How is cultural authority visualized in social media through the publication, revision, and erasure of citations? This poster highlights the social dimensions of Wikipedia’s creation, revision, and dissemination. Many of us may be familiar with the mechanics of knowledge production on Wikipedia: the "citation needed" requests that follow unattributed information on Wikipedia pages, the lengthy revision histories available to interested readers, the use of bots as well as human editors, the privileging of public domain images (among other dimensions). Attention will be paid to the interfaces of the Wikipedia and its articles: their performative dimensions as sites of cultural authority, the edit histories of articles and the forms of gatekeeping revealed in patterns of page revisions, and the visualization tools created by the Wikipedia community to visualize patterns in composition and citation. More broadly, I want to situate the investments in particular patterns and performances of curation and citation present in Wikipedia within the larger context of modes of cultural production found on the web, focusing particular attention on forms of erasure and practices that, for various reasons, disavow or ignore investments in citation and attribution: screencapping, the creation of image macros, and other transformative uses of cultural objects on Twitter, Tumblr, and other platforms.
I use Wikipedia pages related to poet John Ashbery to highlight the ways ideas of literature circulate in one of the world’s largest and most accessible encyclopedic resources. I am interested in Ashbery because of his literary stature in the eyes of segments of North American and global audiences. Additionally, Ashbery creates particular challenges for scholars (and other readers) interested in periodization and reception history; he has ties to several literary coteries across time and space (the New York School, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry), his work has been praised by scholars, journalists, and MTV (among other audiences), andhe continues (as of this writing) to publish new material that unsettles the work being done to cement his legacy. The various editorial and citational practices involved in creating and revising that legacy on Wikipedia can tell us much about the impact of academic and scholarly works, the privileging of certain modes of reading and cultural analysis, and the various investments in certain ideas about the value of poetry that circulate on the web. Wikipedia is an extremely visible and malleable public space where competing claims about aesthetics collide and re-collide.