Yesterday the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre held it’s first “Rewriting Wikipedia” event aimed at increasing content relating to Indigenous Women on Wikipedia. I’m really happy with how this event turned out. We had about ten participants of varying skill levels and the afternoon was filled with good conversation, ideas, and skill building. Many of the people at the event hadn’t edited Wikipedia before so this was an opportunity to talk about why editing is important and what can be gained by contributing. It was also simply a good outreach event highlighting the range of work that happens in an archive.
I also learned some new things during the session. I tend to primarily use the source editor on Wikipedia but many of the event participants were more comfortable using the visual editor. Working with them and the visual editor gave me a better understanding of the intricacies of using the visual editor for article templates and citations. In between helping people I also spent some time working on a Wikipedia page for Chris Derksen who is an amazing two-spirited Indigenous artist.
We have plans to hold another Rewriting Wikipedia event in the fall, possibly focused on a different topic. We might also run a how-to workshop beforehand open to those who want to learn more before participating in the edit-a-thon. That way there can be a more focused emphasis on skill building in addition to generating content. I’m excited by the range of possibilities that exist with this type of event and the possibilities for grassroots community based history on Wikipedia.