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Wikipedia and Open Access: making research as useful as it can be

February 1st, 2016 by Martin Poulter

This post was written by Martin Poulter, Wikimedian in Residence at Bodleian Libraries, and was first published on Open Access Oxford.

The Budapest Open Access Declaration is one of the defining documents of the Open Access movement. It says that free, unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly literature will “accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.”

To bring about this optimistic vision, there needs to be some way to deliver this knowledge directly to everyone on the planet. Rather than broadcasting to passive recipients, this needs to encourage repurposing and remixing of research outputs, so people can adapt them into educational materials, translate them into other languages, extract data from them, and find other uses.

Fifteen years after its creation in January 2001, Wikipedia is emerging as that creative space. Wikipedia is not a competitor to normal scholarly publication, but a bridge connecting it to the world of informal learning and discussion. Wikipedia is only meant to be a starting point: its credibility does not come from its contributors, who are often anonymous, but from checkable citations to reputable sources.

Being “the free encyclopedia” reflects not just that Wikipedia is available without charge, but that it is free for use by anyone for any purpose, subject to the requirements of the most liberal Creative Commons licences. These freedoms are a part of its success: on the article about your favourite topic, click “View history”, then “Page view statistics”: it is not uncommon to see a scientific article getting thousands of hits per day.

When a team in 2015 announced the discovery of a new hominid, Homo Naledi, the extensive diagrams, fossil photos and other supplements they produced exceeded the size limit set by their first choice of journal, Nature. So they went to the open-access journal eLIFE. As well as publishing the peer reviews along with the paper, eLIFE uses a very liberal licence, so figures from the paper made it possible to create a comprehensive Wikipedia article for Homo Naledi, and to improve related articles.

There are many more cases where a research paper is adapted into a Wikipedia article which acts as a lay summary. For example, the article on Major Urinary Proteins was written by scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute based on, and using figures from, papers they had published in PLOS open-access journals.

Editing Wikipedia used to involve learning a form of markup called “wiki code”. Thanks to some software development, this is no longer necessary. When you register an account, each article presents two tabs “Edit” and “Edit source”. “Edit source” gives you the old wiki code interface; but “Edit” gives a much more straightforward wordprocessor-like interface. Especially handy is the “Cite” button, which can convert a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) into a full citation.

Still much about Wikipedia is poorly-designed and dependent on insider knowledge. Luckily there are insiders who are keen to share, and training is available. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cancer Research UK and the Royal Society are amongst the scientific bodies which have employed Wikipedians In Residence. As WIR at the Bodleian Libraries, I have run events to improve articles on Women In Science and am celebrating Wikipedia’s 15th birthday working with researchers and students from the Oxford Internet Institute to improve articles about the “social internet”.

Wikimedia encompasses more than just Wikipedia: it is an ecosystem of different projects handling and repurposing text, data and digital media. There are many sites that you can use without charge to share or build materials, but Wikimedia is distinctive in being a charitable project existing purely to share knowledge, with no adverts or other commercial influences.

Wikimedia Commons is the media archive, hosting photographs, diagrams, video clips and other digital media, along with author and source credits and other metadata. It currently offers just under 30 million files, of which tens of thousands are extracted from figures or supplementary materials from Open Access papers. It’s a massively multilingual site, where each file can have descriptions in many languages, and one of the repurposing activities going on is creating alternative language versions of labelled diagrams.

Wikidata describes itself as “a free linked database that can be read and edited by both humans and machines”. It holds secondary data: not raw measurements, but key facts and figures concluded from them. Looking up Platinum, for example, gives the element’s periodic table placement, various official identifiers and physical properties. Wikidata holds knowledge about fifteen million entities, including species, molecules, astronomical bodies and diseases although the number is still rapidly growing.

What’s exciting about Wikidata is the uses it can be put to. Making data about many millions of things freely available enables a new generation of applications for education and reference. Reasonator gives a visually pleasing overview of what Wikidata knows about an entity. Histropedia (histropedia.com) is a tool for building timelines (try “Discovers of chemical elements”, then zoom in).

There are eleven Wikimedia projects in total each with its own strengths and flaws. My personal favourites include Wikisource – a library of open access and out-of-copyright text, including for example Michael Faraday’s Royal Institution lectures – and Wikibooks which aims to create textbooks for every level and topic from ABCs to genome sequencing.

As open access becomes more mainstream, technical and legal barriers around research outputs will diminish, so more research will become as “useful as it can be” through the Wikimedia projects. That benefits the research in terms of impact and public awareness, but it also benefits the end users who, in a connected world, are everybody.


Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Library

January 22nd, 2016 by Richard Nevell

The post was written by Phoebe Harkins, Communications Co-ordinator at the Wellcome Library. It was originally on the Library’s blog.

Incurably curious? Interested in the history of medicine? Know a bit about Wikipedia?

Would you like to work with us on a fantastic new project and be our Wikimedian in Residence?

Building on our previous projects with Wikimedia UK and our commitment to share our fantastic collections as widely as possible, we’re now looking for a Wikimedian in Residence to help us make that happen.

Wikipedia is one of the world’s most popular websites, and is often the first place people look for content about subjects covered by our collections. That’s why we want to make the content on Wikipedia as rich and comprehensive as we possibly can.

Our collections cover so much more than the history of medicine – essentially life, death and everything in between, so there’s huge potential for improving the content on Wikipedia. We’ll also be looking at enriching other Wikimedia projects.

The Wikimedian will work with us on the project to help develop areas of Wikipedia covered by our amazing holdings. We’d love you to help us to make our world-renowned collections, knowledge and expertise here at the Wellcome Library even more accessible.

The Reading Room at Wellcome Collection. Wellcome Images reference: C0108488. Credit: Wellcome Trust.

Working with staff here at the Wellcome Library and our colleagues in Wellcome Collection, you’ll have access to amazing content and resources. One of the main aspects of the project will be to help us to develop and sustain relations with Wikimedia UK and the wider Wikimedia community, so as well as helping us to share our amazing collections with the world online, you’ll also be working with us to develop some edit-a-thons and outreach events in our amazing Reading Room.

This is a flexible position, and will last between 6 and 12 months depending on the projects the Wikimedian proposes and develops.

Further details about the post and the project can be found in the terms of reference. If you have any questions about the project just drop me an email.

To apply for the role, send a CV and covering letter to: p.harkins@wellcome.ac.uk

Closing date for applications: 12 February 2016

 

 


Wikipedia celebrates 15 years of free knowledge

January 15th, 2016 by Richard Nevell

Adapted from Katherine Maher’s post on the WMF blog.

As Wikipedia marks its 15th anniversary, its community is celebrating with nearly 150 events on six continents.

This Friday marks the 15th anniversary of Wikipedia, the world’s free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit. This week, we celebrate not just Wikipedia, but the birth of an idea: that anyone can contribute to the world’s knowledge. Globally, readers and editors are coming together to celebrate, with nearly 150 events across six continents. From editing marathons in Bangladesh and lectures in Switzerland, to picnics in South Africa and a conference in Mexico, the world is celebrating the joy of knowledge.

Wikipedia launched on January 15, 2001 with a bold vision: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. At the time, the idea that people around the world would collaborate to build an encyclopaedia—for free—seemed unbelievable. Since then, Wikipedia has grown to more than 36 million articles in hundreds of languages, used by hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Wikipedia and its sister projects are still built by volunteers around the world: each month, roughly 80,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikimedia sites.

“Wikipedia challenged us to rethink how knowledge can be gathered and shared” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. “Knowledge is no longer handed down from on high, instead it is freely shared by everyone online. Wikipedia seemed like an impossible idea at the time—an online encyclopaedia that everyone can edit. However, it has surpassed everyone’s expectations over the past 15 years, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world who have made Wikipedia possible.”

We’re celebrating Wikipedia’s global community with a commemorative website and week-long campaign, collecting and sharing the stories of individuals and organizations that have helped develop Wikipedia into the world’s largest collection of collaboratively created free knowledge. These stories show the truly global nature of the Wikimedia community: from Ziyad Alsufyani, a medical student at Taif University in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia who has been editing the Arabic Wikipedia since 2009, to Susanna Mkrtchyan, a professor and devoted grandmother working to give Armenian students better educational opportunities. We will continue to collect stories throughout the month of January.

Today, we celebrate all of the projects, partnerships, events, and joy the Wikimedia movement has inspired over the past 15 years, with many still to come. Wikipedia is much more than a website. Wikipedia and its sister Wikimedia projects represent a global, ever-expanding resource and community for free knowledge. Here are just a few examples:

  • Wikipedia started in January 2001 in English, but soon expanded to other languages—within the first year, it grew to 18 languages. Today, it is available in nearly 300.
  • Volunteers constantly edit and improve Wikipedia. Every hour, roughly 15,000 edits are made to Wikipedia. Every day, around 7,000 new articles are created.
  • Wikipedia became one of the top 10 websites in the world in 2007, and the only non-profit website anywhere near the top.
  • It’s not just Wikipedia. There are 11 other Wikimedia free knowledge projects, including Wikimedia Commons, with more than 30 million freely licensed images, as well as Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikivoyage, and more.
  • The Wikimedia community supports global projects that spread the joy of knowledge. Wiki Loves Monuments, a global photo competition, launched in 2010 to document images of cultural heritage. In 2011, the contest was named the largest photo competition in the world. Companion projects like Wiki Loves Earth,Wiki Loves Africa, and even Wiki Loves Cheese document more knowledge from around the globe.
  • Volunteers around the world have built hundreds of partnerships with galleries, libraries, museums to make institutional collections more broadly available. These partnerships have contributed to more than 1.5 million images of cultural works on the Wikimedia projects.

If you’d like to help celebrate Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, you can share on social media what Wikipedia means to you by tagging @Wikipedia and using the hashtag #wikipedia15. To learn more about Wikipedia and the joy it inspires, visit 15.wikipedia.org.


Aaaand we’re back! Oxford University to train Open Knowledge Ambassadors

December 21st, 2015 by Martin Poulter

This post was written by Martin Poulter, Wikimedian in Residence at Bodleian Libraries and published on the Bodleians’ blog.

In a national first, Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries and  IT Services are collaborating on a four-part course to help academics, students, and related staff work with Wikipedia. Oxford University staff and students will earn an ‘Open Knowledge Ambassador’ certificate for taking part in training workshops, spaced every two weeks through Hilary term, that help them support activities such as edit-a-thons. The programme is a part of Oxford’s annual Engage programme in digital communication for researchers.

Although the course will be centred around Wikipedia, the title reflects that it is not about a web site, but about understanding and explaining the possibilities of freely-reusable open knowledge. This is increasingly topical in academia as more research outputs become open access, more learners use open educational resources and more cultural institutions share their digital media on open platforms such as Wikimedia Commons.

The course, hosted in the Centre for Digital Scholarship in the Bodleian’s Weston Library, will be led by Dr Martin Poulter, the Bodleian Libraries’ Wikimedian In Residence.

The sessions will involve active learning, based on assignments which involve exploring Wikipedia and related sites and report backing back to the group. On the way, each participant build a personal portal of tools and links related to their areas of interest. The focus is on building an understanding of Wikipedia’s strengths and weaknesses and involving colleagues in using it to support research and education.

The course is not about the fine details of Wikipedia’s internal processes or its house style, but more about using open knowledge sites in an informed way and explaining them to others. For hands-on experience of improving Wikipedia articles, participants are recommended to register for one of next term’s public editathon events: those announced so far are a social internet editathon for Wikipedia’s 15th birthday in January and the first ever Tudor music editathon on 5 February.

The first two workshops will look at ways to get and make use of open knowledge from Wikipedia and other sites, and at questions of quality and reliability. We will explore some of the open knowledge tools which are incredibly useful but usually only known to ‘power users’. The latter two workshops will explore ways of putting information in, including how to work with a group of experts to improve articles or share images. Enthusiasm for sharing knowledge, and helping others do so, is the only prerequisite.

Formal booking will open for Oxford staff and students in early 2016. Potential trainees can email Martin at martin.poulter@bodleian.ox.ac.uk to register an interest.


How to fix your museum’s Wikipedia page: an FAQ

December 17th, 2015 by Richard Nevell
Rijksmuseum klaxon

Sara Thomas is Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland

This post was written by Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence at Museum Galleries Scotland

As Museums Galleries Scotland’s Wikimedian in Residence, I’m often asked what a museum or other GLAM organisation can do with regard to their Wikipedia page.  And the answer is often not as simple as you’d think.

Wikipedia has strict policies concerning conflict of interest – meaning basically that you shouldn’t edit an article that’s been written about your friends, family, clients, employer or place of work – so I always advise that an organisation stay well away from directly editing their own page.

Why can’t we edit the page?  Surely we’re best placed to talk about our own museum?

One of the central values of Wikipedia is maintaining neutrality.  If you’re connected to the organisation, you’re unlikely to be able to maintain that neutral point of view.  Crucially, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a marketing tool.

What if there’s a factual error on the page, such as the details of a collection we hold, or our opening hours?

For these kinds of non-controversial edits, I’d suggest that you do the following:

  • Create an account (for yourself, not your organisation) and declare your conflict of interest clearly on your user page. For example, “I’m Sara and I’m a Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland.”
  • Go to the talk page of the article in question, and create a new section – “Factual errors”, or something similar.
  • In this section, declare your conflict of interest: “Hi there, I work at Museums Galleries Scotland so won’t be editing this article directly, but there are a couple of factual errors in the article, perhaps someone could edit?”
  • Detail the errors, and provide sources to back up what you’re saying. This last part is particularly important!

I’d rather that people didn’t talk about a particular controversy in our history… can’t I delete that section?

Sorry, no.  This would compromise the factual, neutral point of view.  Editing an article to make it seem more (or indeed less) favourable can often end in bad publicity for the organisation.  See here, for example.

Our organisation doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.  I think we should have one!

Firstly, we have to make sure that your organisation is notable enough for an article.  Notability is usually defined in Wikipedia terms as having been the subject of significant coverage in reliable secondary sources – newspapers, journals, books.  This will normally need to be more extensive than just local sources – so regional, national or international.  There’s more information about notability here.

Once you’ve done this, you should make a list of sources, and request that the article be created.  Remember to disclose your conflict of interest!  There’s a detailed guide on how to do this here.  (It may help to know what a museums page should look like – and there are more details about that here.)

You might also want to link up with a relevant Wikiproject, a group of Wikipedia editors who are interested in editing around a particular subject. For museums, that’s probably Wikiproject Museums.

This all sounds a bit complicated.  We’re not really sure how to work Wikipedia…

Wikipedia needs cultural institutions!  There are many different ways in which you can contribute to the encyclopedia, and which will be of more benefit to you than editing your museum’s page.  Partnerships with Wikipedia (and other wiki projects) can help you reach new audiences, help people engage more deeply with your collections, and increase your reach.  If you’re in Scotland and would like me to come and provide free training for you and your colleagues, please drop me a line: sarat@museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk


Somerville, science and wikipedia

November 13th, 2015 by Martin Poulter

By William Skelton (engraver); Charles Reuben Ryley (artist) (The Bodleian Libraries, Oxford) [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

From Martin Poulter, Bodleian Libraries Wikimedian in Residence. Also published on the Bodleian Libraries blog.

In the early 19th century, Mary Somerville was a celebrity scientist. One of her works was the best-selling science book of the time, until overtaken by Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. She published on astronomy, biology, atomic theory, and physical geography, at a time when scientific publications by women were rare. She tutored the computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, and introduced Lovelace to Charles Babbage.

Somerville’s name lives on, not least in the Oxford college named in her honour, yet not many people today know of her achievements. One reason is that it is hard to find her works. Her publications have been digitised, but the digitisation process only created images – rather than text, which is easy to find, search within and quote.

On 12 October, a group brought together by University of Oxford IT Services and the Bodleian Libraries started to change that. Working together on Wikisource, a sister-project of Wikipedia, we published a definitive transcription of a Mary Somerville paper from 1826. Being totally open access, the paper incidentally now meets modern funders’ requirements for scientific research outputs.

We also began that day a transcription of Somerville’s Preliminary Dissertation on the Mechanisms of the Heavens; a book described by the astronomer John Herschel as ‘by far the best condensed view of the Newtonian philosophy which has yet appeared’. The transcription was finished this month, and it and other texts are available through Somerville’s Wikisource profile.

This event was just one of a larger programme celebrating the bicentenary of Ada Lovelace. They involved Oxford staff, interested public and experienced Wikipedians, a couple of whom participated remotely. We were lucky to have two excellent guest speakers in Prof Ursula Martin and Prof Sylvia McLain. Each event improved a different aspect of open knowledge about women’s achievements in science and related fields.

In the edit-a-thon and improve-a-thon, we created 8 Wikipedia articles about notable women scientists — some living, some historic — and improved a further 16 existing articles. Creating an article from scratch can be a time-consuming process, but fixing clumsy wording or adding a cited fact is relatively quick.

Wikipedia’s new visual editor works like a word processor, so new users can write or improve articles without having to learn wiki code. We found that this makes Wikipedia editing much quicker to learn, quicker to do, and hence more enjoyable.

Our goal was not just to write biographies but to improve the web of knowledge to fairly represent women’s achievements. Amongst the non-biography articles we improved were those on Mary Somerville’s bestseller On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences and on the Finkbeiner test — important reading for anyone who writes about women scientists!

The 4th workshop was an image-a-thon, looking at Wikipedia’s sister project, Wikimedia Commons, and at some images of women scientists not yet used in Wikipedia. We also uploaded images from copyright-free sources, improving a total of 20 Wikipedia articles.

A call for material for the image-a-thon drew responses from private collections and cultural institutions. Among the contributions from The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera is the accompanying illustration from a museum ticket, which now illustrates the Women in science article.

The records of what we did, including the articles edited, images uploaded and feedback are all openly available. More importantly, the process is ongoing. There are more articles that need expanding, re-wording, illustrating, or creating and anyone can join in: see the project pages for more details.

We will keep in touch with the participants and hope they continue as Wikipedians. The feedback from participants includes, ‘I found the session really useful and fun’ and ‘found it a very rewarding and useful experience and would like to continue contributing’ among similar comments, indicating that for some, we have started a habit.


My Week in Happy: Why I interviewed Helen Arney

November 2nd, 2015 by Richard Nevell

This post was originally written by Zoe E Breen for Cheeruplove.com. It is available here

Well, “Why wouldn’t you want to interview Helen Arney?”, you might ask?

Helen Arney (Photo: Vera de Kok)

Of course she is super-smart, funny and chic, that’s undeniable. Which is why, when I was booking my tickets for Festival of the Spoken Nerd at The Lowry, I was struck by the fact that she did not have a Wikipedia page dedicated to her.

Almost a year before the gig, I’d been to a Wiki Edit workshop run for Manchester Girl Geeks by Wikimedia UK.

From this experience I learned two things:

  1. Editing Wikipedia is really pretty easy
  2. More than 80% of Wikipedia editors are male (according to some research)

What did I do with this knowledge? Pretty much nothing until I noticed that Helen Arney didn’t have a Wikipedia page.

Then I remembered something.

Fellow Manchester Girl Geek Karen Pudner (@kpudner) had created a Wikipedia page for code-breaker Joan Clarke, who worked alongside Alan Turing on the Enigma Project at Bletchley Park.

Karen started the Wikipedia page in 2013 having attended a previous Manchester Girl Geeks Wiki Edit Day.

This was the year before Joan’s contribution to the team at Bletchley Park was recognised in The Imitation Game. Since then the page has been added to and edited by dozens of other users.

If another girl geek could write a woman into Wikipedia then maybe I could give it a shot?

I was so excited by the prospect that it was with some abandon that I launched into writing my first lines of words on Wikipedia.

So I’ve made a start on Helen Arney’s page, which is currently a described as a ‘Singer stub’. If you would like to add an edit of your own I’d be extremely happy.

So, why did you interview Helen Arney?

As well as her obvious fabness (see above), I thought it would be lovely to have something that I had written to be linked to from the Wikipedia page. And reciprocal linked (of course!).

You can read what Helen had to say on physics, funnyness and frocks right here.


The future of opening up GLAMs

October 14th, 2015 by Stuart Prior
512px-Copenhagen_Concert_Hall_by_night

Danmarks Radio Concert Hall

Sharing is Caring
So, I took myself to Copenhagen the other weekend for (among other things) Sharing is Caring; an annual seminar focusing on collaboration and sharing in the cultural heritage sector held at the DR Koncerthuset. You can see the talks here

It exceeded all expectations in terms of detail and expertise. The programme naturally covered copyright on creative works, with lively debate from panels of artists, representatives of rightsholders organisations for visual arts in Denmark, and lawyers promoting open licensing.

Curate not Create
One of the key lessons from the seminar was the idea that in order to make the most of open licensing, GLAMs need to curate, not create. To elaborate, GLAMs are currently “creating” work, in that they respond to demand by creating new programs, exhibitions and learning experiences.

So what is meant by GLAMs curating more? Do they not curate already? Well, yes, but with digital platforms they need to guide users around their collections with better searchability and categorisation of work, grading works for the appropriate audiences (from schoolchild to post-grad), and synthesise works by joining the dots between them.
This becomes especially important if they are releasing content on an open license. How can people use and remix content if they don’t know what’s available or can’t find what they are looking for? If people are given tools and support to navigate collections, and GLAMs work with the people that might want to use their collections, such as teachers, academics and creatives, these works go beyond just being available to being used to their full potential. In essence, we need a plan beyond the “Release, digitalise and dump” phase of opening up the GLAM sector.

Licensing Changes
The other aspect of the seminar was the change we can make to outdated or poor government policies on copyright if we push the right buttons. Melissa Terras, Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, gave a great talk about how the UK government licenses orphan works for use (at great cost to the applicant, and with a limited understanding of what “commercial use” can mean), and how she inadvertently made them amend their licensing policy to work better for individuals by writing an angry blog post about these restrictions.
Since then, attendees of the conference representing GLAMs, universities and the Open Knowledge community have started collaborating on and discussing what we can do to pressure our governments and the EU to be more progressive with copyright law. I hope we can collaborate in future to bring laws up to date with the digital age.


Nancy Bell joins Wikimedia UK board

October 1st, 2015 by Richard Nevell

Wikimedia UK is pleased to announce the co-option of Nancy Bell to the board for a two-year term.  Nancy has been appointed for her extensive skills, experience and contacts, particularly in the national and international cultural heritage sectors.

Nancy is currently Head of Collection Care at The National Archives, in which role she is responsible for the preservation of one of the largest and most significant sources of information in the world ranging from Domesday Book to digital records. She has established an internationally recognised heritage science research programme in collaboration with the higher education sector and industry, and has established a programme to work closely with students and researchers to disseminate their work further as wiki editors.

Nancy said “There are huge opportunities to extend the reach of volunteers in new communities to create an even more vibrant Wikimedia UK. I am committed to open and accessible information as a guiding principle and very much welcome the opportunity to promote this mission widely.”

Please join us in welcoming Nancy to the board.


Celebrate women in science with Wikipedia

September 28th, 2015 by Martin Poulter

This post was written by Martin Poulter, Wikimedian in Residence at the Bodleian Libraries, and was originally published on the library’s blog.

Whilst time is unveiling, Science is exploring Nature, by William Skelton (engraver); Charles Reuben Ryley (artist) (The Bodleian Libraries, Oxford) [CC BY 4.0],

This October will mark the bicentenary of Ada Augusta Byron, otherwise known as Ada Lovelace, often called the first computer programmer. Among the many events happening in Oxford this autumn, the Bodleian Libraries and IT Services are hosting a series of half-day workshops which hope to make a record-breaking impact on Wikipedia’s infamous gender imbalance.

As in previous years, there will be an edit-a-thon to create articles related to women in science and to wish happy birthday to Ada Lovelace with celebratory cake. This will happen on Tuesday 13 October. It will include an introduction to wiki editing, so is suitable for new and experienced wiki editors.

This year we are also running three related events. All four events are open to members of Oxford University. We are also seeking experienced Wikipedians to help with the training. Even if you are not connected with Oxford, you can take part on-wiki; welcoming the new users and helping make their experience a pleasant one.

Monday 12 October will be the first ever transcribe-a-thon. We will look at Wikisource, the free library, where out-of-copyright books are transcribed using Optical Character Recognition and manual correction. During the event we will create an electronic edition of a book that can be used as a source for Wikipedia articles. This is an opportunity to learn basic wiki editing without having to worry about the many policies and guidelines affecting original text on Wikipedia.

Wednesday 14 October will be an improve-a-thon: we will look at Wikipedia’s quality scale and system of open review, and improve existing articles by adding facts or citations or by accessibly rewording. This will be suited to people who have edited Wikipedia before.

Thursday 15 October’s event is an image-a-thon: we will look at how Wikipedia articles are illustrated, using images from cultural institutions, from out-of-copyright books or personal collections. We will look at Wikimedia’s database of 27 million digital media files. With newly-uploaded images, we will illustrate articles on the week’s theme. No photography is required and this event is suitable for people who have never edited wikis.

The image-a-thon is an opportunity that Oxford’s libraries can support. College libraries may have photographs of alumnae, staff, or perhaps relevant art or manuscripts. We hope that some of these images can be made available under a Wikipedia-compatible licence for use in articles, with attribution. We will be uploading images of Lovelace herself which have not existed in digital form before.

We are interpreting the ‘women in science’ theme broadly, not just writing and improving biographies of women — living or dead — in professions related to science. There are also articles about books, or about scientific innovations and theories, where women’s contributions could be better represented. We will provide suggestions for target articles, as well as online and offline resources to help improve them.

Each of these four events looks at open knowledge from a different angle. If you can only make one, sign up for one, but if you want a broad hands-on experience of improving open knowledge, come to all four.

Dr Martin Poulter, the Wikimedian In Residence at the Bodleian Libraries, will lead the training but welcomes experienced wiki editors who can make things easy for newcomers. If you fit that description, please get in touch at martin.poulter@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.


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