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 Wikipedia 
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Post Wikipedia
Wikipedia -- from postings here I know that others are aware of this resource, but here is something that might be new for some.

I am currently reading "1759: The year Britain Became Master of the World" by Frank McLynn. It covers the critical conflicts in the Seven Years War that occur that year, primarily land battles, in what is, arguably, the first world-wide war. The Seven Years War had a significant impact on other countries besides Britain, notably France and the US.

While the Internet contains a wealth of information, I find myself going to the Wikipediaencyclopedia site as a starting point for any background searches while reading a new book. I found a feature of the site that was new to me. It probably exists at other resources too, but I found you can search for a "year" as well as a proper name.

A search for 1759 not only reveals events such as the battles but also significant births, deaths, science, literature, music, and ongoing events. If someone were going to read (or write) a book set in 1759, it might be helpful to know that Candide ("for the example of others") was published, George Washington was married, and William Pitt the younger was born. Of course, you would need to do further research but this is a good way to start.

I also looked up my birth year and found that on my birthday the Japanese post-war constitution was implemented. Neat.

Don


Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:59 pm
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Post Re:Wikipedia
Don,
I find myself using Wikipedia more often, also, especially in areas where I have no expertise. I was surprised to see that my own special interest in the US Navy during the Age of Sail to have many articles including ship histories, etc.
Another great thing is that Wikipedia is an Internet community project where anyone with a special area of expertise can add to project. I haven't figured out how to do this yet, but I recommend the possibility to all.
Thanks
PT


Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:10 pm
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PT,

If you haven't already come across it, the best site about the US Navy that I have found is the one belonging to the Naval Historical Center (part of the US Department of the Navy).

This section, Naval History by Period, contains a great deal of interesting information.

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susan


Tue Sep 13, 2005 6:57 pm
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Post Re: Naval Historical Center
Susan,
I've been using the Naval Historical Center now for years. I've yet to make a pilgrimage there though it's on my agenda. They have a subset of the National Archives on microfilm of letters to and from the early Secretaries of the Navy and officers and various naval personnel as well as early manuscripts and logs.
Thanks,
PT


Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:07 pm
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A cautionary note about Wikipedia.

Recently, some news articles have commented that Wikipedia, due to its very nature, has some errors in its informtion. Some are just inadvertant errors and others are intentional. Some schools have told students that Wikipedia citations will not be acceptable and other schools have told their students that it is OK to use Wikipedia but all infomation should be confirmed with another source.

Click Herefor some errors deliberately planted at Wikipedia.

Don


Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:58 pm
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One further comment about errors in Wikipedia.

If you do some searching on-line to see what kind of errors occur in Wikipedia, you will find information that other, more standard, reference materials have errors too. Since this subject received wide-spread media discussions, Wikipedia has been making some attempts to stop malicious entries. Some subjects are "frozen" and changes are approved only through a review group.

Don


Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:42 pm
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I too am a common viewer of Wikipedia, and I have to say that for terms of accuracy, I think it all depends on what you are looking at. If you are looking at something that is debatable or very commonly involving issues that have some sort of value to a person, watch for errors. But if you are looking at a page that is just facts that aren't very commonly debated or talked about (like who will have a grudge over the Polish-Swedish war of 1600-1611 today? Not many people in the streets are going to debate if Sigismund III should have had claim to the Swedish throne.) then error due to deliberate sabotage is very unlikely, so I would not worry as much, but look out for careless errors.
I would never source a wikepedia article in a book I was writing or in a paper for school/college, but I would use it as a place to get my bearings. It is a good place to get some ideas in your head in where to look for good solid sources and maybe even find some sites. To condemn the whole site's efforts just because a few want to make fun of some other people is wrong. But then again, I am always wary of using hte interet for research. Ultimately, I resolve to find books with well sourced information. As a result of that, I have a nice little library of good books sitting behind me now on numerous Age of Sail/European and Atlantic history in the 17th to early 19th century, and the American Civil War.
One good thing I have to say about the wik is that on those rare and uncommonly written about topics, wiki usually comes through to help me find my way more often than just relying on the results from a simple search engine.


Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:12 am
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