Libraries Holds Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

On Friday, October 23, 2015, Ohio University Libraries’ staff participated in a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, a workshop held in Alden Library’s Friends of the Libraries room from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Matthew Vetter, a visiting assistant professor of English at Ohio University Zanesville and graduate of Ohio University’s Ph.D. program in English, provided step-by-step instruction. Vetter is currently at work on a digital book manuscript, “Interventions in Wikipedia: Teaching Digital Literacy in the Online Encyclopedia Anyone Can Edit,” a project that emerged from his doctoral research.

Ohio University faculty and staff attended the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon held in Alden Library on Friday, Oct 23, 2015. (Photo by John Michael Simpson/Ohio University Libraries)
Ohio University faculty and staff attended the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon held in Alden Library on Friday, Oct 23, 2015. (Photo by John Michael Simpson/Ohio University Libraries)

“Wikipedia literacy is more important than ever,” said Vetter. “The English edition alone contains nearly 5 million articles. For college students, Wikipedia is the encyclopedia: a starting place for much of their informal and formal research. But Wikipedia is not finished. It is a work-in-progress, constantly being built by a community of volunteer editors.”

Vetter said he hopes the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will further support the spread of information between libraries staff, faculty and students.

“I want to encourage those in library and information science to use Wikipedia to share Alden’s collections, to make them more accessible to a broader public,” said Vetter. “But I also want to encourage all academics to help build the encyclopedia, to make it a more equitable and representative archive of human knowledge. That’s what this Edit-a-thon is really about: expanding Wikipedia literacy among library faculty so they can share that knowledge with instructors and students.”

The Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was held as a part of Open Access Week (October 19-25), an event recognized worldwide as an effort to promote the benefits of having open access to scholarly research materials within academic and research communities.

“This is an opportunity to learn how to become an editor in Wikipedia, to become more familiar with Wikipedia tools and culture, as well as for subject librarians to begin to think about how they might partner and engage with faculty who may be considering using Wikipedia as part of a range of course assignments,” said Sara Harrington, head of arts and archives.

Becoming a Wikipedia editor is one of many ways to stimulate the spread of information that is essential to the research conducted by students, faculty and researchers.

To learn more about open access efforts around the world, view the Open Access Week website.