Ever wonder what it would be like to edit Wikipedia, to amplify voices you feel have been neglected or silenced? For the third year in a row, IU Libraries welcomes students to do exactly that in the upcoming Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.
Art + Feminism + Editing for Equity Series
This year’s event will be virtual and run two weeks:
Monday, March 29th through Sunday, April 11th.
Drop-in Zoom editing sessions will be held on
Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1-3 pm EST.
The event focuses on editing and adding content about
female and non-binary visual artists and is part
of IU Libraries Editing for Equity series.
“Most students who have come to a Wikipedia-Edit-a-thon have never thought of themselves as a Wikipedia editor,” Sarah Carter, Art, Architecture and Design Librarian, explains. “We often think of ourselves as consumers of Wikipedia. But after somebody makes their first edit, and sees the article update with it's improvements -- Most people are just thrilled with the feeling that they have; that they can contribute and make a change and improve Wikipedia.”
Carter, who teaches students how to do research, often finds students want information about contemporary artists who are not yet widely known. What was their education? How can someone learn about their art? Who influenced them? “Wikipedia is a place where we can create that knowledge and capture that knowledge for future generations of students and learners who want to find out more,” she says.
Editing and creating content is empowering. Carter’s team has created a dashboard of all the edits made by those who have previously participated in the project. The dashboard shows IU editors made thirty-five edits on ten different articles, which have been viewed over 10,000 times.
Because 99.99% of Wikipedia is written by volunteers, Carter notes this is a great opportunity for making progress in creating information equity. She laments that women are less documented on the internet, specifically on Wikipedia. “Women editors are fewer and far between.”
A 2011 survey found that less than 10% of Wikipedia’s contributors identified as female. Art + Feminism, an international organization devoted to addressing the information gap on the internet when it comes to gender in all its expressions, feminism, and art, took the survey to heart. Starting in 2014, the organization has sponsored Wikipedia-Edit-a-thons for editing and creating content for cis and trans women, non-binary people, and communities of color. Since then, 1,260 events have created 84,000 articles.
IU’s Art +Feminism drop-in sessions will provide student editors with the tools and know-how. No prerequisite knowledge is required. One advantage of meeting on Zoom is that editors can wear whatever they want and be in the comfort of our homes. Also, there are no time-constraints, so if you want to make your edits at 2 am, you can. Because participants will miss the in-person community of writers/editors, Carter and her team will be trying to create community during the drop-in hours where student editors can gather together and ask questions, or go to a break out room to write and edit.
Each interested person should allot at least an hour of time to discover the process. Typically, it takes an hour to set up an account, learn the editing process, and make your first edit. Once you learn the process, you can decide if you would like to devote more time to the project. Working with articles that lack appropriate citations, the IU Libraries team can help you find materials to substantiate facts and dates to improve articles.
Look for opportunities for future Wikipedia Edit-a-thons in the Editing for Equity series that address the lack of information in other underrepresented groups.