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The ethno-wiki project: ethnographic museums in Wikimedia commons

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Abstract
The ethno-wiki project is an initiative to use Wikimedia as a tool to save vulnerable heritage collections of non-western cultures and revive the research on ethnographic artefacts. The project may be able to create a network of small ethnographic collections in different parts of the world, which despite having no money to spend on object databases, still want to become a part of the digital community in order to be less unknown; a network which might also include source communities of ethnographic artefacts in European collections. The idea behind the project is that information should be given in the language(s) of the country of the museum or collection, in English and –if possible- in the language of the ethnographic group that made the objects. The aim to translate information into the native language will enable the descendants of the makers of ethnographical objects to comment on the given information. In this way, people will be able to add that information that they find is important. As their way of looking at things is different than that of western researches and/or admirers of ethnographic artefacts, a discussion will take place between these two groups. What Westerners call an “ethnographical object” is often “an ancestor” in indigenous terms. This exchange of knowledge certainly will contribute to strength of this wikimedia project and will give way to new research. Also this wikimedia project allows for the creation of ‘virtual museums’ within Wikimedia enabling objects disseminated in numerous museums in different continents to be brought togheter. The initiative plans to include objects of ethnographic museums in Wikimedia Commons aiming at the reduction of irreversible loss of cultural diversity. The systematic integration of objects, in particular 'hidden' objects in the reserves of scattered museums, facilitates scientific research on the ethnographic past and the material expression of cultural traditions.
Keywords
network of small ethnographic collections, object databases, Digitalisation

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Chicago
van der Zee, Paulina. 2011. “The Ethno-wiki Project: Ethnographic Museums in Wikimedia Commons.” In Mai-Tagung Newsletter, ed. Martin Thillo. Köln, Germany: Mai. Museums and the Internet.
APA
van der Zee, Paulina. (2011). The ethno-wiki project: ethnographic museums in Wikimedia commons. In M. Thillo (Ed.), Mai-Tagung Newsletter. Presented at the Mai-Tagung 2011, Köln, Germany: Mai. Museums and the Internet.
Vancouver
1.
van der Zee P. The ethno-wiki project: ethnographic museums in Wikimedia commons. In: Thillo M, editor. Mai-Tagung Newsletter. Köln, Germany: Mai. Museums and the Internet; 2011.
MLA
van der Zee, Paulina. “The Ethno-wiki Project: Ethnographic Museums in Wikimedia Commons.” Mai-Tagung Newsletter. Ed. Martin Thillo. Köln, Germany: Mai. Museums and the Internet, 2011. Print.
@inproceedings{1958271,
  abstract     = {The ethno-wiki project is an initiative to use Wikimedia as a tool to save vulnerable heritage collections of non-western cultures and revive the research on ethnographic artefacts. The project may be able to create a network of small ethnographic collections in different parts of the world, which despite having no money to spend on object databases, still want to become a part of the digital community in order to be less unknown; a network which might also include source communities of ethnographic artefacts in European collections.  
The idea behind the project is that information should be given in the language(s) of the country of the museum or collection, in English and --if possible- in the language of the ethnographic group that made the objects. The aim to translate information into the native language will enable the descendants of the makers of ethnographical objects to comment on the given information. In this way, people will be able to add that information that they find is important. As their way of looking at things is different than that of western researches and/or admirers of ethnographic artefacts, a discussion will take place between these two groups. What Westerners call an {\textquotedblleft}ethnographical object{\textquotedblright} is often {\textquotedblleft}an ancestor{\textquotedblright} in indigenous terms. This exchange of knowledge certainly will contribute to strength of this wikimedia project and will give way to new research. 
Also this wikimedia project allows for the creation of {\textquoteleft}virtual museums{\textquoteright} within Wikimedia enabling objects disseminated in numerous museums in different continents to be brought togheter. The initiative plans to include objects of ethnographic museums in Wikimedia Commons aiming at the reduction of irreversible loss of cultural diversity. The systematic integration of objects, in particular 'hidden' objects in the reserves of scattered museums, facilitates scientific research on the ethnographic past and the material expression of cultural traditions.},
  author       = {van der Zee, Paulina},
  booktitle    = {Mai-Tagung Newsletter},
  editor       = {Thillo, Martin},
  keyword      = {network of small ethnographic collections,object databases,Digitalisation},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Bremerhaven, Germany},
  pages        = {4},
  publisher    = {Mai. Museums and the Internet},
  title        = {The ethno-wiki project: ethnographic museums in Wikimedia commons},
  url          = {http://www.mai-tagung.de/mai-tagung+2011/vanderzeedocmai2011.pdf},
  year         = {2011},
}