Women’s History Month Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

This is a guest post from Sarah Osborne Bender, Director of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

I graduated from library school in 2001, just months after Wikipedia was launched. So as a freshly minted information professional, it is no surprise that I fell in with the popular skepticism of the time: How could you trust an “encyclopedia” written by your next-door neighbor or your local barista? What about entries on movie stars, which might be written by their publicists?

photo of participants

Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon from 2015 at the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

It was my participation four years ago in the Women in the Arts Meetup & Edit-a-thon at the Archives of American Art that turned me into a Wikipedian and a true believer in Wikipedia as an essential and democratic resource. The event was organized for Women’s History Month and efforts focused on “notable women artists and art-world figures.” After an orientation to the policies and editing practices of Wikipedia, I happily dove in to improving the brief the article for Edith Halpert. Halpert, a gallery owner and collector in mid-century New York, propelled the careers of some of America’s most important modernist painters. Using both online and print resources, I took a relatively skeletal entry and turned it in to a more complete overview of her life and legacy, learning quite a lot about Halpert along the way. With experienced Wikipedians at my side, I had guidance on keeping my tone neutral, adding new sections, and finding an appropriate image to upload to the info box. The editing process required great focus and was engrossing. I felt a rush when I clicked “Save changes” at the end, knowing that anyone who looked up Edith Halpert would read what I had just contributed.

On Saturday, March 11, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will hold its fourth annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to train new editors and address the low representation of women artists on Wikipedia. According to a Wikipedia survey of its users, only 10% of editors are female. And it is common knowledge that women artists have never been equally represented in gallery shows, museum collections, and art history texts. Art+Feminism is a worldwide effort to address these issues. Last year, more than 2,500 participants in 28 countries at over 175 venues worked to improve articles about women in the arts. The movement keeps growing, and the motivation to represent women and reliable resources may never have been greater.

“Volun-peers” Help Liberate Smithsonian Digital Collections

The Smithsonian Transcription Center creates indexed, searchable text by means of crowdsourcing…or as Meghan Ferriter, project coordinator at the TC describes it, “harnessing the endless curiosity and goodwill of the public.” As of the end of the current fiscal year, 7,060 volunteers at the TC have transcribed 208,659 pages. The scope, planning and execution of the […]

Data and Humanism Shape Library of Congress Conference

The presentations at the Library of Congress’ Collections As Data conference coalesced into two main themes: 1) digital collections are composed of data that can be acquired,  processed and displayed in countless scientific and creative ways and 2) we should always be aware and respectful that data is manipulated by — and derived from — people. […]

Announcing the 2015 Innovation Award Winners

On behalf of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance Innovation Working Group, I am excited to announce the 2015 NDSA Innovation Award winners! This year, the annual innovation awards committee reviewed over thirty exceptional nominations from across the country. Awardees were selected based on how their work or their project’s whose goals or outcomes represent an […]

Five Questions for the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig

The following is a guest post from Michael Neubert, a supervisory digital projects specialist at the Library of Congress. In February of this year I wrote a post here about an collaborative effort of representatives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Government Publishing Office (GPO), and the Library of Congress to work […]

Viewshare Supports Critical Thinking in the Classroom

This year I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Peggy Spitzer Christoff, lecturer in Asian and Asian American Studies at Stony Brook University. She shared with me how she’s using the Library of Congress’ Viewshare tool to engage her students in an introduction to Asia Studies course. Peg talked about using digital platforms as a way to improve writing, […]

The Personal Digital Archiving 2015 Conference

The annual Personal Digital Archiving conference is about preserving any digital collection that falls outside the purview of large cultural institutions. Considering the expanding range of interests at each subsequent PDA conference, the meaning of the word “personal” has become thinly stretched to cover topics such as family history, community history, genealogy and digital humanities. New York […]

How to Participate in the September 2015 NDSA New England Regional Meeting

The following is a guest post by Kevin Powell, digital preservation librarian at Brown University. On September 25th, UMass Dartmouth will host the National Digital Stewardship Alliance New England Regional Meeting with Brown University. We enthusiastically encourage librarians, archivists, preservation specialists, knowledge managers, and anyone else with an interest in digital stewardship and preservation to […]