Aug 202012

For those of you who do not know what Wikipedia is, the short version is that Wikipedia is “[..] a multilingualweb-basedfree-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model.” (Source: Wikipedia). This article is about relevant GIS/geography articles in Wikipedia related to Tanzania.

A version of this article was posted back in August 2007. Since then the body of literature on Tanzania in Wikipediahas continuously been growing. Both the English and the Swahili articles. The number of Swahili articles as of today number 24.126. The articles cover a wide number of themes, many of the not directly related to Tanzania.

Wikipedia on Tanzania

This is the overarching article covering history, demography, media, culture, regions politics and more. There is also a small chapter about biodiversity in Tanzania:

Tanzania has considerable wildlife habitat, including much of the Serengeti plain, where the white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi) and other bovids participate in a large-scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. Tanzania is also home to 130 amphibian and over 275 reptile species, many of them strictly endemic and included in the IUCN Red Lists of different countries.

The article could definitively be better. I’d like to se information about the number of bird species with a reference to the Tanzania Bird Atlas. Reference to regulations and institutions relevant to biodiversity could also be useful. Listing some of the controversies over the later years is also an interesting background to biodiversity in Tanzania. Not shedding light to some of the outstanding research projects in the area is in my view a serious deficiency.

Who knows, perhaps time has come for a separate wikipedia on Biodiversity in Tanzania.

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) and Blue Wildebeests (Connochaetes taurinus) in Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa (Photo: Wikipedia/Gary)

The geography of Tanzania

The article contains a multitude of Tanzania facts. Facts are often somewhat related to the use of sources. The nay source of information in this article is the CIA world fact book. Using only one source may not be a problem, but a lot has been written about Tanzania. More sources are available. A similar article for Kenya has six sources.  For South Africa the number is eight. The quality may not be in the number of sources, but considering the wast body of research, travel books, encyclopedias and other reference books available it is a bit surprising that only the CIA world fact book has come to use.

List of protected areas in Tanzania

The protected areas should be fairly common knowledge among the members of the TZGISUG list. The wikipedia list of Tanzanian protected areas lists 16 national parks. Tanzania National Parks lists 15 mainland national parks – the difference lies in Wikipedia listing the Jozania Chwaka Bay National Park on Zanzibar.

In the Wikipedia presentation some of the historical background, areas and wildlife for the parks is also presented. The article might need some refinement.

Regions of Tanzania

The districts and regions of Tanzania are kept in separate articles:

  • Regions
    The regions page is missing information about sources. Primary source in other countries for similar information is usually the national bureau of statistics.
  • Districts
    The respective districts points to individual pages containing lists of wards and other related information. Source information is missing on this article as well.
Although “everyone knows” which regions and districts are in Tanzania it is important that a reference to the formal owner/custodian of the information is used. An article like this should also have regular reviews where the owner/custodian is contacted whereupon the lists are updated if necessary.

Other articles

Here are links to some other articles on Tanzanian matters:

List and other information

A page aiming to list all Tanzania related topics has also been made.

Conservation in Tanzania is a dedicated Wikipedia category:

Closing remarks

The general impression from reading the articles mentioned above is that it is necessary to review some of them. Their sources are too few and the texts are too narrow. Get involved and rewrite articles where you have enough knowledge. Use sources and make the Tanzania Wikipedia better!

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