Jessica Knapp and I are pleased to announce that we will be holding the second annual Canada Wide Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for Canadian history on October 24, 2018. We’ve written about the logistics of the event, how you can become involved, and how classrooms can participate over at the Unwritten Histories blog. Many thanks to Andrea Eidinger for her support and for sharing her virtual space with us.
My latest piece, “Doing the work: Editing Wikipedia as an act of reconciliation“, written in collaboration with Danielle Robichaud is now up on On Archivy. This piece developed out of an Archives Association of Ontario talk Danielle and I presented back in 2017 on “Collaborative archival practice: Rethinking outreach, access, and reconciliation using Wikipedia.” The post looks at the how editing Wikipedia can be part of reconciliation efforts and includes tangible actions folks can take right now.
Last week I helped organize an Art+Feminism edit-a-thon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Art+Feminism is a “campaign improving coverage of cis and transgender women, feminism, and the arts on Wikipedia.” This year marks the fifth year of the Art+Feminism initiative and since 2014 edit-a-thons have taken place around the world, improving over 11,000 articles in the process.
The event organized in the Soo was focused on increasing content on Wikipedia related to Indigenous folks and Northern Ontario artists. We had a small but enthusiastic group who spent the day editing, laughing, and talking gender. I was inspired by the effort everyone put in to learning new skills and improving Wikipedia. Our work even garnered some media attention – local journalist David Helwig covered our work and the new articles created as part of our day.
I love the spirit of community that can be fostered during edit-a-thons. Many of the participants were folks who I had edited Wikipedia with before and it was great see their progress as editors. We also used this Art+Feminism event to celebrate the successes of our community – the majority of the edits and new pages created were about people we knew, had met, and admired. Two of the new pages were about Algoma University alumni and two new pages were about artists who had worked with the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre.
This locally driven page creation reminded me of why I love Wikipedia – it has the power to shape narratives, uplift voices, and can be a collaborative/community work space. Editing Wikipedia also has the power to act as an education tool – teaching folks about collaboration, clear writing, citations, and narrative building. The more I engage in editing Wikipedia with students and community members the more I am encouraged by the results. Editing Wikipedia combines a huge range of skill sets and can change the way we think about the past and community success.
New podcast episode! In this week’s episode I chat about the potential ways Wikipedia can be used in the classroom and other educational settings. I discuss what skills can be learned from editing Wikipedia and I dive into what support is available to instructors wishing to create Wikipedia focused assignments.
Do you have experience using Wikipedia in a public history, GLAM, or classroom setting? I would love to hear about it, leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter.
Download or listen now.
It’s been a bit over a week since the Canada wide Wikipedia edit-a-thon that was organized by Jessica Knapp and myself. As the dust has settled I’ve thought a bit about how the event went and ways in which future events could be improved.
I was thrilled with the level of participation we saw throughout the course of the event. When we came up with the idea we had no idea who would participate or how much interest there would be from the Canadian historical community. It was great to see people participating from across Canada and from so many different backgrounds. The event resulted in 12.9K words being added to Wikipedia, 259 total edits being completed, over 36 editors contributing, and 60 articles being edited. It was also fantastic to see participation happening across Canada by university students, faculty, community groups, and high school students. I was also presently surprised by the number of regional hosts that volunteered without explicit outreach from Jessica or I.
During the event organization stages Danielle Robichaud suggested using the Programs and Events Dashboard. For anyone organizing an event in the future I would highly recommend using this platform to setup the event. I might eliminate the use of the Wikipedia meetup page in future events and just opt for using the Dashboard. Not everyone who participated signed into the Dashboard, but using it allowed us a much easier way to capture stats for the event then manually tracking everyone’s contributions.
I also had my undergraduate public history class participate in this event as part of their coursework. I couldn’t be happier with how this in-class activity went. The students were engaged and actively editing. A few created new pages but a lot of the work that was being done was adding citations and cleaning up existing text. We also had a lot of interesting discussions around authority, who has the power to create history and what different people think is ‘important’ history. I’d definitely consider using Wikipedia editing again in the classroom and would encourage instructors to use the Wiki Education resources to build assignments, track classroom participation, and provide resources to their students.
Food For Thought
I think it would be great to have more class groups involved in this type of event. In order to facilitate that involvement I think doing outreach to specific faculty and teachers earlier would be beneficial. For the case of faculty doing this outreach prior to them developing the syllabus for their class might be best. I think also providing faculty with suggestion of how to setup their classroom activities would be hugely helpful. Similarly, reminding local hosts that they can apply to have the IP Account Creation Cap temporarily lifted during the event can help make things go smoother on the day of the edit-a-thon.
We created a Slack channel for this event in case anyone needed one-on-one support during the event. Though a good way to provide that chat functionally the channel wasn’t used and could likely not be bothered with in future cases. The #EditCdnHist hashtag on twitter worked well for promoting the event and also for facilitating some day of discussion.
Building in a couple of people to help with event follow-up and article cleanup is crucial. For this year’s event I’ve been slowly working on this. This follow-up involves things like reviewing the draft articles that were created, improving the articles that were created by new editors, and fixing formatting. In some cases this work has been slightly hampered by some editors not signing into the Dashboard and having to spend some additional time search out what they worked on.
Did you participate in the #EditCdnHist event? How was your experience? What could be done to make future events more successful?
Jessica Knapp of Canada’s History and I are organizing a Canada wide Wikipedia edit-a-thon with a focus on editing Canadian History content. Join us on October 18, 2017 at a regional site or virtually to improve Canadian History content on Wikipedia!
Want to know more? Check out our “Hacking Histories” blog post on Unwritten Histories. The post explains the details of the event, how you can participate, and answers some of the common Wikipedia questions.
A huge thank you to Andrea Eidinger for her willingness to host this post and for her support of this event.
The recording of the second Wikpedia focused webinar in the series I’m hosting with Jessica Knapp from Canada’s History Society is now available. In this webinar Amy Marshall Furness, the Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist and Head, Library & Archives at the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario discussed using Wikipedia as a form of activism and outreach.
Amy’s presentation focused on her experience engaging with the Art + Feminism Wikipedia community and her work organizing edit-a-thons at the AGO. This was an excellent webinar and provided a lot of good advice for folks interested in using Wikipedia as a form of community activism, organizing, and outreach.
Next week’s webinar will focus on the basics of Wikipedia editing and how to bring the skill sets of public historians and GLAM professionals into Wikipedia. Join us at 2:00 pm ET on July 26th.
As I mentioned earlier, I am very happy to be co-hosting the “Weikipedia As Outreach And Activism For Canadian History” with Jessica Knapp of Canada’s History Society. Last week we ran our first webinar which featured Jade Pichette, Skylee-Storm Hogan, and Ezra Winton discussing their experiences editing Wikipedia, hosting edit-a-thons, and sharing advice for those wanting to host or participate in future edit-a-thons. A recording of the webinar is available below.
Our next webinar is Wednesday July 19, 2017 at 2pm ET and will feature Amy Marshall Furness, the Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist and Head, Library & Archives at the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario. Amy will be discussing her involvement with the Art+Feminism editing community and how to use Wikipedia for outreach and activism in a GLAM setting. Interested in joining us? You can register at: http://www.canadashistory.ca/Explore/Webinars/Wikipedia-as-Outreach-and-Activism-for-Canadian-History-Webinar-Series
Wikipedia, Outreach, and Activism, Oh My!
As part of my role at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) I’ve recently been working with Canada’s History Society to organize a summer webinar series focused on Wikipedia, Outreach, and Activism in relation to Canada’s History. This four part webinar series will run in July/August and is focusing on how Wikipedia can be used for outreach and activism in relation to Canadian History.
This webinar series is suitable for GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) professionals, public historians, and those interested in Canadian history. No experience editing Wikipedia is necessary to participate. Folks can sign up to participate on the Canada History Society website. We have a great line up of experienced Wikipedia editors, community organizers, activists, and history folks who are going to be presenting as part of the series.
I had a great time at the 2017 Archives Association of Ontario conference last week. If you’re interested in the talk Danielle Robichaud and I gave relating to Wikipedia, archives, and reconciliation work our slides are now online.
It was great to meet Danielle in person (and yay for twitter connecting us virtually long before this conference). Many thanks to all who came to our talk. If you have questions relating to our presentation, using Wikipedia in archives, or Wikipedia editing as reconciliation work feel free to reach out to either Danielle or I.