Writing a Historical Book Review

Updated on 02 Sep 2021 | Published on 20 Jul 2021

In the Historical Book Review elective of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience students are taught how to write a historical book review article for Wikipedia on original, strange, or unusual psychology (related) books from the Special Collections that were published before 1920. On 9 September they need to have finished the final version of their Wikipedia article.

What do they learn?

The Historical Book Review elective consists of six class meetings, during which the students learn to search and analyse historical information sources, communicate academic knowledge to a public audience, practise encyclopedia-style writing, and reference and cite literary sources. Working with primary sources, an increased readership and feeling a certain responsibility for ‘their’ entry, inspire student motivation. It also creates an understanding of the importance of open access and valorization. Images scanned by the library are accessible and used worldwide via Wikimedia Commons. 

Lifting the veil

The books students selected from UM’s Special Collections, contain titles such as ‘Moderne Leben-Jesu-Forschung unter dem Einflusse der Psychiatrie. Eine kritische Darstellung für Gebildete aller Stände’, ‘Tier-psychologie: ist das Tier eine Maschine oder ein sensitives Wesen?’ and ‘Aufschlüsse zur Magie aus geprüften Erfahrungen über verborgene philosophische Wissenschaften und verdeckte Geheimnisse der Natur’.

‘Aufschlüsse zur magie’ (1788-1792) is a four-volume work written by German Catholic mystic, author, and philosopher Karl von Eckartshausen (1752-1803). According to Theodor Harmsen, former curator of the Amsterdam Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Eckartshausen shows in this first wide-ranging esoteric study, his elaborate knowledge of the Hermetica, Naturphilosophie, Kabbalah and magic. (Source: The Ritman Library)

Want to know more?

In case you are interested in integrating a Wikipedia assignment and/or workshop into your curriculum, you can check the Wikipedia page: Education Program. If you want to know more about how the UM Library can support you in how to implement Wikipedia in your course, feel free to contact us via Ask your librarian.

  • Author: Kelly Krijntjes


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

Library update


Last updated: 02/09/21

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