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Wikipedia edit-a-thon: What is an edit-a-thon?

This guide provides information on why editing Wikipedia is important, how to learn to edit Wikipedia, and how to host a Wikipedia edit-a-thon from preparation, set up, and the actual event.

What is a Wikipedia edit-a-thon?

A Wikipedia edit-a-thon is an organized event where a group of people come together to edit and improve Wikipedia pages. There is typically a theme for the edit-a-thon, such as Art + Feminism, and the pages that are created or edited fall within that theme. Wikipedia edit-a-thons are held with the intention of increasing representation on Wikipedia of identified groups and providing basic training to new editors. View Wikipedia's Edit-a-thon page to learn more.

What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia, that is collaboratively written by the people who use it. Anyone can create a Wikipedia account and edit the website for free. The encyclopedia is also free for anyone to access and does not include any advertisements.

How I Built This -- Wikipedia

If you want to know more about Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, listen to NPR's How I Built This With Guy Raz Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales episode.

Why do people edit Wikipedia?

Watch the short video below from the Wikipedia Foundation to learn why people edit Wikipedia and the value they derive from editing.

Importance of editing?

Wikipedia is one of the largest information sharing sites on the internet. In 2015, Pew Research Center reported that Wikipedia averages 18 billion page views per month making it one of the most visited websites in the world. Wikipedia continues to expand, Pew also reported that on average 20,000 new articles are added to the site each month. Wikipedia is available in 301 languages and is comprised of 40 million articles across all 301 languages. Despite the apparent depth and breath of Wikipedia, the site suffers from underrepresentation of certain groups and a lack of diverse editors. In a survey reported by the Wikipedia Foundation found that only 16% of global contributors and 23% of contributors in the United States are women. The Racial Bias Wikipedia page notes that the English version of Wikipedia has also been criticized for racial bias because a very low number of those who edit articles are people of color. This lack of women and people of color editors results in articles that are potentially biased and a lack of articles that might be of interest to women and people of color. By editing Wikipedia and hosting edit-a-thons people can help to improve representation on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia Foundation has created an interactive visualization tool that allows you to explore what language Wikipedia is used in around the globe as well as how much Wikipedia is visited, per capita, in countries around the world. This tool can help you visualize the how popular Wikipedia is to understand the importance of editing it to improve representation.

Questions? Ask me!

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Chelsea Heinbach
University Libraries - Lied Library


This guide was created by Maggie Bukowski, Outreach and Instruction Specialist under the guidance of Chelsea Heinbach, Teaching and Learning Librarian. 

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