November 21, 2012
Earlier this summer, we ran a Historical Research Competition to help promote and publicize our UNZ.org content-archiving website, and the results were very satisfactory. Numerous excellent submissions were received, the prizes were awarded, and probably as a consequence our daily pageviews doubled and unique visitors nearly tripled.
As it happened, the winning research entry selected by our panel of judges was slightly different from what we had originally anticipated, being an extremely detailed and thorough enhancement of the Wikipedia entry for Encounter, a very significant London-based intellectual magazine of the Cold War era. As I discussed in announcing the result, the previous Encounter entry had merely been a stub of just a few sentences; but the winner expanded that description so that it become at least as detailed and thorough as that of any other publication found within Wikipedia, alive or dead, and far beyond what exists for such prominent periodicals as The Atlantic, Time, or The Nation.
Now that students or researchers can easily obtain very solid background information on that Encounter, the usefulness of the actualEncounter Archives we provide should be greatly enhanced.
We believe there would be great benefit in having similarly detailed and thorough descriptions produced for many of the other dozens of prominent publications in our system. Therefore, we are announcing a new Research Competition aimed at achieving this result. A $5,000 First Prize and two $1,000 Runners-Up Awards will be made to the best and most detailed enhancements of the Wikipedia entries for any of the hundred-plus publications in our system, with some of the most prominent ones of the past being listed here, including The North American Review, Century Magazine, The Forum, The Outlook, Scribners, The Reporter, and various others. Our Contest Website containsthe rules for the new competition.
At times, I have previously discussed the degree to which the disappearance of prominent publications may have created a “lost history” of the past, even including so recent a period as the second half of the twentieth century. As an even more extreme example, a monthly magazine called California Journal was for thirty-five years probably one of the most influential political publications in our largest state, up until the time it ceased printing in the mid-2000s. Yet today it does not even possess a Wikipedia entry, stub or not.
Although this competition will not close until the end of the January, contestants who begin quickly may be able to make the sort of large and comprehensive additions to the Wikipedia entry of an important periodical which are most likely to capture an award. Once they begin working on a Wikipedia entry, previous registrants should notify us of their Wikipedia Editor handles so they can receive proper credit for their work, while new participants should submit that information when they register.
On a different matter, various individuals had notified us over the last few months of their difficulties in reading our website PDFs on various different browsers or hardware tablets. We have now incorporated a Google software module into our system, making it much easier to read any of our PDFs on almost any browser or table, including the various iPads, Kindle Fires, Nexuses, or other systems.