In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10 percent of its contributors identify as women.
In an effort to improve representation, the international campaign Art+Feminism was established to improve content on women and the arts on Wikipedia, and to encourage women to participate in the online research tool.
As part of Art+Feminism, Washington University Libraries and Women in Architecture and Design are hosting the annual Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon from 3 to 7 p.m. on March 26 at the Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library.
“We’re trying to create a supportive environment for people to learn how to edit Wikipedia,” says AJ Robinson, librarian for Islamic Studies, South Asian Studies, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and one of the organizers of the event.
The edit-a-thon will include tutorials for beginners, editing support, reference materials, childcare, and food and drinks. People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to participate in the free event.
“We’re going to set up some basic tasks for people to work on if they haven’t had a lot of experience editing before, things like identifying articles that don’t have citations for their sources,” Robinson says.
“University students are particularly well suited for doing this work since they are constantly being encouraged to find trustworthy sources for their information and learning how to synthesize and communicate it.”
The Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library will have a variety of sources available, and librarians at the event can show visitors how to access information. Participants are asked to bring a laptop and power cord and, if possible, to create a Wikipedia account before the event. To learn how to create an account, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:CreateAccount.
Since 2014, Art+Feminism edit-a-thons have taken place around the world, creating and improving more than 11,000 articles. Events have taken place at other institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Yale University, McGill University in Montreal, and the Archives Nationales in Paris.
Robinson says the edit-a-thons have additional positive outcomes.
“When I think about the impact of these events, I’m looking at how many people have engaged in editing Wikipedia. It’s such a commonly used source, but then so few people actually really understand the process of the knowledge creation. You can’t really understand it unless you’ve gotten involved and tried to edit a page yourself.”
For childcare, please include the first names and number of children requiring care, their ages, and what time you plan on attending the edit-a-thon. Childcare is free, but an RSVP is required by March 19th: http://bit.ly/2GZUbg1
To view tutorials on editing Wikipedia, see the guides on Art+Feminism’s website.