The Archives Behind My Favorite Wikipedia Article

I love Wikipedia articles. The weirder and more specific, the better. “William Walker (filibuster),” “New Jersey Generals,” “Crumhorn.”

But my favorite Wikipedia article of all time tells the story of The Emu War. I will let the Wikipedia editors of the page, principally user Nick-D, tell the story.

“The Emu War, also known as the Great Emu War,[1] was a nuisance wildlife management military operation undertaken in Australia over the latter part of 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok in the Campion district of Western Australia. The unsuccessful attempts to curb the population of emus, a large flightless bird indigenous to Australia, employed soldiers armed with Lewis guns—leading the media to adopt the name “Emu War” when referring to the incident. While a number of the birds were killed, the emu population persisted and continued to cause crop destruction.”

Photo from The Land Newspaper via WIkipedia: By Unknown – The Land Newspaper, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57741583

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Crowdsourcing, or Can I Be a Part of the Conversation?

We’ve been covering quite a lot of territory in Digital History, blitzing through topics in an attempt to get a little taste of most of the kinds of digital projects that are out there. Last week we did a high-speed drive-by of various humanities crowdsourcing projects and were asked to dip our toe into one of them. I used this assignment as a reason to return to the little corner of Wikipedia that I have contributed to: the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).

I’ve followed the exploits of this league since its origin in 2012, and found myself frustrated by the lack of a centralized reference site for the teams and the league itself. The league has taken leaps and bounds in the last year and a half to host rosters, past seasons’ results, and various statistics, but I wanted to make some of that data available on Wikipedia. In the past I made significant improvements to the AUDL page as well as pages for each season.

This week, however, I turned my attention to one of the few teams without even a “stub”: the Nashville NightWatch. I copied several features of other AUDL team pages (such as a season schedule and a table of past seasons’ records) but added very little information overall.

Nashville Nightwatch Logo

One topic I did cover, however, was the real reason I chose to create a NightWatch page: this year Nashville became the first AUDL team to include a woman (Jesse Shofner) on their roster, which is a big deal. One of the complaints of the ultimate community about the pro league has been that it is exclusively* men and the broader community is committed to gender equity. Shofner’s inclusion is a huge step forward for professional ultimate.

Jesse Shofner playing for the University of Oregon. Photo by Alex Fraser, Ultiphotos.com

Plus, she’s incredible. Watch her highlight reel from a year ago:

Oh, and here’s the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nashville_Nightwatch