Wikipedia:There is a deadline

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The lost Library of Alexandria, only one of many destroyed libraries in antiquity, lost long before Wikisource had a chance to save their contents.

Practically every day, distinct forms of knowledge are lost forever and no copies are available. When a natural disaster hits a region or a war breaks out, libraries, archives, museums, monuments and other artifacts of heritage, valuable buildings, incunabula and unique objects are destroyed or face the threat of destruction. These events usually remove pieces of human knowledge and sometimes entire cultures.

Historical instances of loss of knowledge

Birmingham Central Library fire aftermath, 1879.

There are plenty of examples of permanent loss of knowledge before Wikipedia's existence:1

Modern examples of loss of knowledge

Unfortunately, the destruction of knowledge has not ceased with Wikipedia's inception in 2001. Here are a few examples:

Mural painting in the Purila Manor depicting landlord Friedrich Gustav von Helffreich's (1759-1845) townhouse in Tallinn, Estonia. Almost erased by age.

Future threats

The current coverage of Wikimedia Commons is imbalanced (2.9M geolocated images in the map). We must preserve the current world to the future generations. Imagine a project like Geograph Britain and Ireland26 but globally.

Today, a lot of the world's languages are endangered27 or nearly extinct because "only a few elderly speakers are still living".28 The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of material on the nearly 7,000 known human languages.29

Furthermore, hundreds of websites are closed every day on the Internet; the average life of a web page is only 77 days.30 Those websites work in many cases as references. Projects like the Internet Archive or WebCitation and volunteer groups like Archive Team31 save copies of some of them, but many others are lost forever. This issue affects Wikimedia projects too, and mirrors are needed to assure long-term preservation of the data.

Wikipedia and its sister projects can—and must—save all these forms of knowledge, through creating articles, uploading images and recordings to Wikimedia Commons, preserving languages in Wiktionary and transcribing books into Wikisource. Events like Wiki Loves Monuments may help to immortalize monuments around the world before they are damaged or destroyed.32

There is a deadline. This is a battle against time.

Gallery

See also

El Vaporcito, a famous ship in Andalusia and Property of Cultural Interest in Spain, sunk in 2011 (photo taken in 2007).

References

  1. ^ a b Lost Memory — Libraries and Archived Destroyed in the Twentieth Century (Archived at WebCite)
  2. ^ Notes on the history of Birmingham Public Libraries (1861-1961), Birmingham, 1962 
  3. ^ (Spanish) El martirio de los libros: una aproximación a la destrucción bibliográfica durante la Guerra Civil (Archived at WebCite)
  4. ^ "$45,000 Fire Drives Families From Homes in Little Ferry", Bergen Evening Record, July 9, 1937, p. 1. Quoted by Richard Koszarski in Fort Lee: The Film Town, Indiana University Press, 2005, pp. 339–341. ISBN 978-0-86196-652-3.
  5. ^ It Has Been Done Before! Reconstituting War-Ravaged Libraries (Archived at WebCite)
  6. ^ Aftermath of the Warsaw Uprising, Planned destruction of Warsaw and Polish culture during World War II
  7. ^ Tibetan monks: A controlled life (Archived at WebCite)
  8. ^ Erasing the Past: The Destruction of Libraries and Archives in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Archived at WebCite)
  9. ^ Original moon walk footage erased
  10. ^ The Central University Library of Bucharest, official site: "the History".
  11. ^ "Photos of the Iraq National Library 2003–08". Archived from the original on 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  12. ^ (German) Hilfe für Anna Amalia (Archived at WebCite)
  13. ^ Archive Collapse Disaster for Historians - Spiegel Online International (Archived at WebCite)
  14. ^ Shechmeister, Matthew (2009-11-03). "Ghost Pages: A Wired.com Farewell to GeoCities". Wired.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  15. ^ Haiti Cultural Recovery Project (Archive copy at the Wayback Machine)
  16. ^ Breaking: Images of Egyptian Museum Damage -UPDATE 34- King Tut Objects Damaged? (Archived at WebCite)
  17. ^ Amid army crackdown, Egypt’s richest library set on fire (Archived at WebCite)
  18. ^ Un incendio durante los disturbios de El Cairo destruye el original de la 'Descripción de Egipto' encargada por Napoleón (Archived at WebCite)
  19. ^ Timbuktu's Sidi Yahia mosque 'attacked by Mali militants' (Archived at WebCite)
  20. ^ Islamists vow to smash every mausoleum in Timbuktu (Archived at WebCite)
  21. ^ Towering inferno engulfs Mumbai’s seat of power (Archived at WebCite)
  22. ^ Mumbai government building engulfed in fire (Archived at WebCite)
  23. ^ Damage to the soul: Syria's cultural heritage in conflict (Archived at WebCite)
  24. ^ "Un rayo destruye un emblemático santuario en Muxía". El Mundo. 2013-12-25. Archived from the original on 2013-12-25. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  25. ^ "Lebanon Loses 78000 Books To Terrorism: Tripoli’s “Al Sa’eh” Library Burned". Archived from the original on 2014-01-05. 
  26. ^ The Geograph Britain and Ireland project (Archived at WebCite)
  27. ^ Endangered Languages Project (Archived at WebCite)
  28. ^ Endangered languages Ethnologue: Languages of the World. (Archived at WebCite)
  29. ^ The Rosetta Project items from The Long Now Foundation
  30. ^ Internet Archive Frequently Asked Questions (Archived at WebCite)
  31. ^ Archive Team website (Archived at WebCite)
  32. ^ Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 - European website (Archived at WebCite)

Further reading

External links








Creative Commons License