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A Primer on Wikipedia Editathons (MCN 2014)


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This presentation is from the talk I gave at the Museum Computer Network 2014 in Dallas, TX. Here is the description:

An editathon is an ideal first step in beginning a collaboration between your museum and Wikipedians. Starting small with an editathon can open up a whole world of opportunities to co-create knowledge about collections with your community. This presentation is your chance to hear about organizing and leading Wikipedia editathons, with the hope that you will leave with the practical skills necessary to host such an event. The talk will sketch a typical editathon and answer beginners' questions such as "What is it? (and what is it not?)" and "Why we do it?" Examples, especially from successful Smithsonian editathons, will support a step-by-step guide to planning and executing an editathon.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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A Primer on Wikipedia Editathons (MCN 2014)

  1. 1. A Primer on Wikipedia Editathons Dominic McDevitt-Parks Digital Content Specialist / Wikipedian in Residence National Archives and Records Administration @Dominic_MP #glamwiki
  2. 2. Short history Wikipedia meetups GLAM-Wiki ● “Backstage Pass” British Museum, 2010 National Archives, 2012 [London Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2014]
  3. 3. What is it? ● On-site public outreach event ● Based around editing Wikipedia articles ● Engages local Wikipedians, staff, new editors [London Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2014]
  4. 4. What is it? Generally includes: ● Theme ● Wikipedia tutorial ● Tour/presentation ● Often lunch! [London Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2014]
  5. 5. Why? Wikipedia is important. * Over 75% of digital access to National Archives holdings comes via Wikipedia [London Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2014] 1.3 billion views
  6. 6. Why? You’re a museum. This is your mission. ● Create/improve educational content ● Access to collections ● Digital literacy ● Staff training* [London Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2014]
  7. 7. What does it take? The basics: ● Venue ● Scheduling ● Staff resources [Rossimoda Museum of the Shoe, Venice 2013]
  8. 8. What does it take? Venue: ● Fit at least 20 people comfortably ● Projector ● Reliable wifi ● Outlets and power strips [Rossimoda Museum of the Shoe, Venice 2013]
  9. 9. What does it take? Scheduling: ● Budget at least half a day ● Weekends, depending on audience ● Plan ahead, advertise for weeks in advance [Rossimoda Museum of the Shoe, Venice 2013]
  10. 10. What does it take? Staff resources: ● Event coordination ● Subject-matter expertise ● Involve other staff as possible [Rossimoda Museum of the Shoe, Venice 2013]
  11. 11. How does it work? 1. Theme 2. Event page 3. Task list and resources 4. Promotion 5. Agenda [Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014]
  12. 12. How does it work? Theme: ● This is the hook ● Exhibit, collections, anniversary, etc. ● “Civil War and American art” ● “Women in Science” ● “International Year of Statistics” [Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014]
  13. 13. How does it work? Event page: ● Page on Wikipedia with event info and signups ● Wikipedia has templates, etc. [Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014]
  14. 14. How does it work? Task list and resources: ● List of potential topics ● Discrete and easily digestible, not general subject areas ● Provide secondary sources ahead of time—you’re the authority! [Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014]
  15. 15. How does it work? Promotion: ● Promote to staff and local professionals ● Wikipedia community channels: ○ Meetups page,, listserv, geonotices, talk pages, etc. ● Begin promoting 1 month–2 weeks ahead [Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014]
  16. 16. How does it work? Agenda: 1. Staff welcome/subject matter intro (1 hr.) 2. Wikipedia tutorial (1 hr.) 3. Lunch/refreshments (1 hr.) 4. Editing session (2+ hrs.) [Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014]
  17. 17. Things to keep in mind ● Goal is to spotlight areas of expertise, not polishing our image. ● Staff who participate on Wikipedia are on equal footing with all other editors ○ Must use individual, rather than shared or departmental, accounts. ● All edits may be changed or contested. (This may even be the start of a positive dialogue.) [Smithsonian Institution Libraries (AAPG branch), 2014]
  18. 18. Get creative Scanathon at the National Archives, 2014
  19. 19. [Smithsonian Institution Libraries (AAPG branch), 2014] Other advice ● Record results before wrapping up! ● Manage expectations ○ Intangible outcomes as important as measurables ● Will copyright be an issue? ● Wikimedia grants programs ● Find a real Wikipedian to help you.
  20. 20. @Dominic_MP — [Smithsonian Institution Libraries (AAPG branch), 2014] Questions? All images from Wikimedia Commons: ● Edwardx (CC-BY-SA); Niccolò Caranti (CC-BY-SA); Georgina Goodlander (CC-BY-SA); Andrew Lih (CC-BY); Gerald Shields (CC-BY-SA), Fæ (CC-BY-SA)