I was involved in planning an edit-a-thon earlier this month with library
school students & faculty, and wanted to share this event with y'all.
Working with an LIS community was rewarding and provided great
opportunities to think about literacy and open access. Below is a little
write up of our event.
Librarians@Pratt: A Wikipedia edit-a-thon
place on Saturday, November 1, 2014. The event was hosted by Pratt
Institute’s School of Information and Library Science Student Association
(SILSSA) and the Beta-Phi-Mu Theta Chapter, with support from the
Metropolitan New York Library Council. Megan Wacha, Performing Arts
Librarian at Barnard College, gave a workshop on the basics of Wikipedia
editing. Following the workshop, 12 attendees edited several biographical
articles about influential librarians with a connection to Pratt Institute.
Primary and secondary sources, gathered from the circulating and archival
collections from Pratt Institute Libraries and Pratt’s School of
Information and Library Science (SILS), were consulted. During two hours of
open editing, attendees edited 10 articles and made 73 total edits, plus 62254
bytes were contributed. Four images were added to Wikimedia Commons. The
event was successful at building a community of editors within Pratt SILS
and connecting them to local NYC Wikipedians.
(sorry this conversation is happening across multiple lists, I should have
used cc for the emails... )
Responding to Mitar on open access:
You know I think it's sad too that we have to go around asking for
donations and selling Wikipedia's value as a portal to publishers. On the
other hand, we have 500 million monthly readers and when they come to
Wikipedia they will see the content we have summarized from sources. The
only question is whether that content is from full-text-available-online
sources *only*, or from all of the best sources regardless of their access
At the end of my day, I have to serve our editors and readers as best I can
and that means giving them as much access to the best research as possible
today. You may think this is a devil's bargain, but I have to admit that
I'm a pragmatist and I'd rather have our editors summarize paywalled
content for our readers than for that content to not be represented on
Wikipedia at all, even if readers may hit a paywall when they click-through.
It's long been Wikipedia's policy (at least English Wikipedia) that
accessibility is not a deciding factor when it comes to what is a reliable
source. That applies to out of print manuscripts as well as to embargoed
journals--we use the best sources now because we have an encyclopedia to
write. If we aim to change that, it requires a very deep discussion about
how we prioritize and strategize our mission.
I do whatever I can to support OA, to tweet about open access button
efforts, to promote WikiProject Resource Exchange, to support the OA
signalling project, to engage with initiatives like the Open Access reader,
and to discuss the broader mission of sharing knowledge with reference
experts and journals. The tides are changing and I see it daily as I speak
with librarians and journal publishers.
In other words, the efforts of The Wikipedia Library advance our mission
and are indeed *complementary* to the radical vision of open access that I
So, I hope you take this as my saying, "I agree completely" and also "So
what, we have an encyclopedia to write!"
Happy to continue discussing this.
On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 6:42 PM, Mitar <mmitar(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> This reminds me of ugly practices of proprietary software companies
> giving free software to students so that they are able to learn the
> tools and then later on have to pay. So we will be making links to
> paywalled journals and we will be able to do it for free, but then our
> readers will have to pay to read them? So Wikipedia will provide free
> advertisements for paywalled content? Nicely done, nicely done.
> This is not open access. This direct opposite to open access. We
> should not be proud of this.
> (Please don't take this as an attack on anybody personally and I think
> The Wikipedia Library Team is doing a great job, but I really feel
> this is a bad deal. And it was sent to the open access mailing list.
> Which this is not.)
> On Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 3:30 PM, Jake Orlowitz <jorlowitz(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi!
> > The Wikipedia Library has new, free research donations available:
> > NEW
> > *DeGruyter: 1000 accounts for English and German-language research, sign
> > on one of two language Wikipedias:
> > English signup <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:De_Gruyter>
> > German signup <https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:De_Gruyter>
> > *Fold3: 100 accounts for American history and military archives
> > <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Fold3>
> > *Scotland's People: 100 accounts for Scottish Genealogy database
> > <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:ScotlandsPeople>
> > EXPANDED
> > *British Newspaper Archive: 100+ new accounts for British Newspapers
> > archives
> > <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:BNA>
> > OPEN
> > *Highbeam: 100+ accounts for newspapers and magazines
> > <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:HighBeam>
> > *Questia: 100+ accounts for various aggregated journals and social
> > <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Questia>
> > *JSTOR: 100+ accounts for journal archives
> > <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:JSTOR>
> > Accounts are available to ALL global editors with a 1 year old account
> > 1000 edits. Please notify your local community about the signups.
> > for now are mostly on English Wikipedia, UNLESS you have started a local
> > Wikipedia Library branch like we've done on Arabic, Chinese, and
> German. To
> > get started, please contact Ocaasi at [[m:User:Ocaasi (WMF)]] or
> > ocaasi(a)wikimedia.org
> > Thanks!
> > The Wikipedia Library Team
> > <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/The_Wikipedia_Library>
> > _______________________________________________
> > OpenAccess mailing list
> > OpenAccess(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/openaccess
> OpenAccess mailing list