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Time and relative dimensions on line: Doctor Who, wikis and the production of narrative/history

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The wiki illustrates an entwining of history and narrative, a relation that becomes obvious through comparisons with the long-form television programme Doctor Who. In this article I examine the fan-created wiki for this long-running British television series, http:/, to articulate the interconnectedness of narrative and history on wikis. Tardis.wikia illustrates an important tension present within editable digital archives: that is, wikis represent the archival of knowledge as both a historical misrepresentation as well as a necessary step in equating ‘knowledge’ with historical truth. Wikis represent a particularly salient view of how memory, culture and history collide in a ‘Web 2.0’ world. By looking at four different functions of history in the narrative of Doctor Who, and then examining how these functions become represented on tardis.wikia, I illustrate some of the ideology, production, historical memory and editability of our contemporary digital culture, and show how traditional media forms can often offer a useful heuristic for understanding new media technologies.

Keywords: Doctor Who; digital technology; history; narrative; new media; wiki

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: DePaul University

Publication date: 2011-09-19

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