awareness to sites that are in danger of disappearing

Building ownership

One of the biggest challenges is getting a photographer to the site to snap the photograph. Wikipedia is heavily dependent on volunteers. While that has proven to be its biggest strength it is also one of its biggest weaknesses. Several ways to address this will be discussed:

  • Providing easy to use tools.
  • Recruiting volunteer photographers at a ‘local’ level
  • Volunteer retention

Recent successes have been the Month of Monuments 2013 and the Summer of Monuments 2014. Future consideration should be given to the development and promotion of similar tools that focus on civic /government entities, geographical entities, and cultural entities. In the end we need to encourage more people to take the initiative to document their local history and events and share this content with the larger world.

  • WikiCulture & Community
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Slides will be forthcoming
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 21:24, 16 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Very much agree. CT Cooper · talk 22:39, 10 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Add your username here.