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Czech elderly write on Wikipedia to encourage their retirement

Czech elderly write on Wikipedia to encourage their retirement

At 80 years old, Jirina Kadnerova does not fit the image of a tech-savvy Internet user. But after following a course for older people in Czech Republicdedicates his retirement to writing articles for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

On a sunny Sunday morning, this retired librarian frail-looking man takes photographs with his phone of the village of Sobehrdy, south of Prague.

She curiously observes the local Protestant church and talks to parishioners leaving mass to gather information for her next article.

The woman has been collaborating with the free encyclopedia since she signed up for a course for seniors in the project “The Third Age Writes.” Wikipedia”.

Of course he used Wikipedia for many years, because we librarians worked with it, but I never thought that I would like to contribute to it”Kadnerova explains to AFP.

Concerned about staying active in retirement, she attended a university for the elderly, held a position as a bibliographer at the Czech Academy of Sciences and worked occasionally as a tourist guide.

Seven years ago, his grandson suggested he contribute to Wikipedia.

He told me that he had good experience, that he wrote quite well and above all that he knew how to navigate databases and catalogs.“, remember.

“The experience of life”

His first article was about a Gothic church in the small town in the south of the country, where he served as tourist guide.

Since then he has published a hundred articles, mainly on historical places.

He has also modified more than 1,500 existing articles, often adding information about libraries in the Prague region, his hometown.

The Czech version of Wikipedia It contains more than half a million entries and has some 600 regular contributors and thousands of occasional ones, including an increasing number of older people.

Facilitator of a workshop at a senior center in Prague, Jan Mysak, a student at the faculty of chemistry, considers that elderly contributors constitute a “promising group”.

To start, they have time“, he tells AFP after having explained to Jirina Kadnerova how to insert an ‘infobox’ (a table that summarizes the data) in an article.

But they also have life experience (…) and they know what they want to write about“, keep going.

So far, about 700 people have taken the free training for seniors, according to the foundation Wikimediawhich manages the encyclopedia.


Wikipedia has more than one billion monthly users worldwide and offers more than 62 million articles in more than 300 languages.

Many former librarians become effective Wikipedia contributors“Klara Joklova, director of the Czech unit of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The average Czech editor of Wikipedia is “a man between 15 and 35 years old with a technical background”, he specifies.

The profile is far from that of Jirina Kadnerova, although that does not bother her.

I regularly take the bus or train and visit towns”says this woman who is passionate about tourism.

When I write about something, I want to get involved in it.”, he says in Czech of impeccable elegance.

Now she shares her passion with a friend, too. retired librarianwhom he has recruited to write articles in the free encyclopedia.

I’m happy because I look at a history page and discover that someone praised the entry or added something”says Kadnerova.

This is what makes me happy. A friend once told me that he didn’t do enough for humanity. In the end, I’m doing it”.

Source: Gestion