Wikipedia:Academy/NIH 2009

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Marin Allen, NIH Director of Public Information, welcoming the speakers and participants.

The first Wikipedia Academy in the United States took place on July 16, 2009, at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.

Wikipedia Academies are public outreach events aimed at engaging academics and other subject-matter experts who are not familiar with wiki culture or online communities. In presentations and workshops, experienced Wikipedia authors teach the participants how to contribute to Wikipedia and orient the audience to Wikipedia’s structures and community policies.

Involved on our side[edit]

Wikipedians Bill Wedemeyer and Lennart Guldbrandsson at the NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.

In alphabetical order:

Core volunteer team
D.C. volunteers
WMF staff members

A special thanks goes to Jay Walsh, Wikimedia Foundation.

Other acknowledgements[edit]

A team of roughly 25 volunteers — scientists, physicians, science writers and librarians — volunteered to assist the NIH participants in their first steps of editing, not only on the day of the Academy, but in the weeks and months to follow. Their volunteering was recognized warmly by Marin Allen of the NIH in her opening remarks, and by NIH participants of all ranks throughout the day. Their gesture was taken as symbolic of the cordial relationship between the NIH and Wikipedia, for which we are grateful.

Several volunteers provided critical software for the workshop. Mr.Z-man produced "Popular pages" for several WikiProjects, which were highly praised by the participants. Cacycle made crucial improvements to his editor, wikEd, that made editing scientific and medical articles much easier by condensing references and long templates. Pyrospirit developed an extension of his article assessment script that allowed the NIH members to create their own lists of articles and assess their quality in batches. ClockworkSoul developed a powerful new version of his tool, Igor, for assessing and interacting with Wikipedia's articles and WikiProjects. Finally, TechSmith provided a free copy of their screencast software, Camtasia Studio, which was used to develop tutorials for the NIH participants.

Press release and press coverage[edit]

July 14, 2009
July 15, 2009
July 16, 2009
July 17, 2009
July 20, 2009
July 21, 2009
July 22, 2009
July 23, 2009
July 28, 2009
July 28, 2009
July 29, 2009
August 2, 2009
  • Institute making Wikipedia good for your health (, Ibby Caputo)
    “The volunteer instructors, or “Wikipedians,” were not just techno-geeks; they also included scientists who could appreciate the questions NIH staffers might have.”
August 3, 2009
August 6, 2009
August 10, 2009

Twitter & Blogs[edit]

  • Twittersearch #nihwiki – tweets about the event, including live tweets
  • Tim O'Reilly: “Awesome: NIH and wikimedia commons working together to improve quality of health info online […] HUGE step.”


  • A good citation is like a god-class weapon on Wikipedia. (John Broughton)
  • As scientists it is our calling to provide knowledge to the world. I hope you answer that call. (Bill Wedemeyer)
  • An online encyclopedia can never replace the physician-patient relationship – that would be absurd. (Tim Vickers)
  • We hope to infect you with our enthusiasm. (Frank Schulenburg)