Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

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Changeover Week

The welcome home Olympic parades have started in Australia just as Paralympians are preparing for the opening of the Paralympic Games in eight days time in London.

The official website for the Paralympic Games has detailed information about the schedule for the 21 sports in the program (29 August to 9 September).

The ABC is covering the Games in Australia.

This year’s Paralympic Games have a particular resonance with me. For the last twelve months or so I have been following an ambitious project to write a Wikipedia history of Australian Paralympians. As of 18 August, there were 190 articles available on Wikipedia, and they had been viewed a total of 114,949 times in the past month. In addition, there have been 19 Wikinews articles viewed a total of 17,281 times.

The project has been overseen by Tony Naar of the Australian Paralympic Committee. Tony is the first keynote speaker at a Disability Conference being held in Coventry later this week. His topic is Claiming and understanding the history of a movement – the Australian Paralympic history project. This is his Prezi presentation for the keynote.

I imagine Tony’s presentation will be illustrated with the APC’s remarkable collection of images. This month one of the newest members of the Wikipedia history project team, Tara McPhail, started to upload images from the 2011 Australian Paralympic Team processing sessions into Wikimedia Commons.

Laura Hale is going to report on the Games and has an excellent blog post about mobile reporting.

It is likely that the Games in London will see the award of Australia’s 1000th Paralympic medal. To date Australian Paralympians have won 960 medals at Paralympic Games.

Photo Credits

Brad Ness

Louise Sauvage



I have immense admiration for a current Wikimedia Australia project.

A group of volunteers are developing a history of Australian Paralympic Sport.

Recent contributions have included:

1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Ray Epstein

Australia at the 2012 Paralympic Games

Kerri-Anne Connor

Carolyn Connors

Paralympic Coaches (Brad Dubberley; Iryna Dvoskina; Scott Goodman; John Eden; Louise Sauvage; Gerry Hewson)

I am in awe of the personal investment in authorship for this project.

This week an important issue has been raised about the equity of treatment for athletes in Wikipedia. My understanding is that this issue is about Notability.

I do not visit many Wikipedia Talk pages but I will be following the conversation about paralympians. At present there is a vibrant discussion between Roger and DJ Sasso.

Roger’s opening remarks:

According to WP:NOLYMPICS an athlete is presumed notable if they have competed at any Olympic games, but for Paralympic athletes the barrier is set far higher as only medallists are presumed to be notable. “Athletes from any sport are presumed notable if they have competed at the Summer or Winter Olympic games or have won a medal at the Paralympic Games”. I propose to change this so that Olympians and Paralympians are treated equally: “Athletes from any sport are presumed notable if they have competed at the Summer or Winter Olympic or Paralympic Games. Roger (talk) 13:56, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Amidst the exchange between Roger and DJ Sasso, the latter points out that “All information included in Wikipedia, including articles about sports, must be verifiable. In addition, standalone articles are required to meet the General Notability Guideline.

The growth of the Paralympic project will provide an important focus for the notability debate on Wikipedia. What I do find remarkable is that there advocates and custodians who can animate this debate.

A remarkable group of people discussing another remarkable group of people.

Photo Credits

xx0992 Barcelona Paralympics (101)

xx0992 Barcelona Paralympics (104)

Kurt Fearnley


HOPAU Update: 11 November

This week Tony Naar produced an update for his colleagues at the the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) on the The History of the Paralympics in Australia project  in Wikiversity.

He noted that “one element of the project is the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia products to ‘crowd source’ articles about the Paralympic Movement in Australia” which can then feed into the history of the Movement being written by Murray Phillips.

Tony reports that this has involved the creation of a project The History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia in Wikiversity. The Wikiversity site is a living record of the project which can be updated by anyone at any time. You can sign up to join the discussion or can ask to receive regular updates. There is a project blog too (coordinated by Leigh Blackall). The idea is to create a record of the project and its development which can be used by anyone to develop their own project.

Tony adds:

  • Since we started this part of the project – about three months ago – project contributors have created more than 350 new Wikipedia articles relating to the Paralympic movement in Australia.
  • This includes an article about every Australian Paralympic medallist.
  • Most of these articles are known as “stubs”. That is, they are very brief articles that need to be expanded.
  • The article about Tim Matthews is an example of a stub about an Australian Paralympic athlete.
  • Expanding the stubs is one of the next steps in the project. This is already happening, and the article about Elizabeth Edmondson is an example of an expanded, more comprehensive article.
  • Expanding articles is a lot of work, as information in articles must be verifiable and references to sources are expected.
  • Photographs also help, and another aspect of the project is to scan and upload images under a Creative Commons licence which can be used in articles and in the history project more generally.
  •  These include images to which the APC has the rights, but which have no other commercial value to the APC.
  • These are uploaded into Wikimedia Commons – a media sharing database. So far, we have uploaded 94 images, mostly from the 1996 Paralympic Games. We are currently scanning images from the 1992 Games and more from 1996 and these will be uploaded in coming weeks.

In addition, Tony writes:

“Within the Wiki community, we are promoting the project by seeking recognition for the articles that are being created. One way of doing this is to create an interesting “hook” about an article and apply to have the hook included on the home page of Wikipedia in the “Did you know…” (DYK) section. This is a sought after achievement within the Wikipedia community and we have been successful with 10 DYKs  so far. The latest is a DYK about 1996 basketball gold medallist and 2004 Gliders coach Gerry Hewson.

Laura Hale – a member of the University of Canberra team which works with us on this project – has written a very interesting account of the Paralympic DYKs, including the page view stats for each article.

The athlete profile pages on the APC’s website have always been the most popular pages. Articles about athletes on Wikipedia have the potential to increase this exposure significantly.

Laura is working to have one of our articles accepted as a featured article on the Wikipedia main page. That is a high achievement within the Wikipedia community and requires a comprehensive article, fully referenced and supported by good images, about a notable person or event.

We are currently considering ways to increase the number of experienced Wikipedians who are working on Paralympic articles. One suggestion would also incorporate a Wikipedian creating articles about Australian medallists during the London Games.

To help create the Wikipedia articles, we are working to build a pool of editors with an interest in Paralympic sport. To that end, we have held training days recently in Perth and Brisbane and we now have well over a dozen people, either from the Paralympic community, or from the Wikipedia community, who are editing and contributing to articles. These include Paralympians such as Elizabeth Edmondson and Peter Marsh, friends and partners of Paralympians and people who have just somehow gotten involved.

In the near future, we are looking to do something a bit unique for Wikipedia – to add embedded video and audio into Paralympic articles and also to record the subjects of articles reading the article about themself. Sources of audio and video will include the National Library’s Paralympic oral history project and interviews conducted by Shaun Giles with the oral history interview subjects, as well as other video footage to which the APC has the rights.”

Photo Credits

Elizabeth Edmondson

Louise Sauvage

Peter Martin

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BPS2011: Towards the End

We are into the last two weeks of the Business, Politics and Sport (BPS2011) unit at the University of Canberra.

Leigh Blackall and I have been co-teaching this unit and have met 95 remarkable students on the course.

Essays are due in this week and these have been developed over the course with students using Wikiversity as their platform.

I am using this post to catch up with the last month of activity.

Tony Naar presented a fascinating account of the Australian Paralympic Movement a month ago. There is a post about Tony’s talk on the BPS2011 blog. His talk ended with this remarkable video of the 1960 Paralympians which embodied for me everything that is special about sport as a playful cultural form. It was one of those Field of Dreams moments for me.

A week later I presented some information about how sport might unite or divide communities. My Slidecast is here.

Last week we listened to Alannah Magee’s story of her journey into the sports business. Her exhortation for agile business practice based upon profound ethical values and service was a perfect synthesis of some of the key issues in BPS2011 around the commodification and politicisation of sport.

Alannah used some examples from her work at and with Sportsmans Warehouse. Information about the company and work with community can be found on the SW website developed by Osky Interactive.

This week in the unit I aim to provide an overview of the unit and end with a practice for our open book exam next week. This is the Slidecast I will use for the presentation:


Photo Credit

Swimming Exams at Newcastle Ocean Baths 1953