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This is the Wikipedia / GLAM Page for the New England Archivists

Create the Wikipedia you want to See a DIY Wikipedia Edit-a-thon session at the Spring 2014 New England Archivists meeting will be held on Friday, March 21, 2014.
Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Upcoming events[edit]

Create the Wikipedia You Want to See: New England Archivists Spring 2014 meeting[edit]

"DIY Wikipedia Edit-a-thon" March 21st, 1-2:30 Sheraton Harborside Hotel Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Session Description[edit]

Wikipedia is a widely known resource and can often be a “first-stop” for researchers of all levels of expertise. Despite its ubiquity, cultural heritage institutions have been slow to participate in Wikipedia. As a consequence, many people, organizations, and events documented in our collections have a minimal, if any, presence on Wikipedia. The first half of this session will be dedicated to explaining and generating conversation among attendees about “why” and “how” to host a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at a library, archives, museum, or other cultural heritage site. Specific topics to be addressed in this part of the presentation include how to “sell” the idea of hosting an edit-a-thon to one’s home institution, how to get to know the local Wikipedia community, and how Wikipedia fits into emerging scholarly discourses in media studies, public history, and digital humanities. Attendees will leave with a checklist plan that they can implement for hosting an edit-a-thon.

The second half of this session will focus on explaining the “nuts and bolts” of how to create and edit articles in Wikipedia, as well as the many different ways to contribute to Wikipedia. Please feel free to bring a computer or mobile device to the session, as well as ideas for Wikipedia entries you’d like to create. We’ll help you get started, discuss best practices, and answer questions. Our hope is for attendees to become familiar with Wikipedia and its editing culture, so that they will be more likely to host an edit-a-thon.

Wikipedia History and Overview[edit]

Formally launched on January 15th, 2001. For deep detail, see How Wikipedia Works and of course the Wikipedia article on the History of Wikipedia. From that article, data as of March 2014 tell us:

  • 31 million articles in 287 languages
  • Over 45 million registered users
  • 6th-most popular website in the world
  • Over 85 million monthly unique visitors from the U.S. alone

Wikipedia:Ten things you may not know about Wikipedia

Current Issues[edit]

Gender gap[edit]
Secondary sources as "fact"[edit]

Wikipedia makes recommendations about the use of primary sources that can be at odds with archival understandings of the role of secondary sources, particularly when dealing with underrepresented groups.

Adaptation to Technology[edit]
Digital Humanities[edit]
  • Increasing Digital Humanities work means increased interest in primary sources and "The Archive", both as a research and teaching tool.
  • Digital Humanities = intrinsic turn towards the public (web presence implies a global audience).
    • There are arguments within DH about how well it fulfilling this global promise, but we'll assume that regardless the Web gives us publications the potential for a wider audience.
  • Digital Humanities is often coupled with undergraduate research initiatives, learning-by-doing.
  • Wikipedia is a site for praxis, where contributors participate in a process through which one grapples with a multitude of issues important to DH: prominent public space for engagement; primary sources, secondary sources, and the scholarly communication patterns of history; the creation and use of digital archives; overrepresentation, underrepresentation, silence, and power; more.

Previous Events and Experiences[edit]

  • Pedagogical value
    • can benefit classroom use of archival material
    • supports experiential learning and undergraduate research
    • connects with world outside the classroom, on global scale
    • increases knowledge of the digitally constructed world, digitally constructed narratives and history
  • Outreach opportunities
    • older generation of academics
    • donors
    • internal audience
    • communities outside the archive

What We've Learned, "Guiding Principles"[edit]

  • Meet people where they are / offer a variety of levels for participation
Write new articles from scratch (advanced), edit existing articles (intermediate), add links, edit categories (beginning)
  • Encourage use of Wikipedia's own structures for communication and participation (talk pages, WikiProjects, or Articles for Creation)
  • Reassure participants that they will not break Wikipedia. The best way to learn is to just jump in.
  • Reach out to the local Wikipedia community as a teaching & learning partner. Make time to go to Wikipedia meetups.

Checklist for Hosting a Wikipedia Event[edit]

The Luce and Lunder Edit-a-thon at the Smithsonian American Art Museum provides an excellent template for thinking about what your edit-a-thon can look like and what it can accomplish.

More in-depth instructions about planning an edit-a-thon can be found here: Wikipedia: How to Run an Edit-a-Thon

Plan an edit-a-thon in 5 steps:

1. Create a project page for your edit-a-thon.

  • A subpage of Wikipedia:Meetup is the easiest choice, but there are other options depending on the location and topic of your event. If it's at an institution such as a gallery, library, archive, or museum, a subpage of WP:GLAM may be appropriate. In any case, the important thing here is that having documentation on Wikipedia itself is a must-have for a really successful edit-a-thon.

2. Decide on a date, time & venue

  • Suggested duration: 5 hours (At least half a day OR a full day for the event)
  • Open & stable Wi-fi
  • Coffee and snacks are not technically necessary, but always welcome

3. Publicize the event

4. Make two lists

  • A list of suggested new topics: generally discrete factual topics like people, places, events, or organizations is easier to start. Again see the Luce and Lunder Edit-a-thon for an example To Do List of articles to create or flesh out.
  • A list of secondary sources on your suggested topics: links to blog posts, newspaper articles, finding aids, and other sources.

5. Recruit two people from your staff to help on the day-of

  • A behind-the-scenes tour of your collections and facilities, with your expert curators, archivists, conservators, and other subject matter experts to explain the importance of your special collections.
  • A staff person (or persons) to coordinate and participate in the edit-a-thon (this can be the same person as your tour leader, or a different person)

Here is a sample schedule for a half-day event:

  • Welcome and behind-the-scenes tour: 1.5 hours
  • Brief tutorial from Wikipedia editor: .5 hours
  • Edit away!: 2.5 hours
  • Wrap-up, including collecting your results: .5 hours

Top Editing Tips to Know and Love[edit]

Articles to Create or Edit[edit]

The following is a sampling of suggested articles to create or add upon.

You can also contribute to Wikipedia by assisting with categories, for example adding new articles to:

Or by improving citation formatting (see examples in our further reading section) on these articles or others:


Learning Tools

GLAM / Wikipedia

Further Reading[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation,Gender Gap

Wikimedia Foundation, Gender Gap Manifesto

Khanna, Ayush (2012). "Nine out of ten Wikipedians continue to be men: Editor Survey". Wikimedia Global Blog. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 

Gardner, Sue (2010). "Unlocking the Clubhouse: Five ways to encourage women to edit Wikipedia". Sue Gardner's Blog. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 

Wadewitz, Adrianne (2014). "Teaching with Wikipedia: the Why, What, and How". HASTAC Scholars' Blog. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 

Simonite, Tom (2013). "The Decline of Wikipedia: Even As More People Than Ever Rely on It, Fewer People Create It". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 

Feltman, Rachel (2014). "America’s future doctors are starting their careers by saving Wikipedia". Quartz. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 

Owens, Simon (2013). "The battle to destroy Wikipedia's biggest sockpuppet army". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 2013-10-10.