Tag: Wikipedia

Women and Wikipedia….Open Learning and a hobby for life!

This post is the seventh in a series of blog posts for Open Education Week.

By Karen Bowman, University of Edinburgh

Public Domain Image, Wikimedia Commons

I am Karen, a member of the University of Edinburgh administrative staff. I spotted a new open learning experience for staff and students in Creative Learning Week 2018 with ‘no experience needed’ – Wikipedia edit-a-thon for Vote100 centenary anniversary of (some) women’s right to vote [1].

To my amazement, I found that I could quickly:

  • create Wikipedia articles in a fun, educational and empowering afternoon,
  • learn from great teachers, with cakes and coffee on hand,
  • be part of a community of (mainly) women making a difference [2],
  • access a range of research, references, materials to hand, discussions and sharing.

Wikimedians Ewan McAndrew from the University and Alice White from Wellcome Library made it all so easy!

Now with a bit of an ‘addiction’ to editing Wikipedia (for women, especially for the amazingly brave suffragettes), I have been known to

  • wear ‘We can edit’ T-shirt, sport a ‘Deeds not Words’ sticker on the laptop,
  • meet, share ideas with Wikimedian Roger, co-founder of ‘Women In Red‘,
  • repeat the ‘refresher’ training, but never feel inadequate in my skills,
  • find constant support as a volunteer and aware of joining a global effort,
  • listen to a University archivist sharing the history of our University,
  • see an original letter to Christabel Pankhurst in prison, from one of University of Edinburgh’s few female students,
  • read the handwritten register of the University Womens’ Education Group from an era when ‘we’ could study but couldn’t graduate [3].

A joyful open learning community is truly collegial and uplifting, and even has cute messages of support.

== A cupcake for you! ==Many thanks for coming to our International Women’s Day editathon today, Karen.

 

Vote 100 Editathon, CC BY, Karen Bowman

A hobby for life

Processions Karen & Suzanne, CC BY SA, Kaybeesquared, Wikimedia Commons

Now I am proud to tell family and friends of my new (though limited) editing skills, made so easy in VisualEdit and with great Wikimedians there to help!

So I re-joined the University Library and local City Library to track down secondary sources to cite on our suffragists and suffragettes[4][5], joined events on the topic and was part of the Processions 2018 artwork with thousands of women acknowledging the success and the suffering and sheer persistence of notable (and less known) women who led the way and as a result now have my own picture in Wikimedia Commons, and a hobby for life!

Open Learning from history

Open Learning[6] has helped me enjoy learning from the past and creating materials again to acknowledge the women who made it possible for me to march, to have a political voice, complete graduate education, and have a long, varied and satisfying professional life.

Thanks to Open Learning and Ewan McAndrew, University of Edinburgh Wikimedian in Residence – Inspiring Women!

Wikimedia Partnership of the Year, CC BY SA, Stinglehammer, Wikimedia Commons

References

^ “Vote 100 home”. University of Edinburgh Vote 100 homepage.

^ Leonard, Victoria (12 December 2018). “Female scholars are marginalised on Wikipedia because it’s written by men”. The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2019.

^ “Bodleian Oxford University re First Woman Graduate”.

^ Rosen, Andrew (1974). Rise Up, Women!. Routledge & Kegan Paul.

^ Atkinson, Diane (2018). Rise Up Women: the fascinating lives of the suffragettes. ISBN 9781408844045.

6 ^ “Centre for Open Learning at The University of Edinburgh”.

About the author

Karen Bowman is Joint Director of Procurement at the University of Edinburgh, FCIPS, now part-retired. A former NHS Scotland procurement leader and hospice pain research nurse, she started and led the University staff/student Fair Trade steering group and was awarded the Principal’s Medal for outstanding service in 2011. She has continued to learn throughout her life including with Dame Cecily Saunders, OM, DBE; with Harriet Lamb CBE and since joining in Open Learning events and with ‘Women in Red’ is now starting to wiki-edit (a little).

Translation and Open Education – An Experiment using Wikipedia

This post is the fourth in a series of blog posts for Open Education Week.

By Dr Iraklis Pantopoulos, Edinburgh College of Art, and Dr Charlotte Bosseaux, Translation Studies, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh.

Translation and open education go hand in hand! The historical role played by translation in the proliferation and dissemination of knowledge goes back probably to the very beginnings of the act of translation itself. So there can be no doubt translation is a natural fit in the field of Open Education.

So, when the idea was pitched to begin a project working with Wikipedia as a tool in the MSc in Translation Studies it immediately clicked!

The Projects

The idea for the project was simple: As part of their Portfolio of translation, the practice component of their studies, MSc in Translation Studies students need to translate 4,000 words per semester on a topic of their own choosing. This is the independent study component of their portfolio. So, rather than them having to choose any text to translate their project was to select (either individually or in same-language groups) a Wikipedia entry of the right size and create a version of that entry in their target language.

To provide some scaffolded support in their task, two two-hour introductory workshops on the basics of Wikipedia editing and the new Content Translation tool were held by the Wikimedian in Residence. By the second workshop they needed to have chosen the entry to translate. Then the students were left to their own devices, with tutor support when needed.

At the same time, the students were taking a Technology and Translation in the Workplace course, focusing on the impact of digital tools on the translation ecosystem and developing the skills to prepare for a digital translation industry. Reflecting on their experience of working on the Wikipedia project clearly gave them something to draw on and quickly led to very confident discussions in a way that was not possible in previous years.

A Translation From One Language to Another, artwork by by Lawrence Weiner, CC BY SA, brbbl on Wikimedia Commons

The Outputs

Twenty-nine people took part in the assignment in 15/16 and 28 in 16/17, translating articles from English to Arabic, Chinese, French, Greek, Turkish, Japanese and from Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Norwegian into English.

There was a big number of positives from the project and students on the programme were quick to acknowledge this.

Developing their digital capabilities (in line with the University’s graduate attributes) in broader areas such as the use and importance of formatting, in sensitive areas such as their online presence and identity, or even in specialist areas such as the use of machine translation within the Content Translation tool was a clear benefit.

But the things that really excited them and enriched their experience were to do with their participation in the Open Education community!

Members of a community

The change in role from the traditional one of passive “consumers” of knowledge to the active role of producers was fundamental for the students and a crucial step in developing their identity both as postgraduate students and future translators.

Writing to be read not writing merely to be assessed made a huge change in the mindset of the students and was a challenge they were eager to tackle! They now wrote with a potential global audience in mind and were very conscious of the fact that Wikipedia editors would be scrutinising their work. This openness of their translation and the instant audience also resulted in theoretical discussions in class. And coupled with the fact that they were clearly working to create something tangible and lasting (an OER) the increase in their motivation was evident. But even more, this was the first step towards developing an openly available “portfolio” as fledgling translators.

Some of the students were happy to talk about their experiences of the project.

View from the office

For us, as members of the course team, the teething problems of incorporating the Wikipedia project in the programme were quickly outweighed by the possibilities it opened up. Some of our thoughts can be heard in summary here (at 5:35).

One of the common challenges we face with postgraduate students is how to build their research skills. Through their engagement with Wikipedia, and OER in general, students got hands on experience of such skills as the triangulation of sources and the critical evaluation of online material. They were also able to move past a rigid view of research material and view the inherent value in Wikipedia as an aggregator of resources. They were then able to incorporate these skills in more demanding upcoming projects such as their dissertation.

We also as a group got the chance to see how Wikipedia quantity varies from language to language, and how translation can address and redress this inequality, a great motivation for students and another great area for discussion and further research.

We ourselves managed to overcome our initial reservations and were left with genuine enthusiasm for this fresh outlook on the potential of translation to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge.

 

About the authors

Dr Charlotte Bosseaux has wide experience teaching in all areas of translation studies at postgraduate level. She has taught translation theory and methodology and has frequently been course organiser for core courses such as Translation Studies 1 and Research in Translation Studies. She has also organised the TRSS summer schools for doctoral students, where she also taught and offered feedback student presentations. She is also on the international panel of associates for ARTIS (Advanced Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies). She has been on Erasmus exchange programme to various European universities including Milan, Madrid, Zagreb, and Oslo teaching at UG and PG level in translation studies.

Dr Iraklis Pantopoulos has been working in Higher Education for 9 years in a wide variety of academic, support, and learning technology-related roles. He has always been curious about how we teach and how we learn. He developed a particular interest in the place of digital tools in pedagogy and research during my doctoral studies and early teaching and he is always looking for ways to improve the learning experience. In 2018, he completed a PGDip in Digital Education from the University of Edinburgh. He is currently a member of the Learning Technology team at the Edinburgh College of Art.

 

Diversifying Wikipedia for the Festival of Creative Learning 2019

Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website in the world and is an important first stop when looking up any topic – it is truly an incredible resource. But its power can be dangerous. It lacks diversity both in its editorship and its articles. This means that its systemic biases can have a large impact on the way we think. Wikipedia, like most mainstream publishing and media, is very disproportionately white and male. However, unlike traditional information resources, Wikipedia’s users can have a direct positive impact on its content. This is why Information Services held a Diversithon event for the Festival of Creative Learning on the afternoon of 20th February 2019:

“To increase the diversity of voices, genders, and cultures among its contributors and editors, the Wikimedia Foundation has made it a strategic goal to recruit and foster more women, people of colour, and other underrepresented individuals—including LGBT+ populations… the Wikimedia Foundation recognizes that the majority of its Wikipedia contributors and editors are disproportionately male, under 22 years old, and (most likely white and straight) from “the Global North”. They also admit that Wikipedia’s coverage is skewed toward the interests, expertise, and language skills of the people who created it…”— Wexelbaum, Herzog, & Rasberry, “Queering Wikipedia” (2015).

 

The Diversithon was a Wikipedia editing event held in a social and supportive setting to celebrate diversity for LGBT+ History Month 2019 and Black History Month.

This event trained its attendees in the skills required to contribute to and improve Wikipedia – a useful skill for anyone to have – and focused on creating new articles to include notable Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic professionals; LGBT+ professionals; as well as continuing our work to address the systemic gender gap on Wikipedia where only 17.83% of biographies are about notable women.

The Diversithon in a nutshell:
  • 12 new articles were created.
  • 2 more were drafted.
  • 28 articles were edited.
  • 249 edits in total.
  • 15 editors.
  • 9,530 words added.
  • 9,190 articles views.

Our co-hosts for the event, the student support group Wellcomm Kings, kicked off the event.

Rosie Taylor, Wellcomm Kings convenor and Biological Sciences student, kicks off the Diversithon.

Rosie Taylor, a Biological Sciences student and Wellcomm Kings convenor, presented on why we hold  which she had stated she had orientated herself about using Wikipedia. Rosie discussed the history of the Section 28 and the protests against it. This legislation stated that a local authorityshall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. It was repealed on 21 June 2000 in Scotland by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000,  as one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, and on 18 November 2003 in the rest of the United Kingdom. Rosie also provided some context on the Queer Community in Scotland and posed the question as to whether Scotland was indeed ahead of the curve? Homosexuality was, after all, decriminalised 13 years later than in England. She closed by stating there was still a long way to go. Despite the progress being made in some quarters, 1 in 5 LGBT+ people still report to have experienced a hate crime in the past year.

Tom and Henry from the student research project, UncoverEd, tell us what they have discovered about the university’s global alumni.

Tom and Henry from  presented following Rosie’s talk; outlining the student research project they had been involved in, which focused on surfacing the lives and contributions of the University of Edinburgh’s global alumni. The UncoverED exhibition launched 31 January 2019 in the Crystal Macmillan Building.

From the UncoverEd website:

“UncoverEd is a collaborative and decolonising research project, funded by Edinburgh Global, which aims to situate the ‘global’ status of the University of Edinburgh in its rightful imperial and colonial context. Led by PhD candidates Henry Mitchell and Tom Cunningham, the team of eight student researchers are creating a database of students from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and the Americas from as early as 1700, and writing social histories of the marginalised student experience. The aim was to produce at least one biography each of a ‘notable’ alumnus, leading up to a website and exhibition in January 2019”.

Roger Bamkin, co-founder of WikiProject Women in Red, was also in attendance and helped support the staff, students and members of the public at our Diversithon to create and improve Wikipedia pages over the course of the afternoon. WikiProject Women in Red is the second most active WikiProject on Wikipedia and its aim is to turn red-linked articles about notable women which don’t yet exist into blue clickable links which do.

 

“In November 2014, only about 15% of the English Wikipedia’s biographies were about women. Founded in July 2015, WiR strives to improve the figure, which has reached 17.73% as of 18 February 2019. But that means, according to WHGI, only 284,439 of our 1,604,512 biographies are about women. Not impressed? “Content gender gap” is a form of systemic bias, and WiR addresses it in a positive way through shared values.”

 

The afternoon proved a positive and motivating experience for our attendees and allowed us to make use of Wikipedia’s new PrepBio tool to easily create stub articles from the biographical information stored as structured data in Wikidata. e.g. from the List of missing biographies of nonbinary, trans and intersex people.

Through our combined efforts, over the course of an afternoon, the following pages were produced:

Outcomes

  • Jane Pirie (1779-1833) opened a girl’s school in Edinburgh and was accused of lesbianism with the school’s co-founder Marianne Woods. The story of the court case was the inspiration for Lillian Hellman’s play “The Children’s Hour”.
  • Lisa Middleton is the 1st transgender person to be elected in California for a nonjudicial position. Lisa was included in the 2016 Pride Honors Awards recipients from Palm Springs Pride with the Spirit of Stonewall Community Service Award.
  • Xheni Karaj is a LGBT rights activist and co-founder of the Aleanca LGBT organization. Xheni, together with Kristi Pinderi, were among the first activists to launch the LGBT rights movement in Albania. Translated from Albanian Wikipedia.
  • Clara Marguerite Christian (1895-1964), was born in Dominica and was the 1st black woman to study at the University of Edinburgh. Her university experience speaks to the “double jeopardy” of “navigating both race and gender within whiteness”, embodying “the simultaneous invisibility and hyper-visibility” of being a black woman in Edinburgh during the 1910s”.
  • Jabulani Chen Pereira is a queer South African activist & visual artist. In 2012, Pereira founded Iranti (South African LGBT organisation), a non-governmental organisation focusing queer human rights issues primarily through visual media.
  • Annette Eick (1909-2010) was a Jewish Lesbian writer. During the 1920s, a liberal time period in the Weimar republic, Eick wrote poems and short stories for lesbian magazinesAfter the Nazis came to power in 1933, she had to give up on journalism and started working as a nanny. In 1938, she was granted a visum to live in the UK and fled to London after surviving an attack by Nazis on the farm she was staying at during the Reichkristallnacht. Her parents were murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp. In London, Eick worked as a nanny and housekeeper and met her partner Getrud Klingel. They moved to Devon, where they opened a nursery and Eick started writing again. Her collection of poems, Immortal Muse, was published in 1984 and turned into a short film called The Immortal Muse by Jules Hussey in 2005. Eick became known to a wider audience through the documentary ‘Paragraph 175’ from 2000, which told the experiences of five gay men and one lesbian woman (Eick) that were prosecuted under the paragraph 175 which criminalised homosexuality. 
  • Elizabeth Kerekere is a scholar, artist & activist within the LGBTQ+ community in New Zealand. Kerekere has been an active member of the Green Party, promoting suicide prevention, anti-violence, healthy relationships and housing for all.
  • Jessica Platt is a professional hockey player and an advocate for transgender rights. She plays for the Toronto Furies in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and was the first transgender woman to play in the CWHL.
  • Cornelia ‘Connie’ Estelle Smith (1875–1970) was a black music-hall entertainer and actress who was a member of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. Appearing in theater and film, she was best known for her performances in All God’s Chillun Got Wings (1946), You Can’t take it With You (1947), Kaiser Jones(1961), and as the sorceress Tituba in Arthur Miller‘s The Crucible.
  • Gisela Necker (1932-2011) was an early lesbian activist active in Berlin from the 1970s until her death. She was a leading member of Homosexual Action West Berlin (HAW), co-founding its first lesbian group in the early 1970s. She later helped to found the Berlin women’s centre and the Lesbian Action Centre.
  • Les+ Magazine was started in 2005 by a group of young Chinese lesbians. The slogan of the 1st issue states ‘After the darkness fades away, I’ll be holding ur hand, walking under the sunlight with pride, boldly & happily living our lives!‘.
  • Lala is a non-derogatory Chinese slang term for lesbian, or a same-sex desiring woman. It is used primarily by the LGBT+ community in mainland China, though the term has origins in the Taiwanese term for lesbian, lazi (Chinese: 拉子).
  • NEWLY drafted to Wikipedia: Mala Maña is an all-female vocal group from New Mexico, fusing contemporary & folkloric rhythm of the African diasporas with Latin American music. Can you help finish the article so we can publish it?
  • NEWLY drafted to Wikipedia: Marsha H. Levine is the founder of InterPride, an international organisation for Pride committees. She was Parade Manager of San Francisco Pride from 2000-2018. Can you help finish the article so we can publish?
Diversithon editors at work

If you want to know more about the Diversithon or would like to suggest a Wikipedia event yourself then the Wikimedia residency is a free resource available to staff an students at the university. Message me at ewan.mcandrew@ed.ac.uk

You can’t be what you can’t see.

Creating new role models on Wikipedia to encourage the next generation of #ImmodestWomen

By Siobhan O’Connor, Dr. Alice White, Dr. Sara Thomas and Ewan McAndrew.

Wikipedia, the free, online, multilingual encyclopaedia is building the largest open knowledge resource in human history. Now aged eighteen years old, its English language version receives over 500 million views per month, from 1.4 billion unique devices, and has over 130,000 active users collaboratively writing and editing millions of articles online. As topics on Wikipedia become more visible on Google, they receive more press coverage and become better known amongst the public.

Yet while English Wikipedia has significant reach and influence as the go-to source of information around the world, it also has significant gaps in its coverage of topics, articles in other languages and the diversity of its editors. Less than 18 per cent of biographies on English Wikipedia are about women, while most editors on the platform are white men.

This disproportionate gap on Wikipedia silences women’s contribution to science which continues their marginalisation in public life, a vicious circle that leads to more women being lost to careers in STEM. This gender imbalance mirrors the 2017 findings of the WISE campaign with women making up just 23% of those in core STEM occupations (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the UK and 24% of those working in core STEM industries. Only 17% of physicists worldwide are women and studies have shown that it will take approximately 258 years for equality in physics. The rate of progress is even starker for the fields of computer science (280 years) .

Recent research published earlier this year by Asst. Professor Neil C. Thompson at MIT and Asst. Professor Doug Hanley at the University of Pittsburgh has also evidenced that scientific research is actually shaped by Wikipedia; demonstrating the influence of the free encyclopedia.

“Our research shows that scientists are using Wikipedia and that it is influencing how they write about the science that they are doing… Wikipedia isn’t just a record of what’s going on in science, it’s actually helping to shape science.” – Professor Neil C. Thompson

The randomised controlled trial the researchers undertook evidenced a profound causal impact that, as one of the most accessed websites in the world, incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature.

Chemistry graduates were asked to create forty-three new Wikipedia entries about topics in chemistry, with half being posted on Wikipedia while the rest were held back. Two years later, the chemistry entries created on Wikipedia had collectively over 2 million views. Analysing the text of publications from fifty high-impact chemistry journals during this period, showed words in the publications were influenced by content from the new Wikipedia entries.

For example, the ‘History of Chemistry’ entry on Wikipedia features over 200 men but only mentions 4 women and is missing notable female chemists such as Nobel Prize winning biochemist Gerty Cori and Professor Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist and one of the pioneers of a new breakthrough genetic engineering technology called CRISPR.

Another example of the gender imbalance can be seen in the entry for ‘Benzene’ on Wikipedia. There are several paragraphs describing many male scientists who tried to discover the structure of this chemical compound in the 1800’s. However, only one single sentence in the same Wikipedia article acknowledges the female scientist, Kathleen Lonsdale, who finally confirmed the structure of benzene in 1929.

Consequently, the Wikipedia community has established numerous initiatives to address this acknowledged systemic gender bias as they are committed to diversity and inclusivity to ensure knowledge equity. One such initiative, “WikiProject Women in Red (WiR)”, aims to crowdsource turning dormant red links for biography articles that do not yet exist into clickable blue ones which do, directing readers to female biographies and works by women on the platform.

New articles recently created by Women in Red volunteer editors from around the world include: Zheng Pingru, a spy whose life inspired a film; Bridget Jones (academic), a pioneer in the field of Caribbean literature studies; and Paquita Sauquillo, a campaigner in defence of democratic freedom. Entries recently improved by Women in Red editors include: Ruth Schmidt, an award winning American geologist; and Wilma Mankiller, an activist and social worker who was the first woman elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

As a result of targeted Wikipedia editing events, or ‘edit-a-thons’, there are also now entire series of articles for the Edinburgh Seven, the first female students to matriculate at a British university, and the nineteen pioneering women chemists who, in 1904, petitioned the Chemistry Society (later to become the Royal Society of Chemistry) for the admission of women as Fellows of the Society.

Chemistry staff and students c.1899 at the Royal Holloway College, University of London. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons from Royal Holloway, University of London – RHC PH 201/11 Archives, Royal Holloway, University of London

“These were a group of extraordinary women who had done chemistry to degree and postgraduate level at a time when you couldn’t do that… and they had extraordinary stories and they did extraordinary chemistry.” – Dr. Michael Seery, Director of Teaching at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry.

Often if articles are not missing entirely, the contributions of women in science are reduced to bit part status as an addendum on the Wikipedia articles of their husbands or male contemporaries. Marie Curie’s Wikipedia article reportedly started out shared with her husband. That was, until someone pointed out that her scientific contributions might just warrant an article of her own. There is also a new article for Scottish physical scientist, Katherine Clerk Maxwell, whose contribution to measurements of gaseous viscosity was recorded by her husband, James, and is associated with his paper “On the Dynamical Theory of Gases”, where he states that Katherine “did all the real work of the kinetic theory” and that she was now “…engaged in other researches. When she is done I will let you know her answer to your inquiry.”

Katherine Clerk Maxwell, 1869. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The achievements of extraordinary pioneering women are recorded in various sources, however no one has chosen to write their stories on Wikipedia. Focused attention in themed editing events means more articles are being created all the time.

Surveys have indicated that only 8.5–16% of Wikipedia editors are female. One particular 2011 survey suggested that on English Wikipedia around 91% of editors were male, and typically formally educated, in white-collar jobs (or students) and living in the Global North.  The same survey found that fewer than 1% of editors self-identified as transsexual or transgender.

“if there is a typical Wikipedia editor, he has a college degree, is 30- years-old, is computer savvy but not necessarily a programmer, doesn’t actually spend much time playing games, and lives in US or Europe.”

This means that articles within Wikipedia typically reflect these gender, socioeconomic and cultural biases. Among the findings of the 2016 research article, Women through the glass ceiling: gender asymmetries in Wikipedia, were that women in Wikipedia were more notable than men; that there was linguistic gender bias manifest in family-, gender-, and relationship-related topics being more present in biographies about women; and there was also linguistic gender bias in positive terms being used more frequently in the biographies of men while negative terms appeared more frequently in the biographies of women. The authors also found structural differences in terms of the metadata and hyperlinks, which had consequences for information-seeking activities. Wikipedia is only ever as good as the diversity of editors who engage with it, with many articles reflecting the perspective of white male English speakers in the northern hemisphere, and many of the topics covered reflect the interests of this relatively small group of editors. Wikipedia therefore needs a diverse community of editors to bring a range of perspectives and interests that truly represent human knowledge.

Awareness of this systemic gender bias has prompted the development of a tool called the Concept Replacer which simply highlights the gendered nouns and pronouns in the text of an article and temporarily shows you how a biography article of a notable woman would read if it was written instead as a biography for a man (and vice versa). This easy to use tool is useful for editors and article readers alike in order to help identify instances of unconscious bias at a glance. For instance, exposing why the marital status is included in the first lines about some biographies, and not others.

 

Wikipedia is also a community that operates with certain expectations and social norms in mind. Sometimes new editors can have a less than positive experience when they are not fully aware of this. As mentioned previously, there are over 130,000 regular contributors to Wikipedia. Of these, only 3,541 are considered ‘very active. That’s the population of a small village like Pitlochry in Scotland trying to curate the world’s knowledge.

There is a need to increase both the diversity and number of Wikipedia editors. One way to do that is to run ‘edit-a-thons’ and other facilitated activities that introduces some of the norms and expectations of the online platform while at the same time learning how to technically edit Wikipedia pages and create high quality content.

Edit-a-thons have been running globally for a number of years to facilitate the creation of new profiles of women on Wikipedia. For example, the University of Edinburgh has been hosting Women in STEM Wikipedia editathons on the second Tuesday of October for the last four years to mark Ada Lovelace Day,  an international celebration of the achievements of Women in STEM. The Wellcome Library in London has also run women in science edit-a-thons to build new biographies of prominent female chemists, engineers and nurses on Wikipedia. These events have surfaced the achievements a number of notable women online including: Hilda Lyon, who invented the “Lyon Shape”, a streamlined design used for airships and submarines; structural engineer, Faith Wainwright, director of the Arup Group, who led in the structural design of multiple landmark buildings including the American Air Museum and the Tate Modern; Annie Warren Gill, a British nurse who was awarded the Royal Red Cross in recognition of her service during World War I and served as president of the Royal College of Nursing in 1927; Frances Micklethwait MBE, an English research chemist, among the first to study and seek an antidote to mustard gas during the First World War.

Despite this global campaign and investment to encourage more female editors and the creation of content related specifically to women, progress is slow. Since 2014, WikiProject Women in Red’s volunteer editors regularly help create in the region of 1000-2000 new articles every month. As a result, this has increased the proportion of biographies on women from 15% to 17.83% of the total. It has been estimated that it will take until 2050 or later until gender parity is achieved on Wikipedia.

Tackling this bias online requires collective responsibility. A number of actions at an individual, organisational and national level can be taken to bring about positive change.

“Women in STEM are under-represented and maybe the lack of role models is one reason why. Also biographies of women in STEM on Wikipedia are much fewer than they should be and maybe if we can change that, we can change the way future generations look at science and technology as a career path”

Athina Frantzana, PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics & Astronomy.

Firstly, those of all genders everywhere could commit time and energy to becoming dedicated Wikipedians, who regularly create female scientific biographies and other content related to women in science. Those who do so tend to benefit from a sense of reciprocity and altruism which results from the direct impact that Wikipedia has worldwide.

For instance, Dr. Jess Wade, a physicist and postdoctoral researcher in electronics at Imperial College London, attended a Wellcome Library editathon and was horrified to learn about the gender gap on Wikipedia.

Dr Jess Wade, physicist and diversity champion at Imperial College, London.

“The majority of editors are men. The majority of editors are white men. So representation of people of colour, of LGBTQ+ people is really, really bad. So many young people use [Wikipedia] as the sole source of their information. They don’t use textbooks anymore. They go to Wikipedia first when they’re looking something up. And I don’t want that to be an incredibly biased view of the world… you could be looking up some kind of new solar material, you could be looking up a cathedral in Florence [but] the people that you read about will be men. And that really frightened me… So I just thought I’d start off by doing one a day. And yeah it’s really fun.”

This experience motivated her to start creating Wikipedia entries about contemporary female scientists, with over 450 new articles published in the last twelve months. These include Isabel Ellie Knaggs, a crystallographer who worked with Kathleen Lonsdale on the crystal structure of benzil; Noël Bakhtian, director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Idaho National Laboratory and described as one of the most powerful female engineers in the world by Business Insider in 2018; Katherine Mathieson, the Chief Executive of the British Science Association; Ronke Mojoyinola Olabisi, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University working with Mae Jemison on 100 Year Starship, an interdisciplinary initiative that is exploring the possibility of human interstellar travel; and Powtawche Valerino, the first Native American woman to receive a PhD in mechanical engineering from Rice University. Valerino is a mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory who worked as a navigation engineer for the Cassini mission.   Wade says the response to her work surfacing the achievements of these inspiring women on Wikipedia has been incredibly positive.

Secondly, organisations in these fields could provide training for staff at all levels via edit-a-thons to build capacity for an inclusive, global, online community. Investing in a Wikimedian, an in-house expert that is dedicated to educating and supporting an organisation to contribute to Wikipedia, would enable larger institutions to permanently embed gender equality within their organisational culture.

Institutions that currently host, or have hosted, a Wikipedian in Residence include libraries (e.g. the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Wellcome Library), charities, museums, archives, the Royal Society of Chemistry, heritage organisations (eg. Museums Galleries Scotland), UNESCO and universities (University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford).

At the University of Edinburgh, discussion around meeting the information literacy and digital skills needs of staff and students, and how to better meet the university’s commitment to Athena SWAN led to working with Wikimedia UK. Research by Professor Allison Littlejohn at the Open University validated that running editathons at the University contributed to the formation of networks of practice and development of social capital.

“Editathons, if run well, can develop not just technical knowledge but also workplace cultural capital and networks. These are the things women need in STEM (science, technology, mathematics and engineering) workplaces. ” – Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal at the University of Edinburgh.

Participants also saw it as an important part of their professional development and felt that editing was a form of knowledge activism which  helped generate important discussions about how knowledge is created, curated and contested online and how Wikipedia editors can positively impact on the knowledge available to people all around the world and addressing those knowledge gaps.

“It’s an emotional connection… Within, I’d say, less than 2 hours of me putting her page in place it was the top hit that came back in Google when I Googled it and I just thought that’s it, that’s impact right there!” Anita – editathon participant.

Reproductive Medicine undergraduates (CC-BY-SA)

Thirdly, national policies across education, research and workforce development could put the spotlight on the powerful impact online platforms like Wikipedia have on women in science and recommend strategies to capitalise on them. For its part the University of Edinburgh has recommended that Wikipedia Women in Red editing forms part of its new four year action plan for meeting its commitment to the Athena SWAN charter by surfacing role models in ten academic disciplines; to encourage and inspire the next generation of immodest women.

Search is the way we live now

According to 2011 figures in the book “Google and the Culture of Search”, Google processed over 91% of searches internationally. Google’s ranking algorithm also narrows the sources clicked upon 90% of the time to just the first page of results.

American feminist scholar of 18th-century British literature, and a noted Wikipedian, Adrienne Wadewitz noted the important role in addressing knowledge gaps on Wikipedia and Google could have:

“Google takes information from Wikipedia, as do many other sites, because it is licensed through a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. Those little boxes on the left-hand side of your screen when you do a Google search? From Wikipedia. The information that is on Wikipedia spreads across the internet. What is right or wrong or missing on Wikipedia affects the entire internet.”

More recently, researchers at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University have underlined the substantial interdependence of Wikipedia and Google. The results of two deception studies, whose goal was to better demonstrate the relationship between Wikipedia and Google, demonstrated Google depends on Wikipedia and vice versa. Click through rate decreased by 80% if Wikipedia links were removed. Wikipedia was shown to depend on Google. 84.5% of visits to Wikipedia were noted to being attributable to Google.

This means that addressing knowledge gaps on Wikipedia will surface the knowledge to Google’s top results, help populate and power Google’s ‘Knowledge graph’ (presented as a box to the right of search results) and increase visibility, click through and knowledge-sharing. Wikipedia editing can be seen as a form of activism in the democratisation of access to information.

A powerful reminder of the impact Wikipedia can have can be seen among young women and girls, who often lack easily identifiable female role models to follow. Bringing female role models to the fore  beyond the world of celebrity and reality television is something that both Girlguiding UK and psychologist Penelope Lockwood noted was necessary for female students to feel that success is possible in order to broaden their future career aspirations.

Last Summer, schoolgirls from across London were invited by the Mayor of London’s office to take part in a editathon at Bloomberg for London Tech Week to redress the gender balance on Wikipedia through adding new entries on women CEOs, editors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and artists. The hope is this will kickstart further editathons across London and the UK; to further empower students up and down the country that their contributions are valued and that there are inspirational people out there achieving success in fields they just might aspire to join.

A new Open Access book on Gender Equality in higher education, EqualBite, asserts that the problem is persuading girls to consider and apply for STEM courses in the first place when they could apply for any number of courses, given that girls outperform boys at school including in STEM subjects. Recognising women’s achievements and contributions through creating and editing Wikipedia articles can encourage the next generation to take up careers in science. This could help address workforce shortages across many STEM fields and generate significant amounts of economic growth through diversifying innovation and entrepreneurship. Beyond this, we need to look at how improving the visibility of women role models in the online world can better shape our physical environments. The University of Edinburgh Student Association has recently worked on a project to improve diversity in student spaces through replacing the all-male portraits on the walls with more diverse group of portraits to encourage a greater sense of belonging. Similarly, a project in Hertford College, Oxford to mark 40 years of women at the college specially commissioned photograph portraits of women graduates, staff and students to replace the all-male portraits on the walls. By increasing awareness of female achievements online, we can create more inclusive, more diverse, more representative, more empowering physical environments to help breed confidence and undo the negative impact this lack of representation engenders.

Portraits hanging outside the Playfair Library, Old College. CC-BY_SA, Mihaela Bodlovic, http://www.aliceboreasphotography.com/

“Meanings are projected not just by the buildings themselves, but by how they are furnished and decorated. And where almost every image –portrait, photograph, statue – of academic achievement and leadership is masculine (and nearly always white middle-aged), the meaning is clear: to be a successful leader, gender and ethnicity matter.”

The benefits are clear but the scale of the challenge is massive. It has taken Women in Red editors two years to move the percentage of biographies of women on Wikipedia up by 2%. Looking to the future, Artificial Intelligence may prove one method to help address the gender gap. The software tool, Quicksilver, developed by San Francisco startup Primer has been created to help address the blind-spots on Wikipedia, with women in science a particular focus. Using machine-learning algorithms, Quicksilver searches the internet for news entries, links to sources, scientific citations and helps pull all this information together to auto-generate fully-sourced draft Wikipedia entries. This has since been tested at an editathon in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Maria Strangas, the museum researcher who organized the event, says it helped the 25 first-time editors update the pages for roughly 70 women scientists in just two hours. “It magnified the effect that event had on Wikipedia,” Strangas says.”

So far, over 40,000 summaries have been generated by the Quicksilver method. These entries then need proofread by Wikipedia editors before they can be added to Wikipedia’s livespace. Given that the number of ‘very active’ Wikipedia editors on English Wikipedia remains low at around 3,541 (the population of a small village) the importance of encouraging and empowering a diversity of editors to engage with Wikipedia editing is crucial in terms of increasing the visibility of inspirational female role models online to, in turn, encourage and empower the next generation of women in STEM whose scientific breakthroughs can continue to shape our world for the better.

If you’re feeling motivated to contribute, create a Wikipedia account today and join WikiProject Women in Red.

Witchy Wikidata – a 6th birthday celebration event for Halloween

Wikidata is turning 6 years old at the end of October 2018“the source for open structured data on the web and for facts within Wikipedia.” so we are hosting a birthday celebration on Wednesday 31st October 2018 in time for Halloween in Teaching Studio LG.07, David Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh.

Wikidata is a free and open data repository of the world’s knowledge that anyone can read & edit. Wikidata’s linked database acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects.

Using Wikidata, information on Wikipedia can be queried & visualised as never before. The sheer versatility of how this data can be used is only just beginning to be understood & explored.

In this session we will explain why Wikidata is so special, why its users are so excited by the possibilities it offers, why it may overtake Wikipedia in years to come as the project to watch and how it is quietly on course to change the world.

Pumpkinpedia

What will the session include?

  • An introduction to Wikidata: what it is, why it is useful and all the amazing things that can be done with structured, linked, machine-readable open data.
  • A practical activity using the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database where you will learn the ‘nuts & bolts’ of how to use and edit Wikidata (manually and in bulk) and help shape the future of open knowledge!
  • A practical guide to querying Wikidata using the SPARQL Query Service.
  • Cake and Wikidata swag to take home.

Who should attend?

Absolutely anyone can use Wikidata for something, so people of all disciplines and walks of life are encouraged to attend this session. Basic knowledge of using the internet will be needed for the practical activity, but there are no other pre-requisites.

Anyone interested in open knowledge, academic research, application development or data visualisation should come away buzzing with exciting new ideas!

NB: Please bring a laptop with you OR email ewan.mcandrew@ed.ac.uk at least 24 hours ahead of the event if you need to borrow one.

Please also create a Wikidata account ahead of the event.

Programme

  • 10:45 – 11:00: Welcome, Tea/Coffee, Registration
  • 11:00 – 11:30: Introduction to Wikidata – what is it, and why is it useful? – Dr. Sara Thomas, Scotland Programme Co-ordinator for Wikimedia UK.
  • 11:30 – 12:30: Introduction to SPARQL queries – Delphine Dallison (Wikimedian at the Scottish Library and Information Council).
  • 12:30 – 13:00: Break for lunch
  • 13:00 – 14:30: Witchy data session – Ewan McAndrew (Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh).
    • Manual edits practical – adding data from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database to Wikidata.
    • Mass edits practical – adding data in bulk from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database to Wikidata.
    • Visualising the results
  • 14:30 – 14:45:– Close and thanks.

Book here to attend.

If coming from outside the University of Edinburgh then book your place via Eventbrite here.

North Berwick witches – the logo for the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database (Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Ada Lovelace Day – 1 month to go!

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, the University’s Information Services team are running an edit-a-thon to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2018 which is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

It’s a little over a month until Ada Lovelace Day 2018 so do pop it in your calendar now and we’ll announce further details about the University’s plans on our Ada Lovelace Day website shortly.

This year the event will have a particular focus on Contemporary Women in STEM and #ALD2018 is to be hosted at the JCMB building (subject to room confirmation) with a evening networking event in the social space at the Joseph Black building (wine and nibbles supplied by the Royal Society of Chemistry).

There will be a range of guest speakers in the morning followed by fun STEM activities in the afternoon (see below for details). Full Wikipedia editing training will be given at 2-3pm. Thereafter the afternoon’s edit-a-thon will focus on improving the quality of Wikipedia articles related to Contemporary Women in STEM! This year we will also be hosting a Women in STEM data hackathon.

Following on from last year’s panel discussion, to close the day there will be a more informal discussion and networking event. Five guest speakers from a variety of career stages have been invited to say a few words to promote discussion inc. Dr. Jenni Garden, Christina Miller Research Fellow at the School of Chemistry and Professor Lesley Yellowlees.

All three events (morning, afternoon and evening) will be free and open to all so taking part in Ada Lovelace Day is as as easy as 1,2,3.

You can book to attend one session, two sessions or all three and booking will open very soon. Watch this space.

Who is your STEM heroine?

A regular activity for Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) at the University of Edinburgh is the Wikipedia editing event or editathon. This year the focus is contemporary women in STEM who do not currently have Wikipedia pages.

Nominate your contemporary STEM heroine for consideration at the Wikipedia editathon Tuesday 9th October. This should only take 5-10 minutes and it will really help us to create new role models for young and old alike on the world’s go-to source for information, Wikipedia.

Submit your STEM heroine nomination (Google Form)

Please note the deadline for submissions is now Monday 8th October.

Assistant Principal Melissa Highton welcoming attendees to Ada Lovelace Day 2017
Assistant Principal Melissa Highton welcoming attendees to Ada Lovelace Day 2017

Draft Programme

Morning session 11am-12:30pm: Talks

Morning of short talks chaired by Anne-Marie Scott.

Confirmed room: Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House.

Tea and coffee will be served at 11am.

Talks will commence at 11.15am.

    • Housekeeping and welcome from Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Director or Learning, Teaching & Web Services.
    • Women in High Performance Computing (HPC) – Athina Frantzana
    • Introduction to the Gender and Equality Images Internship – Francesca Vavotici. This 10-minute talk will explore the role of the Gender and Equality Images Intern and will offer an overview of the Library and University collections. With such wealth of fascinating materials available, the talk will provide insight into the research process and share some of the highlights so far.
    • Women in STEM Society – Charlie and Yvonne.
    • Wellcomm Kings – Rosie and Izzy
    • Knitting Ada – Find out about how Madeleine Shepherd hacked her knitting machine to create a portrait of Ada Lovelace in yarn.
    • University of Edinburgh Physics Society – Olivia Jackson.

The morning session will close with elevator pitches for the drop-in activities in the afternoon.

(Pic from Ada Lovelace Day 2016 at the University of Edinburgh – own work CC-BY-SA).

Activities 12:30pm-5:30pm: Activities

Chaired by Stewart Cromar and James Slack (Information Services)

Confirmed rooms: 

12:30pm-5:30pm: HPC Carpentry: a hands-on introduction to Supercomputing (3211 – JCMB Building)

  • David Henty, Weronika Filinger, Clair Barrass
  • Needs to be pre-registered
  • Edinburgh University hosts the UK national supercomputer, ARCHER, and many other machines available to Edinburgh researchers. This hands-on session will explain what High Performance Computing (HPC )is, what a supercomputer is, how to use it and what you can get out of it. We have run similar workshops previously under the “Women in HPC” initiative in UK and abroad and are keen to repeat the workshop for a local audience.

12:30pm-1:30pm: DIY Film School (Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House).

  • Liam Duffy and Stephen Donnelly (Information Services)
  • Introductory talk on DIY Film School and then practising & recording of the below activities

12:30pm-2:30pm: STEM stories (Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House).

  • Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society Committee members: Yvonne Anderson, Charlie Simms, Sarah Aitkin, Lyndsey Scott, Serene Messai
  • Aim: To allow students to share and discuss their experiences at university, particularly women in STEM.
  • All participants are given postcards on which they can write a good or bad experience they have had during university to do with equality and diversity.We will have a whiteboard split into good and bad and will get people to put their postcard on the side that applies to them.
  • Outcome: Bringing up subjects such as unconscious bias and making people aware that sexism is a current problem within stem subjects. Focusing on positive stories but also ways of addressing the negative ones.

12:30pm-2:30pm: Cake decorating (Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House).

  • Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society Committee: Yvonne Anderson, Charlie Simms, Sarah Aitkin, Lyndsey Scott, Serene Messai
  • Audience given cupcake and bio about a famous women in STEM and decorate their cake to represent her. The aim is simply to educate people on the important female figures within STEM.
Women in Red Wikipedia editing.  Photo by Dr Alexander Chow. CC-BY-SA

Contemporary Women in STEM editathon 2:30pm-5:30pm

Chaired by Ewan McAndrew and Stephanie ‘Charlie’ Farley.

Confirmed room: Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House.

    • Create pages on contemporary Women in STEM figures crowdsourced from suggestions from circulating this Googleform.
      • Wikipedia training from 2:30pm-3.30pm
      • Creating new pages from 3.30pm-5pm.
      • Publishing new pages 5pm-5.30pm.
      • Potentially personal/research websites as sources of information
      • Sources for open-access images? Approach repositories
      • Identify if there are books we need to buy into library ahead of time. e.g. Last year Chemistry was their lives proved very helpful
      • Use review articles for sources of bio information.
      • Short activities  can have big results e.g. training to add an image, an info box (5-10 mins), citation (5-10) or data (5-10 mins)

Women in STEM data hackathon 3:30pm-5:30pm

Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House.

  • Data on Women in STEM can be provided in an editable table – participants fill in blank columns with missing verifiable information.
    • E.g. Place of study, field of work, notable achievements…

At the end of the Wikipedia and Wikidata workshops we will tweet out the newly created pages and new data visualisations (maps, timelines etc.)

Ada Lovelace
Alfred Edward Chalon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Evening discussion & networking event 5.45pm-7.30pm

Chaired by Dr. Michael Seery, Director of Teaching at the School of Chemistry.

Venue: Social area at the School of Chemistry in Joseph Black building.

Following on from last year’s panel discussion, this will be a more informal discussion and networking event. Five guest speakers from a variety of career stages have been invited to say a few words  to promote discussion inc. Dr. Jenni Garden, Christina Miller Research Fellow at the School of Chemistry and Professor Lesley Yellowlees.

Wine and nibbles provided by the Royal Society of Chemistry,

Previous Women in STEM editathons

Review the Wikipedia articles improved and created at previous ALD editathons:

  1. ALD Wikipedia editathon 2017
  2. ALD Wikipedia editathon 2016
  3. ALD Wikipedia editathon 2015

Ada Lovelace Day 2017 short film

In celebration of International Women’s Day (#IWD2018) watch footage from Ada Lovelace Day 2017 at the University of Edinburgh. Via Media Hopper Create you can watch and download a Creative Commons licenced (CC BY-SA) full HD version for sharing/repurposing/remixing!

How to run a Wikipedia editathon – a workshop for health information professionals at the EAHIL conference

This post was authored by Ruth Jenkins, Academic Support Librarian at the University of Edinburgh.

For some time, Wikipedia has been shown to be a resource to engage with, rather than avoid. Wikipedia is heavily used for medical information by students and health professionals – and the fact that it is openly available is crucial for people finding health information, particularly in developing countries or in health crises. Good quality Wikipedia articles are an important contribution to the body of openly available information – particularly relevant for improving health information literacy. In fact, some argue that updating Wikipedia should be part of every doctor’s work, contributing to the dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Participants editing Wikipedia

With that in mind, Academic Support Librarians for Medicine Marshall Dozier, Ruth Jenkins and Donna Watson recently co-presented a workshop on How to run a Wikipedia editathon, at the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) Conference in Cardiff in July. Ewan McAndrew, our Wikimedian in Residence here at the University of Edinburgh, was instrumental in the planning and structuring of the workshop, giving us lots of advice and help. On the day, we were joined by Jason Evans, Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales, who spoke about his role at NLW and the Wikimedia community and helped support participants during editing.

We wanted our workshop to give participants experience of editing Wikipedia and build their confidence using Wikipedia as part of the learning experience for students and others. Our workshop was a kind of train-the-trainer editathon. An editathon is an event to bring people together at a scheduled time to create entries or edit Wikipedia on a specific topic, and they are valuable opportunities for collaborating with subject experts, and to involve students and the public.

Where a typical editathon would be a half-day event, we only had 90 minutes. As such, our workshop was themed around a “micro-editathon” – micro in scale, timing and tasks. We focused on giving participants insights into running an editathon, offered hands-on experience, and small-scale edits such as adding images and missing citations to articles.

Systematic review edit
Key stats from the EAHIl Wikipedia editathon

We also presented on the Wikipedia assignment in the Reproductive Biology Honours programme here at Edinburgh, including a clip from this video of a student’s reflections on the assignment, which sparked discussion from the attendees. Jason Evans’ talk about Wikimedia UK and Wikiproject Medicine, contextualised the participants’ edits within the wider Wikimedia community.

We are waiting on feedback from the event, but anecdotally, the main response was a wish for a longer workshop, with more time to get to know Wikipedia better! There was lots of discussion about take-home ideas, and we hope they are inspired to deliver editathon events in their own organisations and countries. We also spotted that some of our participants continued to make edits on Wikipedia in the following weeks, which is a great sign.

If you want to know more, you can visit the event website which roughly follows the structure of our workshop and includes plenty of further resources: https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/eahil-editathon/

Further information.

Pic of Ruth Jenkins at the Reproductive Biology Hons. Wikipedia workshop.
By Stinglehammer [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The internet’s favourite website for information

Wikipedia at 17.

  • The world’s biggest encyclopedia will turn eighteen in January 2019.
  • English Wikipedia has 5.7m articles (full list of all 302 language Wikipedias)
  • 500 million visitors per month
  • 1.5 billion monthly unique devices per month.
  • 17 billion pageviews per month.
  • Completely open process and more reliable than you think
  • All edits are recorded in the View History of a page in permanent links so pages can be rolled back to their last good state if need be. e.g. View History page for Jeremy Hunt.
  • Vandalism removed more quickly than you think (only 7% of edits are considered vandalism)
  • Used in schools & universities to teach information literacy & help combat fake news.
  • Guidelines around use of reliable sources, conflict of interest, verifiability, and neutral point of view.
  • Articles ‘looked after’ (monitored and maintained) by editors from 2000+ WikiProjects.
  • Includes a quality and ratings scale – the two highest quality levels of articles are community reviewed.
  • Information organised in categories using a category tree. These categories can help create dynamic timelines.
  • Knowledge discussed on Talk pages  and at the Wikipedia Tea House where you can ask questions.
  •  87.5% of students report using Wikipedia for their academic work (Selwyn and Gorard, 2016) in “an introductory and/or clarificatory role” as part of their information gathering and research and finding it ‘academically useful’ in this context.
  • Used by 90% of medical students and 50-75% of physicians. (Masukume, Kipersztok, Shafee, Das, and Heilmam, 2017)
  • Research from the Harvard Business School has also discovered that, unlike other more partisan areas of the internet, Wikipedia’s focus on NPOV (neutral point of view) means editors actually become more moderate over time; the researchers seeing this as evidence that editing “Wikipedia helps break people out of their ideological echo chambers
  • It is the place people turn to orientate themselves on a topic.

 

More reading

Did Media Literacy backfire?

“Too many students I met were being told that Wikipedia was untrustworthy and were, instead, being encouraged to do research. As a result, the message that many had taken home was to turn to Google and use whatever came up first. They heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.” (Boyd, 2017)

Don’t cite Wikipedia, write Wikipedia.

  • Wikipedia does not want you to cite it. It considers itself a tertiary resource; an online encyclopedia built from articles which in turn are based on reliable, published, secondary sources.
  • Wikipedia is relentlessly transparent. Everything on Wikipedia can be checked, challenged and corrected. Cite the sources Wikipedia uses, not Wikipedia itself.
Own work by Stinglehammer, CC-BY-SA

Wikipedia does need more subject specialists to engage with it to improve its coverage, however. More eyes on a page helps address omissions and improves the content.

Six in six minutes – 3 students and 3 staff discuss Wikipedia in the Classroom

  1. Karoline Nanfeldt – 4th year Psychology undergraduate student.
  2. Tomas Sanders – 4th year History undergraduate student.
  3. Aine Kavanagh – Senior Hons. Reproductive Biology student.
  4. Ruth Jenkins – Academic Support Librarian at the University of Edinburgh Medical School.
  5. Dr. Jenni Garden – Christina Miller Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry.
  6. Dr. Michael Seery – Reader in Education at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry.

Wikipedia has a problem with systemic bias.

A 2011 survey suggests that on English Wikipedia around 90% of editors are male, and are typically formally educated, in white-collar jobs (or students) and living in the Global North.

“if there is a typical Wikipedia editor, he has a college degree, is 30- years-old, is computer savvy but not necessarily a programmer, doesn’t actually spend much time playing games, and lives in US or Europe.”

This means that the articles within Wikipedia typically reflect this bias. For example only 17% of biographies in English Wikipedia are of women. Many articles reflect the perspective of English speakers in the northern hemisphere, and many of the topics covered reflect the interests of this relatively small group of editors. Wikipedia needs a diverse community of editors to bring diverse perspectives and interests.

Wikipedia is also a community that operates with certain expectations and social norms in mind. Sometimes new editors can have a less than positive experience when they aren’t fully aware of this.

“5 Pillars of Wikipedia” flickr photo by giulia.forsythe https://flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/21684596874 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

There are only 80,000 regular contributors to Wikipedia. Of these, only 3,000 are considered ‘very active. That’s the population of a small village like Pitlochry trying to curate the world’s knowledge.

We need to increase the diversity and number of Wikipedia editors.  One way to do that is to run edit-a-thons and other facilitated activities that introduce some of these norms and expectations at the same time learning how to technically edit Wikipedia.

Isn’t editing Wikipedia hard?

Maybe it was a little hard once but not now. It’s all dropdown menus now with the Visual Editor interface. So super easy, intuitive and “addictive as hell“!

Do you need a quick overview of what all the buttons and menu options on Wikimedia do? Luckily we have just the very thing for you.

By Zeromonk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Search is the way we live now” – Google and Wikipedia

  • Google depends on Wikipedia. Click through rate decreases by 80% if Wikipedia links are removed. (McMahon, Johnson and Hecht, 2017)
  • Wikipedia depends on Google. 84.5% of visits to Wikipedia attributable to Google. (McMahon, Johnson and Hecht, 2017)
  • Google processed 91% of searches internationally and 97.4% of the searches made using mobile devices according to 2011 figures in Hillis, Petit & Jarrett (2013).
  • Google’s ranking algorithm also has a ‘funnelling effect’ according to Beel & Gipp (2009); narrowing the sources clicked upon 90% of the time to just the first page of results with a 42% clickthrough on first choice alone.
  • This means that addressing knowledge gaps on Wikipedia will surface the knowledge to Google’s top ten results and increase clickthrough and knowledge-sharing. Wikipedia editing can therefore be seen as a form of activism in the democratisation of access to information.

 

The Symbiotic Relationship between Wikipedia and Google.

Learn how to edit Wikipedia in 30 mins

More Reading

Open.Ed – OER and Open Knowledge at the University of Edinburgh

The following post was co-written by Stephanie ‘Charlie’ Farley and Lorna Campbell who work at the University of Edinburgh’s Open Education Resources (OER) Service. It was presented by Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, at the Repository Fringe Conference 2018 held on 2nd & 3rd July 2018 at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 

Open.Ed  – OER & Open Knowledge at the University of Edinburgh

by Charlie Farley & Lorna M. Campbell

The University of Edinburgh’s OER Service is based within information Services and provides staff and students with practical advice and guidance on creating, finding and using open educational resources.  Charlie Farley and Lorna Campbell run a wide range of workshops and initiatives within the University and beyond, and also maintain Open.Ed which provides a one stop shop to access open educational resources produced by staff and students across the university.  The University does not have a single OER Repository, instead we have multiple repositories across the institution for different kinds of content and we believe in sharing our open resources where ever they will be found most easily, e.g. Media Hopper Create, flickr, Vimeo, Sketchfab, TES, etc.

 

OER Mission, Vision and Policy

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Centre for Research Collections, https://flic.kr/p/snkn7o
  • Provide the highest quality learning and teaching environment for the greater wellbeing of our students
  • Make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world.
  • OER Vision draws on history of the Edinburgh Settlement, excellent education and research collections, traditions of the Enlightenment.
  • OER Policy encourages staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience.

At Edinburgh we believe that open education is strongly in line with our institutional mission to provide the highest quality learning and teaching environment for the greater wellbeing of our students, and to make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world, promoting health and economic and cultural wellbeing.

Our vision for OER builds on our excellent education and research collections, traditions of the Scottish Enlightenment and the university’s civic mission.   In addition to the OER Service, this vision is backed up by our OER Policy which encourages both staff and students to engage with the use and creation of OER and open knowledge, to enhance the quality of the student experience while at the same time making a significant contribution to the cultural and digital commons.

OER for Digital Skills

OER can help to develop digital skills for both staff and students. 23 Things for Digital Knowledge is an award winning, open online course, adapted from an open course developed by the University of Oxford.  23 Things is designed to encourage digital literacy by exposing learners to a wide range of digital tools for personal and professional development. Learners spend a little time each week, building up and expanding their digital skills and are encouraged to share their experiences with others.  All course content and materials are licensed under a CC BY licence and the University actively encourages others to take and adapt the course. The course has already been used by many individuals and organisations outwith Edinburgh and it has recently been adapted for use by the Scottish Social Services Council.

OER for Equality and Diversity

OER can make a significant contribution to diversifying the curriculum.  A number of studies, including the National LGBT Survey released by the Government today, have shown that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual health is not well-covered in Medical curricula, however knowledge of LGBT health and of the sensitivities needed to treat LGBT patients are valuable skills for qualifying doctors.

Using materials from the commons, a project at the University of Edinburgh, LGBT+ Healthcare 101, sought to address the lack of teaching on LGBT health within the curriculum through OER.  The project remixed and repurposed resources originally created by Case Western Reserve University, and then contributed these resources back to the commons as CC BY licensed OER.  New open resources including digital stories recorded from patient interviews, and resources for Secondary School children of all ages, were also created and released as CC BY OER.

OER for Knowledge Exchange

Open access makes research outputs freely accessible to all. It allows research to be disseminated quickly and widely, the research process to operate more efficiently, and has the potential to increase use and understanding of research by the wider public.  However it is not always easy for those outwith academia to know how to access these outputs, even though they are freely and openly available.   In order to address this issue, we’ve created a series of open educational resources in the form of video interviews and case studies called Innovating with Open Knowledge.  These resources are aimed at creative individuals, private researchers, and entrepreneurs to provide guidance on how to find and access the open outputs of Higher Education.  The resources focus on developing digital and data literacy skills and feature case study interviews with creative individuals and entrepreneurs engaging with the University of Edinburgh’s world class research outputs.

OER and Co-creation 

We believe strongly in engaging both staff and students in the co-creation of open education and one hugely successful example of this is the School of Geosciences Outreach and Engagement course.  Over two semesters, students develop an outreach project that communicates an element of GeoSciences outside the university community.  Students work with schools, museums, and community groups to create a wide range of resources for science engagement. Students gain experience of science outreach, public engagement, and knowledge transfer while working in new environments and developing transferable skills to enhance employability.  A key element of the course is to develop reusable resources which are then repurposed by our Open Content Curation Interns to create OER that are then shared online through Open.Ed and TES where they could be found and reused by other teachers and learners.

e.g. The Sea-Level Story, http://open.ed.ac.uk/the-sea-level-story-geoscience/

Open Content Curation Student Interns 

Open Content Curation student interns play an important role in OER creation at the University.  These fully-paid interns help to repurpose and share resources created by staff and other students while at the same time developing their own digital literacy skills. We’re now in the third year of this internship and the feedback we’ve received from the students has been nothing short of inspiring. This is Tomas Sanders who worked as our Open Content Curation Intern last year, and who then went on to run a successful Wikipedia editathon for Black History Month with the student History Society.

OER for Playful Learning

The OER Service also runs a wide range of events that develop playful and creative strategies for finding and reusing open licensed content.  Board Game Jam is a popular workshop that leads groups through creating, licensing, and sharing an OER board game using digitised images from the University collections.  It’s a fun and creative way to teach copyright and open licensing by stealth.   GifItUp is another workshop that provides an introduction to creating GIFs using free and open tools and openly licensed and public domain images.  It teaches colleagues how to find and use open licensed public heritage content and encourages discussion of the ethical responsibilities we as creators have towards those materials.

OER for Creativity

Eric Lucey was a pioneering biologist and film maker at the University of Edinburgh whose film collection from the 1950s and 60s has now been made available under open license by University’s Centre for Research Collections. With help and guidance from the OER Service on open licensing and content reuse, students from Edinburgh College of Art and the Edinburgh Film Society have created film poems from the Lucey collection for the Magma Poetry journal.  And we’ve also released open film snippets from our MOOC content that can be reused in a wide range of creative contexts.

These are just a few examples of how the OER Services encourages staff and students at the University of Edinburgh to engage with and contribute to a wide range of open content collections, while enhancing their own digital skills and contributing resources back to the digital commons.  For more information about the OER Service you can visit Open.Ed here, or contact Lorna or Charlie via the details below.

 

Lorna M. Campbell

lorna.m.campbell@ed.ac.uk

@LornaMCampbell

 

Charlie Farley

stephanie.farley@ed.ac.uk

@SFarley_Charlie

Board Game Jam, CC BY-SA 2.0 Open.Ed, https://flic.kr/p/R53nGm

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 100 years of Votes for Women

A photograph of the Great Procession and Women’s Demonstration in Edinburgh in 1909. The image shows crowds of people congregated together to watch the procession. Many of those marching are carrying large banners. There is a brass band marching in front of the banner procession. There are also horses and carts that are carrying men and women. The photograph also shows a long view of Princes Street, which emphasises the amount of people who turned out for the demonstration. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons – kindly shared by Edinburgh Central Library’s Capital Collections.

To celebrate 100 years since the Representation of the People Act (1918) gave some women the vote, we held three #Vote100 Wikipedia editing events.

34 brand new biography articles have now surfaced on Wikipedia about Scotland’s suffragettes and the Eagle House suffragettes, along with 220 improved pages and items of data so people can discover all about their lives and contributions.

Wikipedia editathon for Processions 2018 at the University of Edinburgh Library. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons
Students and staff creating new Wikipedia pages about Scottish suffragettes at Processions 2018. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons.

 

“Annie’s Arboretum” at Eagle House

Eagle House (suffragette’s rest) became an important refuge for suffragettes who had been released from Holloway prison after hunger strikes. Many major people from the suffragette movement were invited to stay at Eagle house and to plant a tree to celebrate a prison sentence — at least 47 trees were planted between April 1909 and July 1911, including by Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, Annie Kenney, Charlotte Despard, Millicent Fawcett and Lady Lytton.

Read more in the Histropedia timeline (external website).

Suffragettes Annie Kenney, Mary Blathwayt and Emmeline Pankhurst, Eagle House, Batheaston 1910. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Scottish suffragettes

New Wikipedia pages have been created about: Maude Edwards slashing the portrait of King George V at the Royal Scottish Academy and her defiance at trial; the force-feeding of Frances Gordon and Arabella Scott at Perth Prison by the doctor who was “emotionally hooked” to Arabella Scott and offered to escort her to Canada; the attempted arson conducted by pioneer doctor Dorothea Chalmers Smith; the Aberdonian suffragette & organiser, Caroline Phillips, being sacked by telegram by Christabel Pankhurst; and the “energetic little woman from Stranraer” Jane Taylour who was a firebrand lecturer on Women’s Suffrage touring up and down Scotland and England.

Read more in the Histropedia timeline (external website).

Bessie Watson – suffragette aged 9 years old.
In 1909, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) staged a march through Edinburgh to demonstrate “what women have done and can and will do”. Bessie Watson had played the bagpipes from an early age and at the age of nine she was asked to join the WSPU march and play the pipes. The march had a big impact on Bessie and she became involved in the suffragette movement. This involved playing the pipes outside the Calton Gaol to raise the spirits of incarcerated suffragettes. Playing the pipes led Bessie to do remarkable things and she became one of the first Girl Guides in Edinburgh and was seen by the King. The Capital Collections exhibition includes images of Bessie and the 1909 march as well as pictures of Calton Gaol. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons. Kindly shared by Edinburgh Central Library’s Capital Collections.