WIScking Ideas


Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia was launched in January 2001, and its articles now represent a major resource for understanding the world. Many of these articles have been negotiated and edited for a decade or more, and the history of that editing can provide insight into the recent history of ideas. This paper describes the development of a tool called WIScker that works with the Wikipedia Application Programming Interface (API) to scrape, or ‘wisck,” the revision history of any Wikipedia article, in order to build a corpus for subsequent text analysis and visualization. As an example, we examine a fourteen-year revision history of the article ‘Terrorism,’ first introduced into Wikipedia in October 2001, the month after 911, and subsequently expanded to provide a more historically informed, though still politically motivated, entry.

Journal of the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities