Friday, January 24, 2014

Adventures in Wikipedia: The elusive Talwin Morris

For our second weekly blog post on our Adventures in Wikipedia, this week we'll be looking at Talwin Morris, the subject of one of the GSA Library displays on Level 2, next to the Librarian's office.


Talwin Morris has always been of interest to our Fine Art Librarian Duncan Chappell as the GSA Library holds a large number of his Glasgow Style book bindings in its Special Collections. At the time when he first started looking at the Wikipedia entry it was just a stub with 2 or 3 lines and a broken link, so he decided to take it on as a first project.

The fact that there was so little information in the article sparked off an interesting conversation amongst our group because it's generally assumed that if an article on Wikipedia is just a few lines long, it's not a good article. However, in the case of someone like Talwin Morris and other people from around his time and before then, there's generally a lot less information available in print from the time on their life and their work than what you would expect nowadays. So in the case of someone like Talwin Morris, the person writing the stub article could have researched their subject really well, but have only been able to find a few verifiable facts which they could include in the article leaving it as just a stub. 

That's where the role of librarians and archivists can become really crucial in their contributions to Wikipedia. Thanks to his access to primary source materials and his in-depth knowledge of the subject, Duncan was able to completely rewrite the article, adding vital and hard to find information on Talwin Morris' early life, his career and various commissions he undertook for book-bindings and other decorative arts.

We hope that thanks to this Wikipedia article, other people and maybe even scholars will have access to good reputable sources for any future research into the life and works of Talwin Morris. Duncan will continue to add to the article as new information comes to light through his personal research.