The rush to Wikipedia

September 12 2018

Image of The rush to Wikipedia

Picture: National Gallery of Scotland

It's been pointed out to me that the National Galleries of Scotland are also relying on Wikipedia for their artist biographies. At least with the NGS each artist gets a short paragraph of their own text, but it strikes me as another cheap way out of providing authoritative content.

The Gallery's own brief entry for George Jamesone (above) describes him as 'Scotland's first great native painter', which is true. But the Wikipedia biography hardly stands this claim up. A former director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Dr Duncan Thomson, actually wrote the book on Jamesone; it's a shame that the current Gallery website doesn't capitalise on this expertise. 

Some Wikipedia fans keep saying; why don't you go and make the Wikipedia entries better? First, it's not my job. And second, those people have clearly never had to do battle with the various (always anonymous) self-proclaimed experts who lurk in Wikipedia's depths. I'm afraid it's very rarely worth the bother. 

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