Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A New Wikipedia Entry on Ned Ward

At the start of this year the Wikipedia entry on Ned Ward (here) was useless. Which was particularly annoying to me because I wanted to include at least an excerpt of Ward's The London Spy on my eighteenth-century survey course at Monash, and the library resources on Ward were thin (to say the least: they had no edition at all of The London Spy in the general collection).

The entry on Ward was a particularly good example of just how insubstantial the public-domain resources are for students (or scholars) who stray beyond the confines of typical survey-course authors of the period, such as Swift, Johnson, Fielding etc.

And, unlike Aaron Hill's afterpiece The Walking Statue; Or, the Devil in the Wine Cellar (1710)—which I have described elsewhere as "one of those relatively minor eighteenth-century works, by a relatively minor eighteenth-century writer"—The London Spy is constantly being quoted, and is known by every student of the eighteenth-century. Nevertheless, it's author "hardly casts a shadow on the internet."

In order to do something about this, and to give my more experienced and talented students a more useful assessment task than they were accustomed to, I asked them to produce a replacement Wikipedia entry on Ned Ward. Which they did, and did extremely well.

And so today—somewhat belatedly—I uploaded Annie Blachly's entry on Ned Ward. It is a vast improvement on the existing entry. I hope it survives its editorial scrutiny (not all rewrites do), prompts many edits, corrections and additions. Thanks Annie!

[UPDATE 13 November 2010. As of yesterday the "stub tag" was removed from the Wikipedia entry on Ned Ward. It is now a fully fledged, fair dinkum entry. Which means it survived its editorial scrutiny!]

No comments: