Wikipedia:Adding historical information
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If you see an article that lacks historical information, the best thing to do is, to be bold and fix it.
- Cities, towns, communities
- For example, U.S. community entries based on U.S. Census data generally lack any historical information. All one has to do is pick a town, do some research, and write a historical sketch. (Examples: Ballantine, Mont.; Cusseta, Ga.; Perry, Ga.) Notable communities may include housing estates, housing projects, some subdivisions, and other unincorporated communities -- not to mention ghost towns. Historical background on all these are less likely to be online, so offline local research may be needed.
- Products, tools, inventions
- An article on a product (manufactured item) or invention should include information on when (and where and why and how) it was first made and how it has changed over the years. Pretty good example articles are Brick, which traces the development of bricks over many centuries, and Semaphore (communication), which does the same for semaphore. A pretty bad one is Lever, which says only that levers were used in ancient Egypt and written about by Archimedes.
- Geographical features
- An article on a geographical or topographical feature (river, mountain, or the like) should include information when it was discovered (by Westerners or altogether), how it has affected life (e.g., by erupting or overflowing), and how it has changed over the years (as by erosion). Pretty good example articles are Yellow River, which discusses how the river has changed course over the centuries, and how those changes affected people's lives; and Lake Champlain, which discusses how the lake was used in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. A pretty bad article is Great Smoky Mountains, which has virtually no history at all.
- Peoples and languages
- National literary traditions need historical development. See e.g. Wikipedia:WikiProject Poetry.
- Anatomical features and medical conditions
- Concepts (including mathematical objects and schools of philosophy)
- Organizations, companies, nations
- Research institute is a stub with many articles linking to it. What it most needs is historical background beyond the minimal account it now includes.
- Modern books, works of art, films, games, computer programs, musical pieces, etc.
- Older books, works of art, musical pieces, etc.
- Scientific discoveries
- planets, periodic-table elements, etc.: Virtually none of the scientific discoveries listed in Category:Biology include provenance of the discovery; the researchers or papers. I've been adding it as I go along working on individual scientist biographies but someone going through the biology articles systematically would probably be better. --lquilter 22:50, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
- Individual dates, numbers, letters, phones, etc.