KRAMER, Ind. (AP) — On Thursday, Warren County will be known as more than the third-smallest county in Indiana, childhood residence of Purdue astronaut Donald Williams and home of the long-gone Mudlavia Hotel.
If all goes as planned, Warren County will be one of three United States counties classified as featured articles and will be highlighted on Wikipedia's home page on March 1, the 185th anniversary of the county's founding.
Although a Wikipedia entry about Warren County has existed for several years, the historical research and writing needed to make it feature-worthy came from a lifelong county resident, Jeff Williams.
Williams, an information technology director for Danville Area Community College in Illinois, has contributed to Wikipedia articles as a pastime for a few years. Several months ago he decided to make Warren County's page more substantial, with the help of his brother, a software engineer from Lafayette.
"It's a hobby," Jeff Williams said. The brothers found "this piece about the economy, and this piece about the courthouse. It was a bit by bit process."
Adding a little information at a time, the Warren County entry grew to include information about history, geography, and notable residents.
In late 2010, Williams set a goal of getting the article featured in the Wikipedia encyclopedia. He submitted his work to the Wikipedia review board, which critiques a variety of elements, including writing style and accuracy.
Once the article was approved, Williams submitted the article to Wikipedia as a candidate for the featured article of the day.
And that day is Thursday, March 1.
"Warren County represents a quality of life and a simplicity that's slipping away from many areas," said Steve Eberly, executive director of Warren County Local Economic Development Organization Inc.
"We have industrial employers and a good school system, and we're close enough to West Lafayette, Lafayette, and other cities that people can easily commute."
According to the Census Bureau, Warren County is among the few rural counties that have grown in population since the last census.
Terri Wargo takes pride in her county and was excited when she heard it was scheduled to be featured on Wikipedia's home page.
Wargo, the historical society's president and county genealogist, said she is astounded by how many people have family ties to Warren County. She frequently receives emails from people around the nation with genealogy questions.
"I'm amazed at how few people live (in the county) but how many people have roots here," she said.
In 1999, Wargo worked with Williams on a book about Warren County and understands the need for a coherent history about the region.
"I'm so grateful Jeff wrote the article" for Wikipedia, she said.
Wikipedia garners about 90 million daily page views in the U.S. and is ranked sixth in the world, according to web traffic rankings from Alexa, a division of Amazon.com.
According to Williams, only 0.1% of all Wikipedia entries become featured articles. He's looking forward to March 1.
"One of the great things about Wikipedia is one can contribute to a larger humanity," he said.
"Even if you're writing about something that might not be of interest in a general encyclopedia, you can contribute it (to Wikipedia) and people will be interested."
Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com