LMU Library News

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: What You Missed

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students editing wikipedia

More than 100 students attended our 2018 Wikipedia edit-a-thon on February 26

Today’s post was written by library student ambassador Grace Smith. Grace is a first year graduate student in the Writing and Producing for Television MFA program. Grace has been working as a library ambassador for one semester. She loves comedy and dogs.

On Monday, February 26, 2018, the library, in partnership with women and gender studies professor Jennifer Moorman, hosted a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. What is a Wikipedia edit-a-thon? I had the same question.

This particular edit-a-thon interested me quite a bit because of its focus on Art and Feminism. It turns out that while theoretically anyone can edit Wikipedia, there is not a whole lot of diversity among those that do. It also turns out that Wikipedia is quite a bit more extensive than I thought. As Outreach and Communications Librarian John Jackson pointed out, there is a real “Wikipedia rabbit hole.” There are pages about pages about pages. But, there are still large gaps in Wikipedia’s knowledge base, and one of those gaps is a lack of resources about female artists. There is a page that lists all the known female artists without Wikipedia pages and it includes hundreds of names. Part of the goal of this event was to shorten that list by adding information about these women artists.

Another goal, according to Jackson, Moorman, and Instructional Design Librarian Aisha Conner-Gaten, was for students to gain the skills necessary to become more confident in being a scholar in the real world and in being a creator of resources, not just a consumer. The students whom I spoke to at the event were excited to gain more knowledge about Wikipedia, to gain a broader perspective about the biases that creators of content have, and to learn how those biases can be constructed and deconstructed.

But to me, I think that the most interesting thing about this project is that you got to learn about awesome artists that you probably would not have heard about otherwise. And, as Moorman said, by doing the research and providing information about these incredible artists, you can make it so that the next person who searches for this topic will hopefully get a more informative and less biased article.

Though the event has already happened, there is still work to be done, and awesome artists to be recognized. You can still be apart of this process. Throughout the month of March, similar events are happening all across the country, and LMU students can continue to contribute to the Wikipedia knowledge base. If you have your own Wikipedia account (and it’s easy to create one!) you can connect your account to the work being done by the larger LMU community in March so that we can all see the impact that LMU students have made.

Photo of GraceThank you for telling us about what we missed, Grace!