Making HerStory OurStory-Building a Wikipedia program from the ground up

Dodd, Samantha
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In an effort to provide increased access to Special Collections and open access library materials, staff at UT Arlington libraries designed a program to utilize Wikipedia’s reach and resources. The program began with outreach to faculty during Open Access week in fall 2017. A former Wikimedian-in-residence walked attendees through reflections on his 11 Years as a Wikipedian. Following his presentation, a panel of faculty from across the metroplex discussed using Wikipedia based assignments in the classroom, and how these projects affected student learning. Library staff participated in a compacted version of the Wikipedia + Libraries Better Together program to understand the complexities and logistics of editing the world’s encyclopedia. The Wikipedia program culminated in the first edit-a-thon on campus during Women’s History Month in 2018. Partnering with the Women’s and Gender studies department, HerStory offered students, staff and guest the opportunity to contribute content to overlooked and marginalized groups on Wikipedia. With over 61 editors contributing to HerStory, the edit-a-thon shattered expectations. As the number of editors is growing on campus, the number of citations to library resources added on Wikipedia is increasing. Wikipedia offers libraries a way to serve 21st-century information needs. It is how we can improve access to knowledge, teach digital literacy, and a way to empower our communities.

Samantha Dodd, University of Texas at Arlington