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Editing Botanist Articles on Wikipedia: A Guide  

Last Updated: Jul 1, 2016 URL: http://libguides.nybg.org/wikipedia_botanists Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Editing Botanist Articles on Wikipedia

Editing Botanist Articles on Wikipedia

There are several questions to ask when editing a botanist's article.  This guide hopes to address some of the major questions and concerns.  Please feel free to contact the library staff with questions.

(Please note that this guide is not meant to be an introduction to editing Wikipedia more broadly; there are many other resources available online that new edittors might use to learn this skill.  Local Wikipedia meet-ups are also a wonderful way to learn more about how to edit Wikipedia.)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elizabeth_Gertrude_Knight_Britton_2.jpg1. Identifying articles to edit or create

The first step is to figure out which article you would like to create.  Other Wikipedia users have already identified botanist articles that already exist, but could use some additional information.  These articles are known as "stubs".  A list of botanist stubs can be found here.  If you are interested in providing photos, a list of botanist articles needing photos can be found here.

Of course, new articles can also be created.  Remember that the Wikipedia community and higher-level editors want articles of substance to be added to Wikipedia.  Any person for whom an article is created should have contributed something significant.  In the case of botanists, this might mean that the person authored several works or made significant plant collections.

Keep in mind that if authoring an article about a living person, there are guidelines for what content is appropriate to include.


2. What should a botanist's article contain?

Once one begins to edit Wikipedia, it becomes apparent that biographical pages are radically inconsistent from one another.  The Wikipedia:WikiProject Plants has provided the following guide for what a botanist article should contain:

WikiProject Plants has a number of components, these include taxa, botanical topics, and botanists. When describing taxa with authorities, the authorities should be checked against the List of botanists by author abbreviation, and if necessary, added. Authorities should be linked, and if red linked, consideration should be given to creating a biographical page. Wikipedia has no specific criteria for botanists, although it has for scientists in general. In most cases recognising an author by linking their name to a species as an authority is a form of notability, and any requests for deletion should be directed to this section.

Botanist biography pages should at a minimum contain the following, the {{infobox scientist}} and {{botanist}} templates (the latter in turn creates a Reference to "Author Query for 'Cronquist'". International Plant Names Index), a list of publications, including the ones that give them botanical authority status, and links to taxa they named, or are named in their honour. The botanist template will also generate a category (Category:Botanists with author abbreviations). In the Talk page the use of the {{WikiProject Plants|class=|importance=}} template will link it to the project.

If seeking additional biographical information for a botanist, be aware that there are many resources available that have not yet made their way into Wikipedia.  For example, the Mertz Library has an extensive Vertical File filled with biographical information for botanists.  This resource can be access onsite.  Many of these files include photos or portraits of botanists.  Email the library to make an appointment to conduct research with this collection.

John Torrey3. Asking for help

The Mertz Library is fortunate to have a rich local community of passionate and active Wikipedia editors, also known as the Wikimedia NYC Chapter.  If possible, going to local Wikipedia events is a very rewarding experience.  Editors are generally generous with their knowledge, and passionate about sharing information.  If there are no local options available, Wikipedia does also have a mentorship program.

 

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