By Nick Butler

The project with Wikimedia has been a strong way to draw attention to the Paralympic Movement in Australia ©APCA special collaboration between the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and Wikimedia Australia has attracted huge online interest. 

Since January 2011, a group of volunteer contributors have worked as part of an APC History Project (HOPAU), with the aim of "capturing, managing and preserving the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia".

Over 800 articles have been published, accessible from the main APC page here, with most focusing on athletes and officials from the Oceanic nation as well as results at various Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.

The articles are achieving viewing rates of more than 1.4 million annually, with recent analysis finding over 117,000 views last month alone. 

This is an indicator of the growing interest in Paralympic sport and Australia's Paralympic athletes, APC's Knowledge Services Manager Tony Naar has claimed.

"When we created this programme in collaboration with Wikimedia Australia in 2011, there were almost no articles about Paralympic sport or Paralympic athletes," he said.

"More than 600 articles were created before the London 2012 Games, and these were viewed almost two million times during the Games period, showing the interest in Paralympic sport and the need for information to be accessible to all."

Articles about athletes including five time Paralympian Kevin Coombs have proved popular ©WikipediaArticles about athletes including five time Paralympian Kevin Coombs have proved popular ©Wikipedia

In total, Australia has won 1,052 Paralympic medals, including 339 Summer and 11 Winter medals, with their Summer gold tally fifth behind only the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Canada.

Some of Australia's earliest Paralympians are among those to have attracted most interest, including one dedicated to Kevin Coombs, a wheelchair basketball player and athlete who competed at five Games beginning with Rome 1960, and was also the first Australian Paralympian of indigenous origin.

The APC is now looking to expand this volunteer group to improve the depth of articles and meet its goal of including photos with every Paralympic article.

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