Category Archives: Digital Humanities

Première assemblée générale de l’association Humanistica

dh201410

Le mardi 8 juillet 2014 se tiendra à Lausanne la première assemblée générale (AG) d’Humanistica, l’association francophone des humanités numériques/digitales.

Cette AG se tiendra sur le campus de l’Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) de 10h à 16h. Grâce au soutien de DH 2014, elle a lieu en tant qu’événement organisé en marge du colloque international.

Cette assemblée inaugurale, dont la préparation avait été confiée lors du THATCamp de Saint-Malo 2013 à un comité de quinze personnes élues par les participants pour préparer le processus de fondation de l’association, se déroulera en deux temps. Durant la matinée, les participants pourront prendre connaissance des statuts, les valider, élire le comité de l’association, et enfin adopter le règlement intérieur. L’après-midi s’organisera autour d’ateliers proposés par les participants souhaitant soumettre un projet à l’association. À partir de ces projets, Humanistica se structurera pour remplir ses missions de forum et de lobbying en faveur des digital humanities francophones.

L’AG est ouverte sans frais à toute personne intéressée par cette initiative. Il sera possible d’assister aux débats en tant qu’auditeur libre, ou de devenir sur place membre de l’association pour participer aux délibérations et aux prises de décisions collectives. Les statuts et le règlement intérieur qui seront présentés le 8 juillet seront prochainement disponibles en ligne sur le site de l’association (actuellement en cours de construction ; le site sera indiqué ici prochainement). Les personnes intéressées à candidater pour l’une des douze places au comité sont invitées à envoyer jusqu’au 28 juin une lettre de candidature à Pierre Mounier : pierre [point] mounier [at] openedition [point] org. Chaque candidat précisera s’il désire représenter un pays (et dans ce cas, lequel) ou représenter les doctorants. Les candidatures et leurs présentations seront mises en ligne sur le site de l’association au 1er juillet.

Benoit Majerus

Since January 2011, I am working as Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg. I have written my PhD on the occupation of Belgium during World War One and World Two. In 2013 I published a history of psychiatry in the 20th century from below. I am also co-editor of h-madness.

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Press release: On Twitter, history students bring the First World War back to life in real time one century later

twitter.jpegOn the occasion of the First World War commemorations, Masters of Modern European History students at the University of Luxembourg are using Twitter to recount, day after day, the twists and turns of the conflict via the @RealTimeWW1 account.

A conflict in 140 characters; an entire peace treaty in two lines; history written in tweets… and at university, what’s more…This is the wild gamble attempted by the teaching staff on the Masters in Modern European History at the University of Luxembourg, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Each tweet is published one hundred years day for day — or even hour for hour — after the event it recounts. Almost 200 tweets have already been published and more than 1,500 others are in the pipeline, repainting the sweeping canvas of a destructive conflict that cost 9 million lives and left 8 million with terrible injuries!

Consequently, on 24th January 2014, a tweet announced the warning from the French War Ministry of the risk of a conflict that could threaten stocks of food for the inhabitants or Paris. The next day, another tweet announced that the Paris city council had decided to purchase 400,000 euros worth of flour stocks. For Benoît Majerus, a researcher and lecturer in history, as well as the director of Masters studies, behind this initiative, the Twitter account @RealTimeWW1 makes it possible to follow “day after day, hour after hour, the sequence of minor or major events that make up an international conflict”… and which seem so similar to news that is currently reaching us from certain hot spots on the planet, such as the tweet on 11th March announcing the vote by the Russian parliament of significant credits to arm the infantry and navy.

Four classes of students involved

The Masters in Modern European History is well placed to run this project: the lectures are given in three languages (French, English and German) to students of 8 different nationalities in a country (Luxembourg) which paid a heavy tribute to the conflict and is a particular embodiment of bridges between European countries. The four classes of students involved in the project are able to consult a large range of documents from the era, in many different languages: English, French, German, Luxembourgish, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croat, Romanian, Greek and Italian.

This project is part of the “digital humanities” movement, which involves human and social sciences filtered through the prism of information technology. Digital humanities draw on the use of digitised historical sources. As a result, all the tweets on @RealTimeWW1 are accompanied by a link to a document from the era that can be consulted on line. Similarly, using an everyday social network to revive major historical occurrences is an experiment ideally designed for the discipline of digital humanities. It also makes it possible to explore means of knowledge production and broadcasting specific to the 21st century.

The social network Twitter has already been used for historic “live-tweets” of varying magnitude. The @RealTimeWWII account run by Allwin Collinson paved the way with more than 7,300 tweets published since 2012, recounting the Second World War 70 years afterwards. The University of Oxford also ran the @Arras95 account for one and a half months, covering the battle of Arras 95 years later (from 9th April to 16th May 1917/2012).

The first tweets from the @RealTimeWW1 account focused on the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), attempts by the peoples of Europe under the domination of the Ottoman Empire to emancipate themselves. These conflicts provoked the Balkan crisis of 1914 and are etched in history as the “prelude to the First World War”. After having covered the entire Great War, the account will stay live until 2018 to describe the first years of the post-war period.

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Masters in Modern European History: a historical perspective is of paramount importance for tomorrow’s professionals working in the political, academic and business worlds in being able to tackle future socio-political matters. The Masters in Modern European History allows the students to develop the necessary expertise to explore modern European issues. With its many links to European and cultural institutions as well as multi-national companies located in Luxembourg, this course of study offers an enriching and stimulating environment. The Masters aims to develop a first-rate course of study in European history by offering lectures based on critical appreciation and theoretical thinking. The programme is focused on questions and issues that make up European history, such as the process of European integration and construction in all its political and socio-economic aspects, social and cultural construction of identities, intra- and extra-European migration, as well as European relations with other regions of the world.

The programme of studies places particular emphasis on training experts in Digital Humanities and Public History, combining historical theory and its practical application.

http://h-europe.uni.lu/ | @940europe

About the University of Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg, founded in 2003, is a multilingual, international research university with 6200 students and staff from all over the globe. Its research focuses on international finance, ICT security, systems biomedicine, European law, business law and educational sciences.

Contact for media: Associate Professor Benoît Majerus, benoit.majerus@uni.lu, T. + 352 46 66 44 6744

Benoit Majerus

Since January 2011, I am working as Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg. I have written my PhD on the occupation of Belgium during World War One and World Two. In 2013 I published a history of psychiatry in the 20th century from below. I am also co-editor of h-madness.

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Young Researchers in Digital Humanities: A Manifesto

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[Crossposting from Digital Humanities at DHI Paris by Mareike König]

The Humanities and Social Sciences are a vital component of human culture and offer an essential insight into the world in which we live. The Digital Humanities reflect the transition of the Humanities to the digital age. However, they do not only bring with them new technical means, but also new forms of knowledge creation and dissemination within, across and outside academic disciplines.

In the field of Digital Humanities, experimental practices, reflexivity and the collaborative elaboration of standards are deeply interconnected. They are, therefore, an occasion to rethink and extend the Humanities through new materials, methods and hermeneutics. Furthermore, they represent an opportunity to redefine our relationship to society through open access to cultural heritage and the development of collaborative projects which also engage non-academic audiences. Thus, we see them as pivotal in the future of the Humanities.

Three years ago, over 100 members of this emergent community took part in THATCamp Paris 2010. Together, they wrote the first European Manifesto of the Digital Humanities to express their commitment to this new field of studies. Subsequently, the number of individuals and projects involved has increased significantly, giving them much greater visibility.

The academic world, however, with its institutions, actors and practices has not evolved at the same pace. On the one hand, new modes of research – connected, collaborative, horizontal, multimodal, multidisciplinary and multilingual – are being developed. Digital practitioners are engaged in new activities and work with new tools, building databases, developing software, analysing big datasets, defining conceptual models, collaborating through wikis and pads, communicating through websites, blogs and other social media. On the other hand, research institutions often resist or hinder these changes: training for scholars, funding schemes, evaluation criteria, recruitment and promotion procedures have only marginally evolved and do not seem able to make the most out of the digital environment.

The widening gap between flourishing digital practices and their institutional acknowledgment represent a threat for the academic community as a whole and for young scholars in particular, since it casts uncertainty on their future as research professionals.

On 10-11 June 2013 scholars and other members of the academic community met at the German Historical Institute in Paris to participate in the international conference “Research Conditions and Digital Humanities: What are the Prospects for the Next Generation?”. The conference was preceded by an open “call to join the blogparade”, that is to publish online contributions, in order to collectively and publicly prepare the event.

This manifesto is the result of this process. It emphasises the most important aspects of the challenges and the most pressing institutional needs.

I. General

Young researchers in all disciplines face a high level of job insecurity, the consequences of short-term contracts and the risk of never obtaining permanent positions. Digital humanists feel this pressure even more, due to relatively shorter funding periods, few suitable positions and a lack of clear career perspectives.

  • Long-term career perspectives should be available to early career researchers, engineers, and librarians who engage in Digital Humanities work.
  • Senior researchers should encourage, counsel and support them. This aspect is also stressed in the recommendations of the Young Researchers Forum convened by the European Science Foundation in 2011 (Changing Publication Cultures in the Humanities).
  • Fair principles and clearly-defined guidelines should be established to assess the scholarly relevance of digital collaborative contributions and attribute relevant merit to all participants.
  • The diversity of digital media and publication genres need to be accepted as genuine means of scientific communication.

Significant work by digital humanists remains below the radar of internal and external evaluations: it should not be ignored by their peers.

  • Open Access and Open Data publications need to be encouraged and sustained – by opening up participation, supplying adequate funding and increasing academic recognition.
  • The right to re-publish texts needs to be implemented in European and national law, in order to ensure legal security when engaging in the “green road” in Open Access.

Research and teaching with digital tools require specific skills and infrastructures. To create conditions in which those can deploy, we need:

  • Suitable and sustainable academic infrastructures such as repositories, publication platforms, catalogues, social media networks and blogging portals.
  • A public project database providing national and European information on submitted projects in DH, whether successful or rejected, for better orientation and coordination through greater transparency.
  • Ambitious digital training programs in the Humanities, which should address all generations and all levels of skills and needs. Advanced students, junior and senior researchers need appropriate training.

As humanists we value intercultural dialogue and multilingualism. Publications in English should not be exclusive, but encouraged as a complement to publications in other native languages.

II. Research and higher education institutions

Coherent digital strategies should be developed and sustained in every institution. Academic societies and universities should support early-careers in Digital Humanities through adequate funding periods, promotion of tenure and long-term sustainability both for researchers and technology. They should foster early experience in collaborative work, as well as team-based technical expertise.

We advocate for the establishment of specialised working groups to encourage digital undertakings and to allow cross-disciplinary research. Institutions need to support this by creating a scientific ecosystem for Digital Humanities practitioners, including:

  • trusted Open Access platforms
  • long-term archives and technologies and infrastructures for the long-term archiving of research publications and research data in combination with an Open Access and Open Data policy
  • database and software infrastructures (e.g. Big Data and Linked Data applications)
  • efficient tools for the digitisation of analog sources
  • search engines and metadata tools which facilitate the findability, contextualisation and evaluation of digital media
  • promotion of open educational resources and Creative Commons licenses

Scholarly blogging, activities in social media and reviewing in non-traditional formats must be officially recognised and encouraged. Research institutions should provide expertise and training to ensure that the following skills are available: use of social media in research and public communication, encoding, website management, database construction and multimedia editing. All professionals involved must also have sufficient knowledge of legal questions, with particular regard to traditional copyright and open licenses.

III. Funding agencies

It is important that funding agencies take into consideration the needs of scientific communities, since they decide which digital projects, institutions and infrastructures are supported and how their results are evaluated. Funding agencies need to be aware that digital projects, especially when they include a website, never really end: continuous support beyond the initial funding period is essential (e.g. for server costs and technical maintenance).

We need funding agencies to build specific programs to support collaborative research across national borders, sustainable research infrastructures and practical training in the use of digital research tools.

We need funding agencies to develop new evaluation procedures, which take into account both digital formats and digital qualifications.

  • Peer-reviewed texts in print journals can no longer be the only publications to be considered in application and proposal procedures. Various practices of digital scholarly communication, reviewing and publication must be recognised and encouraged.
  • The evaluation of Digital Humanities projects should take new criteria into account: scientific quality, technical quality and usage.
  • The traditional circle of reviewers needs to be broadened: experts on digital media, computer scientists and engineers have to be included in order to allow reliable evaluation.
  • Funding agencies should integrate open peer review and open commentary in their assessment procedures.

 What’s next?

Practitioners and observers often regret the slow pace at which infrastructures evolve. While a new research culture is being established, in which the value of digital means and methods will be fully acknowledged, positive action must be taken to adapt academic structures to new research practices. This is a fundamental and very concrete task for everyone, in each academic field and discipline. We can all contribute to this common reinvention.

The first signers were the participants (on-site and online) of the conference “Research Conditions and Digital Humanities: What are the Prospects for the Next Generation?

Pascal Arnaud
Anne Baillot
Aurélien Berra
Dominique Boullier
Thomas Cauvin
Georgios Chatzoudis
Arianna Ciula
Camille Desenclos
André Donk
Marten Düring
Natalia Filatkina
Sascha Foerster
Sebastian Gießmann
Martin Grandjean
Franziska Heimburger
Christian Jacob
Mareike König
Marion Lamé
Lilian Landes
Matthias Lemke
Anika Meier
Benoît Majerus
Claudine Moulin
Pierre Mounier
Marc Mudrak
Cynthia Pedroja
Jean-Michel Salaün
Markus Schnöpf
Julian Schulz
Bertram Triebel
Milena Žic-Fuchs

Benoit Majerus

Since January 2011, I am working as Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg. I have written my PhD on the occupation of Belgium during World War One and World Two. In 2013 I published a history of psychiatry in the 20th century from below. I am also co-editor of h-madness.

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#dhiha5

La visualisation très réussie de ma proposition de titre pour le manifeste "Yes We Digital"
La visualisation très réussie de ma proposition de titre pour un manifeste à écrire “Yes We Digital”

Les deux derniers jours, j’ai participé à un cycle de discussions autour des Humanités numériques, cycle organisé par le Deutsches Historisches Institut à Paris et qui est à sa cinquième année. 2013 était plus spécifiquement consacrée aux jeunes chercheurs. Afin de préparer les discussions, les organisateurs avaient lancé un appel à contributions. En tout 25 contributions avaient été rédigées… sur différents blogs et donc accessibles à la discussion avant le début de la conférence. Comme souvent lors de ma participation à des conférences des digital humanities, mes remarques ne suivent pas vraiment un fil rouge.

La keynote était un très beau texte de Christian Jacob qu’il a d’ailleurs mis sur son blog le soir même de son intervention. Il s’est livré à une analyse anthropologique sur ce que “chercher” veut dire, en accordant une grande importance à la culture matérielle dans la recherche quotidienne. Cette contribution a néanmoins également fait apparaitre notre très grande méconnaissance de comment fonctionnent les humanités aujourd’hui. Si les Science and Technologies Studies ont investi la physique, la biologie, la chimie, la biomédicine, elles sont restées muettes sur les sciences humaines. Comme le disait Dominique Bouiller, de Sciences Po, cela reste une black box. À quand des études sur la “social construction of historical facts”, pour reprendre le sous-titre d’un livre de Bruno Latour1

Pendant toute la conférence un certain pessimisme était palpable. La précarité parmi les jeunes chercheurs en digital humanities explique probablement un certain alarmisme qui n’a pas été démenti par certains chercheurs plus établis comme Pascal Arnaud qui affirmait que la recherche transversale inhérente aux #dh était une “activité proche du suicide” pour les jeunes chercheurs. Avec d’autres, je plaidais pour une approche plus optimiste – Yes We Digital – qui souligne les opportunités qu’offrent les #dh. Un des moyens de vivre la transversalité serait d’établir des Maisons des Humanités Digitales (MHD) qui, à l’image des Maisons des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH), permettraient d’expérimenter ce Miteinander dans le quotidien.

Comme à chaque dh-conférence, beaucoup de personnes twittaient et il y avait un véritable dialogue avec des gens qui n’étaient pas sur place mais qui suivaient les débats par le livestream ou par le flux Twitter. Jamais je suis aussi impliqué dans des conférences qui ne sont pas sur les #dh. J’y vois vraiment un des intérêts et spécificités majeurs de tels happenings. C’est ainsi qu’est également née l’illustration de cet article. A partir d’un tweet où je proposais comme titre d’un manifeste à écrire ‘Yes We Digital’, Martin Grandjean (@GrandjeanMartin) qui nous suivait de la Suisse créait cette affiche que j’adore. Ce tweet a connu le plus grand succès parmi tous les tweets des deux jours: comme quoi les absents (physiquement) n’ont pas toujours tort.

  1. Latour B. et S. Woolgar, Laboratory life : the social construction of scientific facts, Beverly Hills, Sage Publications, 1979. []

Benoit Majerus

Since January 2011, I am working as Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg. I have written my PhD on the occupation of Belgium during World War One and World Two. In 2013 I published a history of psychiatry in the 20th century from below. I am also co-editor of h-madness.

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A month of ORBilu, a new publications server

Three weeks ago, my university launched a new publications server called ORBilu, which replaced the old one, publications.uni.lu. The reasons for this change are quite evident: the old server contained almost 10 000 references, but was very archaic.

Screenshot from 2013-05-05 20:38:25
Screenshot from publications.uni.lu

With ORBilu you have far more options. The program gained one’s spur at the University of Liège, where it is used since several years.

Screenshot from 2013-05-05 20:41:22

The reference for the same article on ORBilu

ORBiluprovides a far more detailed information sheet for every publication. Each article gets its specific permalink. You can add the pdf to the reference. And you have a little button ‘Statistics’, which allows you to see how often the reference is visualised, how often the article has been downloaded, etc.

In general, measuring the “impact” of what the researchers are doing seems very important to the people behind ORBi: you are able to see the most visualised authors of the university, the most downloaded authors of the university, the most downloaded papers of the university…1.  The initiators of ORBilu point to three major advantages:

“Visibility: by entering the details of your publications, and thanks to indexing by Internet search engines, your research will be visible to other scholars in your field. Wouldn’t it be great to go to Google Scholar, Scirus, etc. and find references to your work?
Accessibility: by including the full-text of your publication, your work isn’t locked away behind a pay wall. Anyone, anywhere can read it.
Impact: if your work is being read, then it is more likely to be cited. Isn’t the main problem with impact the fact that your article or book chapter can’t be found or accessed?”2

What I really like with ORBilu is the fact that the launch of the platform went with a clear engagement of the university in favour of Open Access. In March 2013, Rolf Tarrach, our rector, was among the first signatories of iloveopenaccess.

So I am quite content that the University of Luxembourg set up this initiative, but four points are still problematic.

  • ORBilu is the seventh place where I put my bibliography: I have my personal webpage, my personal space on the history department webpage,  Di-fusion – the publication platform of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), my former employee – , my personal space on the Institut d’Etudes Européennes webpage at the ULB, Academia, the Facebook for academics and ResearchGate, another Facebook for academics. None if these services do allow any automatic exchanges. Theoretically, for every new publication, I have to publish the references on seven sites.
  • My reference manager is Zotero and obviously all my publications are saved into Zotero. ORBilu does not allow a direct integration of these references. You have to use the BibTex format, which does not work perfectly. ORBilu has quite a limited set of formats that are supported (Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, EndNote X, SAO/NASA ADS and BibTeX). They are mainly used in natural sciences and are not very widespread in the humanities. In my history department, Zotero is by far the main reference manager.  Moreover, the majority of these formats are integrated into commercial services such as Elsevier3 , which seems contradictory with iloveopenaccess. It is also impossible to export data from ORBilu to Zotero.
  • The catalogues of the Luxembourgish libraries are closely interconnected. Results on bibnet.lu do however not refer to ORBilu. This is a pity for two reasons. First, it would facilitate the work of the National Library, which has to catalogue “toutes les publications éditées au Luxembourg (…) ainsi que les publications parues à l’étranger en rapport avec le Luxembourg”4. Second, people searching on bibnet.lu could immediately download the publication if available. At the ULB, Di-fusion is nicely integrated into the general catalogue of the university.
  • Finally ORBilu has a very classic approach to what academic work is today: impossible to introduce expositions such as ILux, blog posts such as this one or documentaries such as Call Her Madam. As ORBilu will be used for internal and external evaluations, this disqualifies people trying to “publish” their results on innovative supports.

 

  1. In a fascinating post, Melissa Terras showed how blogging and tweeting about your publications impact your visibility in such repositories []
  2. http://orbilu.uni.lu/ []
  3. This article in the Guardian illustrates why open access and Elsevier are quite antagonistic, to put it mildly. []
  4. http://www.bnl.public.lu/fr/bibliotheque/missions/index.html []

Benoit Majerus

Since January 2011, I am working as Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg. I have written my PhD on the occupation of Belgium during World War One and World Two. In 2013 I published a history of psychiatry in the 20th century from below. I am also co-editor of h-madness.

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[Guest post] Wikipedia & Local History: a case study by Conny Reichling

wikipedia-logo2On February 7, 2013 an UGR Symposium on eLearning took place at the University of Luxembourg at Campus Walferdange. Bob Reuter invited Agnès Prüm (about Moodle), Benoît Majerus (about Twitter) and me to talk about our eLearning experiences in the classroom.

During the summer semester 2011 Sonja Kmec and I animated a seminar using Wikipedia as a tool to work on local history. I presented our experiences at the eLearning colloquium as a case study on “Using Wikipedia as a tool in local history”.

One of the objectives of the seminar was to confront the toolbox (methods of historical analysis and ways of dissemination) of a historian with the possibilities given by the Web 2.0. Compared to the tools a historian would traditionally use, the Web 2.0 blurs the line between author and reader. Everyone can become an author on the Web 2.0 if he or she wishes. Knowledge is travelling faster and is somewhat democratized, providing there is no censorship and there is Internet access. Students were thus encouraged not simply to consume historical texts, but to participate themselves in the production of knowledge. Another purpose of using Wikipedia as a tool for feedback on existing literature and generation of new knowledge was to consolidate the presence of local history on the Internet.

We chose Wikipedia for its dynamic features (as opposed to a blog or a journal) and for its democratic quality control (see TED talk by Jimmy Wales). Students were asked to create or edit a Wikipedia encyclopedia entry about Luxembourgian local history and benefit from the comments added and alterations made to their article in order to complete or correct their final work, which consisted in a traditional scientific essay.

In the course of this experiment with new transmedial methods, Wikipedia became the link between grey literature of difficult access and the Web 2.0 providing information on as good as every subject. Although, the general malaise regarding the use of Wikipedia in an academic environment is still very present in comments made by our students in the anonymous evaluation of your course, such as “I wouldn’t want my work published somewhere else than wiki – meaning a serious webpage” or “Je trouve que le travail sur wikipédia [n’] est absolument pas nécessaire, surtout parce que les profs nous ont interdit d’utiliser ce site”.

Because historiography on Luxembourg – like most local history – is mostly done by laymen and therefore the output consists mainly of so-called grey literature, Sonja and I chose to involve local historians in this project from the start and invited them to attend the seminar by distributing flyers. We recruited 32 participants (13 auditeurs libres and 19 ‘regular’ history students). Although these numbers appeared to be nicely balanced, the students felt somehow threatened by the (mostly) elderly people attending and actively contributing to the seminar. This is very clear from the anonymous evaluation at the end of the term, as the following quotes show: “Zu viele auditeurs libres!!” and “Je pense que le mixe entre étudiants jeunes et séniors était difficile dans ce cours, en particulier à cause du travail sur les ordinateurs.” While some students were obviously more computer literate that most auditeurs libres, this was not the case for all students. While the attending local historians had no qualms about asking for IT advice during class, students did not ask questions during the seminar, but preferred to send emails as to the proper use of Wikipedia afterwards. This may be linked to peer pressure, as their need for help would discriminate them from their own age group or it may be related to their refusal to give up and wish to experiment some more after class.

The participants were to study a geographical site in Luxemburg of their choice and write a few small encyclopedic entries, a bibliography and a scientific paper as well as to discuss their research methods in an oral presentation during the seminar. In order to motivate the students a little bit more, we offered the possibility to publish the best papers – with the author’s name – on a homepage dedicated to this seminar. 5 out of 32 papers met the criteria for publishing, but only two accepted to be published online.

One side product of the seminar consists in the confrontation blurring between historical facts such as learned by the students and the memories (Erinnerung und Gedächtnis) recounted by the older people attending the class. This lead to a more critical understanding of Oral History and written sources, the authority of which were increasingly questioned. Thus we’ve added a session about Oral History and its methods and pitfalls.

Despite the fact that students evidently use Wikipedia very commonly as a source for their work at the university, they are very reluctant when it comes to actually working with Wikipedia. We also noticed that the administrators of Wikipedia are very active and very fast in moderation contributions. The students were free to work on Wikipedia in French, German, English and Luxemburgish, knowing that the Luxembourgian Wikipedians knew about this project and the moderators weren’t quite as severe as on the French Wikipedia for instance where articles not meeting the Wikipedia guidelines would be removed without any warning. On the Luxembourgish Wikipedia, the moderators monitored the entries made by the students and would intervene via comment when things had to be modified.

Most of their critics regarding the students’ Wikipedia contributions concerned the lack of respect of the encyclopedic writing style. Most of the students did indeed copy-paste their scientific papers into the Wikipedia entry without using the proper posting guidelines. This resulted sometimes in heavy editing by more seasoned Wikipedians.

None of the participants was a Wikipedia contributor before the seminar; most remain reluctant towards the active use of Wikipedia. Only a few auditeurs libres and students are still active Wikipedians one year after the seminar took place.

Another idea worth keeping in mind for the years to come is to work closer with the researchers from educational sciences (Bob Reuter) and pick up on their offer to see the seminar scientifically through combining the teaching process with the learning process more thoroughly.

Conny Reichling (on twitter @connyreichling)