Historical Fudgery: Using Wikipedia as a Portal

J. Kathleen Cheney

When I spoke about Historical Research at the DFW Writer’s Conference earlier this month, one of the things I mentioned was using Wikipedia.

Now I always suggest taking any Wiki with a grain of salt. As a user, you don’t know who’s posting the info there. But I wanted to mention one way in which Wiki became invaluable to me in researching 1902 Portugal.

I used it extensively as a portal to Portuguese Wikipedia.

Let me give you an example:
Here’s the English Wiki Page for Matosinhos, a town where part of The Golden City is set.

screen

As you can see, there’s hardly anything there. Apparently English speakers don’t care much about this town.

But if you look down the left sidebar, you can see several other languages available.

When I click on Portuguese, I get this version of the page:

screen 2

You can see that there’s a LOT more information…

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