Paralympic history made visible

How one of Australia’s longest running and successful Wikipedia equity projects is preserving Australian paralympic history

In the lead-up to the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, Wikimedia Australia has welcomed the release by Paralympics Australia of further historic images from our paralympic history under Creative Commons license.

Over the last month, nearly 100 images from past paralympics and were uploaded for widespread usage. This included 40 images the 2014 Sochi Paralympics and 52 images from the 2018 winter Paralympics.

The release brings the total of images licensed under Creative Commons by Paralympics Australia to more than 3,300 since 2011 through the Australian Paralympic history project. Since that time, these images have been used in hundreds of Wikipedia articles about Paralympians, the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic movement in Australia.

Tony Naar presents on the Australian Paralympic history project

Many appear in the 1,093 articles created through the project itself in collaboration with Wikimedia Australia and volunteer Wikipedia editors.

Australian Paralympics Project is one of Australia’s longest running and successful Wikipedia equity projects, run by Tony Naar, Greg Blood and Ross Mallett, who have worked since 2010 to create and improve pages about Australian paralympic history.

Research on the project has shown that the top 100 articles by pageviews are more than five times as likely to contain photos as those in the bottom 100 by pageviews.

The release of images from the 2014 Paralympic Games also highlights the exceptional quality of the Wikipedia articles about Australia at those Games and the athletes in the team – each of those 12 articles is rated as a “Good Article”, a rating reserved for high quality articles in Wikipedia. While just 0.55% of all articles in Wikipedia have that rating, more than 5% of all articles in the Paralympic history project do.

The images now released were taken by the official Paralympics Australia photographer in Sochi, Explorer-Media. They provide a unique insight into the athletes and the elements that make up the Games. They can now be added to the articles to improve them even further, as well as being available for wider use.

The recently released images can be found here in Wikimedia Commons: Images from the Australian Paralympic Committee of the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games and Images from the Australian Paralympic Committee from the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

From 2014-2019, funding from the Australian Research Council Linkage Scheme (LP130101031) grant supported a project between the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences (Professor Murray Phillips and Associate Professor Gary Osmond) at the University of Queensland and Paralympics Australia (Tony Naar). Outputs from this work include the Paralympic Stories website, and a forthcoming book.

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