Filling in the Gaps Together: International Women’s Day Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Rose Olivera introducing the edit-a-thon

By Lyndsay Bratton, Rose Oliveira, Becky Parmer, and Ariella Rotramel

On Wednesday, March 8, we hosted the first annual International Women’s Day Wiki-Edit-A-Thon in Shain Library’s Advanced Technology Lab (ATL). International Women’s Day is observed throughout the world on March 8 and in some countries it is a public holiday. While celebrations in some countries include bringing women flowers or celebrating with a women’s night out, the day has a political history that resulted in this year’s call for a women’s strike in the United States.  International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to reflect on ongoing gender inequality and the ability of women and allies to act to make change. Editing Wikipedia collectively provides one platform for responding to issues of gender inequality.

According to the 2011 Editor Survey, 91% of Wikipedians are men. Not only does such a homogenous editor force yield a body of work that reflects a limited scope of perspectives, but the survey also found that the relatively few women editors each make far fewer edits than men editors. Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons are staged periodically around the world, and often focus on reversing such trends by bringing women editors on board to fill in gaps in content related to women’s issues and women in history. A great example of one such initiative is the Art + Feminism Edit-a-Thon.

To address these issues of gender bias, we held an International Women’s Day Wikipedia-Edit-A-Thon. Edit-a-thons are events where newcomers and experienced Wikipedians alike come together to learn and participate in editing. Everyone was welcome and no prior editing experience was needed to participate. We had 13 people attend the evening’s event to create or improve articles on women and related topics.

Faculty, staff, students, and community members at the edit-a-thon

Rose Oliveira, Becky Parmer, and Ariella Rotramel started the event by talking about the the gender issues that face Wikipedia and how Ariella has used Wikipedia in her feminist theory class. Becky and Rose then reviewed the Five Pillars of Wikipedia to ensure that editors understood how to carry out their work effectively. Rose demonstrated how to create content on Wikipedia and the basics of editing. Andrew Lopez and Ashley Hanson shared a set of library resources they curated to help participants get started in their work. We also linked many resources on our Wikipedia libguide to assist editors in moving into editing.

Articles edited or created during the edit-a-thon

For the remainder of the time, we dove into the work. People chose to either collaborate in teams or work by themselves to research, create or improve a variety of articles. They contributed citations; rephrased poorly written sections; added new content to existing entries; and began work on developing new entries. All of these actions help improve Wikipedia by creating or strengthening content that relates to women and other underrepresented groups. In the last 10 minutes, everyone added their entries that they worked on a whiteboard: Lois Gibbs; Mary Foulke Morrisson; 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence; Trans Day of Action; Caroline Black; Avtar Brah; Beatrice Cuming; and Marie Hoppe-Teinitzerová. We concluded the evening by taking turns sharing the woman, organization, or event that they worked on. It was rewarding to see what we were collectively able to do in a short amount of time.

As a result, on the third Wednesday of every month, we have decided to hold an informal Wiki Meetup or “Wiki Wednesday” at The Social at 5:15pm. We welcome new and experienced editors! To check in about the meetup, please contact Rose Oliveira (roliveir@conncoll.edu). For more information about working with Wikipedia in the classroom, please contact your instructional technologist or library liaison.

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Workshop Recap: Technology Fellows Curricular Innovations I

 

Cover of "Battle of the Monkey and the Crab" from the collection of Hasegawa Children's books.
Cover of “Battle of the Monkey and the Crab” from the collection of Hasegawa Children’s books.

A special thank you to the Technology Fellows who presented at our event last week. I think each presenter deserves his/her own blog post because the projects presented were so different and interesting. Here’s the first recap.

Ann Marie Davis (History) shared new assignments she is developing in collaboration with library, special collections, and instructional technology staff. In two classes, students will create online, publicly accessible digital exhibits using two new acquisitions in the Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives. The Cornelius Gold Diary chronicles the experience of a young man from rural Western Connecticut as a crew member on a ship traveling to China in the 19th century. The second collection, the Hasegawa Collection of Children’s Books, consists of ten translated Japanese fairy tales printed in the 19th century using traditional Japanese woodblock print and Western typography. Both collections are germane to course themes and through the creation of the digital exhibit, students will become knowledge producers instead of passive consumers of information, experience the work of a historian, and create a public product that will be shared beyond the classroom and beyond the College.

In order to create cohesive exhibits, students will analyze the primary source material, conduct their own research using library databases, write narratives for a public audience about the collection as a whole and the individual items contained, process digital images, learn about and apply metadata for the objects, and add their materials to the online exhibit software. Through the realization of the exhibit, students will work with a wide variety of technologies such as Omeka, Google Drive, and Mac’s Preview while learning about technology standards for web publishing, website design and discoverability.

You can find Ann Marie’s full presentation slides here. In the next post I will summarize Joe Schroeder’s (Psychology) presentation.