#DigitalSelves Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: Friday 29 July

Join the conversation @stillpointLDN   //   #DigitalSelves   //   Join our Facebook event

As part of our inaugural online symposium Digital Selves in Research, we’re hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at the beautiful Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, from 3-5:45pm on Friday 29 July.

Inspired by previous ‘Wikithons’ from around the world – including Art+Feminism‘s annual global event, which last year added a staggering 334 pages for women artists – we will be getting together to create or improve Wikipedia articles on the subjects closest to our hearts: from medieval sci-fi to Victorian agriculture to contemporary beat poetry.

Why are we embarking on such a project? Simply put, we love to share our research, and Wikipedia is the ultimate open-access journal. Quite often, our research pays loving attention to under-studied subjects, people, stories, and places: whether they are women, people of colour, from outside of Western Europe or the US. We might also be making ‘new’ discoveries: names, dates, works of literature or art that have been hidden away, uncatalogued and invisible in plain sight in archives, libraries, or homes. And, let’s be honest, Wikipedia is still a point of call for many of us when a key date or name has popped out of our heads – so why not use it like our own researcher’s notebook?

The Maughan Library will be a great base, with access to online and real life journals, books, and a music and DVD collection. We will also have some snack supplies to keep us going! Best of all, post editing we’ll all relocate to Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1AA, for the symposium after-party 6-8pm.

Take part in the #DigitalSelves Edit-a-thon: in person

Everyone is welcome to drop in any time between 3-5:30pm at the Maughan Library but please note: if you are a student or researcher at any of these institutions, you must bring your ID card.

If you are NOT registered at an institution on the list, just drop us an email with your full name, contact details, and what time you’ll be arriving to blog[at]thestillpointjournal[dot]com.

Editing Wikipedia is simple, and members of the blog team will be on hand to help. You don’t have to do any planning before the session, although it would save some time if you scope out which pages you’re interested in that might need a little TLC, what books and journals are available in the King’s library catalogue, and if you can register on Wikipedia before you arrive.

Take part in the #DigitalSelves Edit-a-thon: wherever you are!

Can’t make it to the Maughan? Wherever you are (out of London, or out of the UK!) you are very welcome to join the edit-a-thon virtually. We will be twittering and facebooking our progress and we would love to hear from far-flung participants. Remember we’re on British Summer Time, 3-5:30pm.

Whether you’re planning on taking part at the Maughan or from wherever you are in the world, we’d love to hear your plans and progress. Whether you make just a tiny reference edit, or end up creating an encyclopedic series of new pages, we want to keep track of all the knowledge shared on the 29 July.

Tweet us @stillpointldn or use the tag #DigitalSelves. You can also join our Facebook event. Even simpler, comment below.

Get the details in your diaries, start gathering your ideas, and we can’t wait to meet you and your Wikipedia pet projects.

#DigitalSelves Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: meet up for researchers to edit Wikipedia pages together @ The Maughan Library, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LR.

Find out what else is going on, see our full symposium programme.

For the uninitiated, here’s Wikipedia’s own wiki on how to get started with editing (yes, it’s a wiki about a wiki), or take a look at the video below.

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Three Hundred Years of Birdsong: Sound and Nature

Jess hamstead heath

Last Monday it rained, and on Hampstead Heath a record of birdsong included greenfinch, goldfinch, coot, long tailed tit, song thrush, chaffinch, stock-dove, jay, green woodpecker, crows and rose-winged parakeets (not to forget a pond-life of tufted duck, shoveler, cormorant, gadwall, mute swans and a great crested grebe).

In 1728, after a spring shower, the poet James Thomson listed the sounds of the cuckoo, blackbird, wood-lark, song thrush, nightingale, linnet, bullfinch, stock-dove, rook, crow and jackdaw. He then used this to map human intrusion into a non-human world, to explain the intangibility of the spaces we inhabit, even in our desire to quantify them.

Thomson’s poem is peppered with an incompatibility of natural world and human understanding; a boy disturbing a trout and shattering the water surface, a plough breaking the earth and the toil of the ox pulling it, the corrupt lovers tainting the woods. Faced with this, Thomson tends to look back, desiring an inaccessible arcadia.

Our time is characterised by understanding the natural world through a language of loss and crisis, and, even three hundred years later, it is tempting to view nature through painful nostalgia. A golden age now closed to us.

Searching for nature in his own time, Thomson transposes the non-human into currents of sound, wind and water. His is a poem of noise and light, of elements, breezes, clouds and vapours, filled with mingling winds, ‘rustling deer’ and birdsong. He uses observation of noise to create verse, and places ideas over this, a transparency secondary to the world they exist within.

On Hampstead Heath today, the birdsong is joined by shouting, by flight-paths, sirens, traffic, music, dogs barking [1]. A post-pastoral understanding of the natural world creates space to understand the necessary journey away from Thomson’s golden age. The task now is to understand a natural world free from nostalgia, to accept the mixture of sounds, of nature and of intrusion, and to look at what is left, and what can be done.


Jessica Frith is a PhD candidate in the English Department at King’s College London. She is interested in taking the study of literature closer to the physicality of nature, in reconstructing the eighteenth century poet-naturalist in a modern age, and in the importance of words within the environment. Follow Jessica @lutra__

[1] Audio from the London Sound Survey, Highgate Cemetery, recorded by Chris/dashanna and available at ‘Hampstead Health, Highgate, Archway’ on the sound map.  Listen to and contribute sounds from all around the city via their website.