Internet estate curation?
August 30, 2011 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Internet estate curation, or: How to get a better biography of an author "out there"?

My granddad was a writer of some standing in Germany. We've put together a better bio than is currently in circulation - better in the sense of more complete - and I'm trying to figure out how best to publish it. Am I right to think of his Wikipedia page(s) as the most stable/official-ish place for it? Is the etiquette for contributing bios to Wikipedia laid out anywhere? Do they need to have been published elsewhere to count? (Ours, written by his daughter as manager of his estate, hasn't been.) Are there alternative "definitive" author resources to tend to (e.g. is his entry to be thought of as such)?
posted by progosk to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
You can usually put accurate and objective information about anything on wikipedia, but there are rules against plugging and being too subjective when putting up biographies of people. Worst can scenario a moderator/editor will edit or flag the page to make it more objective.
posted by tubling at 12:32 PM on August 30, 2011

I would look into their biographies, neutral point of view and verifiability help pages.
posted by tubling at 12:37 PM on August 30, 2011

Wikipedia is not stable. You can revise your grandfather's biography, but don't expect people to not change it further. And arguing "Of course it's true, trust me, I'm his grandchild" won't go over well there. Try publishing your biography somewhere else, perhaps in a specialty journal, then it can be cited on Wikipedia.
posted by Tsuga at 1:04 PM on August 30, 2011

There is a site called WikiBios for just this purpose. It sort of began after Wikipedia started getting strict about notability and verifiability, and running into just the problem of people close to a person wanting to write the Wikipedia biography for them (and usually failing to maintain full objectivity).

The best way to go, however, would be to create an official site for him, which could house the biography (in two languages, no less) and information about his works. You can register a domain for up to ten years, and probably find an inexpensive host to match.
posted by dhartung at 11:12 PM on August 30, 2011

Final update from the OP:
In the end, I opted for creating a tumblr (, and then, once we'd put some material on it (now also including the fuller bio), linking to it in the Wikipedia pages. This may not be a sufficient solution for all cases, but in ours it seems the right set-up. (It's also given me a chance to learn some of the intricacies of blog-post use of Google-digitised LIFE Magazine photographs - in case you're interested, memail me.)
posted by taz (staff) at 4:06 AM on January 11, 2014

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