Opening up old books: investigating the botanical archives of Maastricht

Opening up old books: investigating the botanical archives of Maastricht

Updated on 22 Dec 2018 | Published on 20 Dec 2018

From Monday 7 January, 13 students of the Maastricht Science Programme (MSP) will study historical plant books from Maastricht University’s Special Collections during a 4-week research project. In this collaboration between evolutionary biologist Roy Erkens, the University Library and Wikimedia Netherlands, we ask students to analyse botanical-history books in the context of present-day science.


The aim of this project is to do a comparative analysis between the content of an interesting, important, and/or peculiar plant-biology related book and current day’s knowledge on that topic. Students also write a review about the book and publish it on Wikipedia. Part of the project is to learn how to write a book review and how to write for Wikipedia, supported by volunteers from Furthermore, students will see examples of botanical ‘classics’ from the Special Collections and other collection highlights. At the end of the project, students have completed a final report and made a new Wikipedia page that is live for the public to see. For the students this is a fulltime programme with tours, academic skills workshops and research with primary sources.




Our collaboration with Wikimedia NL is a fine example of how we advance education. By writing a Wikipedia article, students practice referencing, citing sources and writing from a neutral point of view. Did you know that we are the most active university in the Wikipedia Benelux Education Program?


Contact us

Maastricht University Library stimulates, supports and facilitates the use of UM’s Special Collections and the thoughtful integration of digital technology to advance education and research. Think about how using these books can add value to some of your courses. If you want to know more about how we can support you, contact curator Odin Essers via Ask your librarian.




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