WikiTopia Archives by ArkeoTopia

  • Published: Tuesday, 19 May 2020 11:24
  • Written by Anaïs Engler and Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond, translated by Rupert Salmon
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  • 19 May

The WikiTopia Archives program launched in March 2018 by the association ArkéoTopia®, an alternative approach to archaeology, aims to encourage the digitization of archival documents belonging to private individuals in order to ensure their free and public distribution as well as the study of these documents via Open source tools.

The WikiTopia Archives program

A WikiTopia Archives session, rue de Cléry / CC BY 4.0 Gallic BeauchefWikiTopia Archives is a program for digitization of archaeological sources run by the association ArkéoTopia®, an alternative approach to archaeology. Launched in March 2018, with a first corpus of letters from the 19th century, the program is aimed at individuals interested in archaeology and at archaeologists, both students and researchers. Its objective is to encourage them to digitize and then publish their historical sources on Wikimedia via the Open Source tools. In this way, the various documents will be accessible to the greatest number of people all over the world and research on them will be encouraged.

Back to the genesis of the program

In 2015, David Commarmond, archaeology lover and member of the ArkéoTopia association, found a batch of six letters written between 1838 and 1850 by the hand of Ambroise Comarmond (1786-1857). He was an important member of Lyon’s society, doctor, and then curator of the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, and had an epistolary relationship with Anatole de Barthélémy (1821-1904), archaeologist and high official, close to Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870). These six letters are part of a larger corpus of 200 letters which groups together several correspondences between Anatole de Barthélémy and his contemporaries. Considerations on daily socio-economic life but also exchanges on the role of archaeology, then an emerging discipline, are slowly built up through these lines. Interest in these sources led us, as an association of archaeology, to mobilize some of our members in order to acquire these letters on the understanding that they would be subject to digitization and public distribution.

Once the letters were in our possession, we wanted to make them accessible for scientific and heritage purposes. Already involved in the Wikimedia galaxy for the improvement of articles in the Wikipedia encyclopaedia or on the organization of the Wiki Loves Monuments competition, we chose to digitize them on Wikimedia Commons, then to transcribe them on Wikisource in order to publish them on the web for free access. In 2020, we digitized 10% of the corpus.

Why Wikimedia ?

Beginning of a transcription on WikiSource / CC BY WikiSourceWe chose Wikimedia for its free license, the solidity and internationalization of data as well as its strong community. For us, it was important that these documents, once put online, could be accessible from everywhere and by everyone. In this way, we also highlight how digitization can open data to scientific research without despoiling the owners of the sources. Our initiative is in line with other works carried out by the scientific community such as the programs of the National Museum of Natural History of Paris for Contributing to the improvement of knowledge on biodiversity or the program Bulliot, Bibracte and me, for the transcription and documentation of the archives of excavations carried out by Archéorient on the celtic site of Bibracte-Mont Beuvray.

And after ?

With this first experience, we hope to encourage private individuals to enhance their personal collections, archaeology students to contribute to the work of referencing, and researchers to take note of the information on display and to study them. The goal is to complete the current project on Anatole de Barthélémy's archives and to initiate others, all archaeological periods combined.

The digital workspaces of the program

arrow Access to the discussion area with contributors is via the "Projet:WikiTopia_party" entry on Wikipedia.
arrow The digital archives are accessible from the Commons Category:Media_contributed_by_ArkéoTopia and their transcription is available on the WikiSource website at the entries WikiSource website at the entries correspondences of Anatole de Barthélemy and Ambroise Comarmond.

Join the program

You are the owner of interesting archaeological archives, contact us using the online form. We guarantee the anonymity of the owner while allowing him to be contacted through the association by researchers interested in his documents. Thus, all the digitized documents indicate, without providing his name, a private owner, who can be contacted via ArkéoTopia. You are an archaeology lover, a student or an archaeologist and you wish to join the WikiTopia Archives program, contact us using the online form. We welcome all interested people capable of taking time to digitize, transcribe, perform hash programs, or study documents.

To find out more about ArkéoTopia, take a look at the ArkéoTopia's institutional video or write to us using the online form.

Contact us

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Call logo  +33 6 22 03 32 33

Postal Address logo  ArkeoTopia, 36 Reculet 78730 Longvilliers (France)

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