For the recent Wikipedia Editathon I chose to freshen up the entry for Irish poet James Clarence Mangan. This assignment was particularly well-timed because I have been reading into Mangan’s faux-oriental translations for my thesis and editing the Wikipedia page helped me structure some of my general background readings on Mangan.
To begin with, Mangan’s page was not quite a stub, but it left a lot to be desired. I can’t say I blame the original author. Mangan is a bit of an enigma. Please click here to see the full page as I found it.
I came into the assignment a little overwhelmed. There was (and still is) a lot of the page I feel needs improvement. Primarily, however, I thought the pages sloppy citations and poor structure were its greatest shortcomings. How could an author’s biography really be broken down into only two section: Early Life and Literary Career?
So, I decided that for the in class session I would focus on reorganizing the page, while fleshing out the skeletal information provided. I think the most important thing I added during the Editathon session was a section devoted to Mangan’s reception and legacy. The original version of the page only addressed Mangan’s reception in a disorganized peppering of information throughout the existing “Literary Career” section. By collecting that information in one section (and adding some needed details and sources), I think I made the page much more useful.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous during the session. My computer was struggling to connect to the internet and this created some technical difficulties. The page did not update correctly as I worked on it (mostly problems with inputting sources) and, most frighteningly, refused to save my changes. This certainly slowed my progress.
— Cody Jarman (@daREALjarmander) February 8, 2017
Luckily, I left my page open and saved my changes in another building after class.
I guess the surest sign that the assignment was a success is I kept editing the page after class. While I only added the Reception and Legacy section in class, I decided to add a few more details, as well as a Style section. The page still isn’t perfect, but I am very proud to have made the page more useful to students, and wiki-addicts everywhere.
Or, of course, you could get your information straight from the horse’s mouth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clarence_Mangan