Collections and Resources, Digital Library, Events

Make History with Wikipedia Edit-a-thons at UNC Library in April

Aspiring Wikipedians will have four opportunities to make history in April —by contributing historical research to Wikipedia during “edit-a-thons” at libraries on the UNC campus.

Anyone with an interest in research, history, or online information can take part in these efforts to improve information in the free online encyclopedia.

The libraries will provide refreshments, along with expert assistance in conducting research and updating entries.

The edit-a-thons are free and open to the public. Participants should bring a laptop. A brief “Wikipedia basics” workshop will take place at the beginning of each session. Follow the links below for more information.

American Indians in NWikiEdit5orth Carolina
Wednesday, April 1
5 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Wilson Library (room 504)
Co-sponsor: UNC Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists (SCOSAA)

Art + Feminism
Tuesday, April 7
5 p.m. – 8:45 pm.
Sloane Art Library
Co-sponsor: Art and Museum Library and Information Student Society (AMLISS)

African American Soldiers in U.S. Wars
Wednesday, April 8
5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sonja Haynes Stone Center Library (3rd floor)

Women in Science
Thursday, April 16
6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Kenan Science Library
Co-sponsor: UNC Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

When Wikipedia debuted in 2001, most librarians doubted the site’s accuracy and credibility. But as Wikipedia has grown into one of the most recognizable information sources online, librarians have found ways to harness its appeal and contribute to its quality.

“Anyone can edit Wikipedia,” said UNC librarian Emily Jack, organizer of the April 1 event and two prior edit-a-thons. “Some might see that as a weakness, but it really is an opportunity for people to build skills and make a positive contribution to learning.”

The UNC edit-a-thons will have a particular focus on filling gaps in Wikipedia’s coverage, where articles have not yet been written or exist only in a very brief form.

Jack said that participants often come away with a better understanding of how history gets written and about the specialized reference resources and research assistance that the libraries offer.

Student organizations are co-sponsoring three of the events, and Prof. Malinda Maynor Lowery’s service learning class about Lumbee history will take part in the April 1 edit-a-thon. That program will also have a video link to a simultaneous editing event at UNC-Pembroke by a Lumbee history class on that campus.

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