Recently the Bulgarian State Archives Agency gave a green light to cooperation with Wikipedia in Bulgarian and this way Bulgaria became the fifth country after the US, UK, the Netherlands, and Norway to start such an initiative. Here is more from the chairman of the Archives Agency Martin Ivanov.
“The idea was born during a conference abroad. Our colleagues from the National Archives and Records Administration of the US shared their experience working with Wikipedia in English. After the start of their cooperation with Wikipedia the number of visitors to their web site had grown from 17 million annually to 12 million a day. I decided that this was a great opportunity for the state archives, as there are many people who do not know anything about this archive and the treasures it stores.”
After this conference Mr. Ivanov contacted the Bulgarian administrators of Wikipedia, who naturally showed huge interest towards cooperating with the state archive. What will be the information published in Wikipedia?
“The archive is an enormous source and what the editors of Wikipedia find interesting and useful for the readers would be published. Three experts of the archive will keep contact with the Wikipedians. We are to send them information but they may also come to the archive. In the US a Wikipedian worked as a volunteer in the archive in order to learn more about the information stored there. Our US colleagues have also vowed to help us in the organization of the process here.”
Here is what one of the Bulgarian editor of Wikipedia Iliana Slavova told Radio Bulgaria.
„We are to focus on history and culture as it turned out that the archives are full of information about people from the sphere of culture, for example about opera singers and actors. There is also a vast archive about football clubs in Bulgaria too.”
Wikipedians are also interested in old maps and historical documents. Often historical information about Bulgaria found in Wikipedia is not very detailed and there is lack of illustrations and photographs. We asked Martin Ivanov how users would recognize which articles in Wikipedia came from the state archives?
“When one clicks on an illustration, information about the archive will be displayed. Also sources of the information are always displayed. We have reached an agreement for accurate footnotes to be provided for each page. Our goal is not advertising the Archives Agency but turning the Bulgarian version of Wikipedia into an instrument for spreading knowledge and information.”
Who are the Bulgarian Wikipedians, or editors of this free and useful encyclopedia?
“People working in Wikipedia are always volunteers,” Iliana Slavova says. “There are scientists and lecturers who write articles for Wikipedia free. People who are not experts also contribute to the content of Wikipedia and that is why monitoring of the published information is needed. This is what editors do. There are also some users who intentionally try to publish incorrect or obscene information. This happens all over the world and we have to react fast enough.”
Currently there are about 100 editors taking care of a total of 128,000 articles in Bulgarian.
English: Alexander Markov