Wikipedia and the Library

On Saturday, March 5th, the Weinberg Memorial Library will host its first Wikipedia workshop and edit-a-thon.  Each year, international edit-a-thons bring together libraries, archives and museums to improve and generate content on Wikipedia. These events help to improve our collective understanding of Wikipedia─ its structure and the way its content is created─ and also provide a venue to discuss and debate its value. At the Library, we support improving public access to information and promoting digital literacy, and we possess the tools and resources to improve Wikipedia’s content.

Wikipedia and Libraries

In 2014, OCLC began a pilot project to develop innovative ways of integrating library resources with Wikipedia’s content. OCLC sought library partners who were willing to host a Wikipedia editor and give that editor access to their materials and collections in order to enhance the article citation process on Wikipedia. The cooperative’s goal for this project is to make library e-collections available online via the WorldCat knowledge base, so that students and others on campus can see links in Wikipedia to full-text articles.

Other library initiatives that are helping to improve the scope and quality of Wikipedia articles and citations include:

  • #1Lib1Ref – This collaborative project encourages public and university librarians to add credible references to Wikipedia articles.
  • VIAFbot project – A case study project, led by Wikipedians-in-Residence at OCLC and the British Library, to integrate authority data with biographical Wikipedia articles.
  • Wikipedia Visiting Scholars Program – A program through which experienced Wikipedia editors gain remote access to library resources like databases, ebooks, and special collections.

You can learn more about the many other case studies of collaborations between Wikipedia and libraries here:

Wikipedia and Students

A recent study published in The Internet and Higher Education found that 87.5% of students use Wikipedia in their academic work. A 2015 study from the Reference Services Review investigated ways in which Wikipedia could be used as a tool for information literacy. This case study engaged students in Wikipedia-editing activities and Wikipedia-related discussions.  The study found that, following these discussions, students could effectively identify gaps in Wikipedia articles, critically evaluate and use sources to address those gaps and appropriately document their references.

Educating students on how articles on Wikipedia are created and audited helps them to think critically about information sources and understand knowledge production, while also instructing them on how they can contribute. The pedagogical benefits of learning how to edit on Wikipedia include:

  • Engaging students in a global effort with an educational purpose
  • Encouraging media and digital literacy
  • Exercising critical thinking to analyze and interpret information for fairness, accuracy, and credibility
  • Constructing knowledge and identifying content gaps
  • Learning about fair-use and copyright
  • Learning wiki code and getting hands-on experience with technology
  • Fostering digital citizenship and online etiquette

Here is a list of projects that incorporate Wikipedia training into school and university courses.

Wikipedia and the Weinberg Memorial Library

Contributing content to Wikipedia that relates to the University of Scranton provides another way of highlighting the library’s collections and resources. The upcoming edit-a-thon is not the Library’s first venture into how its digital collections and resources could be used to support articles on Wikipedia. Last year, Kate Reilly ’17, a student working in Digital Services at the Library, wanted to learn how Wikipedia articles are created and edited. Using information made available in the Library’s digital collections, she began editing articles that related to the University of Scranton, its leaders and events. Through this project, Kate sought to “share the abundant historical knowledge documented in the Library’s collections.” You can read more about Kate’s experience with Wikipedia in the Library’s newsletter here.

Why Art+Feminism?

One of the founding organizers of the annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Siân Evans, stated last year on the ACRL blog that librarians should care about Wikipedia because “it is so often where our patrons start their research process and, because it’s open source, we have the tools to improve it.” Each year, academic and cultural partners from around the globe organize Wikipedia edit-a-thons that are focused on creating a networked collaboration between libraries, Wikipedia and scholars. The goal of Art+Feminism’s edit-a-thon is to improve the coverage of women on Wikipedia and encourage female editorship. Less than 10% of editors on Wikipedia are female and, as a result, there are many articles missing from Wikipedia on noteworthy women in history. In honor of Women’s History Month, the Weinberg Memorial Library will take part in this international campaign to close the gender gap on Wikipedia and host its first workshop and edit-a-thon.

You can read more about Art+Feminism’s Wikipedia project here:

At the Weinberg Memorial Library, we’re helping to broaden the conversation about the legitimate uses of Wikipedia and helping students learn how they can play a role in contributing to its content. Please join us on Saturday, March 5th, from 12-4pm in Rooms 305 & 306. RSVP:

Technology on your own Terms: Wikipedia at 15

TOYOT_logo4a-smallJoin us for the first TOYOT of the spring semester!

Wikipedia at Fifteen, Tuesday, February 23 at 12-1pm in Weinberg Memorial Library 305. 

In 2016, Wikipedia is celebrating its 15th birthday. With about 70,000 active contributors editing in 290 languages, it is by far the world’s most popular reference resource and continues to be a top ten internet site. But one of Wikipedia’s greatest strengths is also a point of contention for many of its critics– the model of openly editable content. This session will discuss some of the new strategies Wikipedia has undertaken to support quality control and combat article vandalism. It will also cover the basics of Wikipedia article creation and take a look at other platforms for open-source, collaborative knowledge creation.

A light lunch will be provided. TOYOTs are open to all University faculty and staff, but seats are limited, so please let us know if you plan to attend. You can register at under Technology on Your Own Terms.

Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Library


In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors are female. As a result, many entries on notable women in history are absent from this repository of shared knowledge. In honor of Women’s History Month and the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Project, the Weinberg Memorial Library is hosting a Wikipedia workshop and edit-a-thon on Saturday, March 5th from 12PM-4PM. Please join us for a day of communal editing to create and improve Wikipedia articles on women! Snacks and refreshments will be provided!

PJ Tabit ’10, a member of the Board of Directors of the Wiki Education Foundation, will be stopping by the edit-a-thon to share some of the innovative uses of Wikipedia that are supported by the foundation.

This event is aimed at addressing Wikipedia’s gender gap and encouraging female editorship. New editors will learn how Wikipedia articles are created, shared and audited. The event will include Wikipedia training for new editors.  No previous experience or advanced technical skills required!  To RSVP, email

If you have suggestions of local women absent from Wikipedia, please share your ideas! And, check out our meet-up page for more event details and updates: Wikipedia:Meetup/Scranton/ArtAndFeminism 2016/University of Scranton

Last year, over 1,500 participants at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, along with more than 75 node events around the world, created nearly 400 new pages and improved 500 articles on Wikipedia. To learn more about the outcomes of previous edit-a-thons, visit: Wikipedia:Meetup/ArtAndFeminism/Outcomes


Internet Blackout Tomorrow

Several highly used websites are going dark tomorrow (Wednesday) for 12-24 hours to protest and raise awareness about the Stop Online Policy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).  Sites that will be going dark include WikipediaInternet ArchiveReddit, Boing Boing, and others – see SOPAStrike for a continually updated list.

SOPA and PIPA are two pieces of legislature currently in play in Congress that could have significant effects on libraries and our users.  SOPA is on hold for the moment, but PIPA is still scheduled for a cloture vote on January 24th.

So we’ve been reading up on SOPA and PIPA lately. Here are some resources we’ve found useful:

Inauguration Day

The inauguration of President Obama prompted me to do a little research on the customs surrounding this day. So I used a new research tool that can be found on the Library’s A-Z List of Databases. This new tool, called Credo Reference, is a great alternative to using Wikipedia because it allows you to find authoritative answers that it gets from hundreds of reference books in a broad range of subjects.

Here’s a snippet of what I found in the book, Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary:

Inauguration Day

From 1789 until 1933, the day on which the newly elected president of the United States began his term of office was March 4—now known as Old Inauguration Day. The day was changed to January 20 when the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1933. When Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the oath of office is administered privately, but the public ceremonies are usually postponed until the following day.

The swearing-in of the president had been held on the East Portico of the Capitol building since Andrew Jackson’s 1829 inauguration. Former president Ronald Reagan changed the site for his inauguration in 1981. Since then, the swearing-in has been held on the West Terrace of the Capitol. This site, which faces out onto the Mall where thousands gather for the event, affords greater visibility for spectators. Reagan reportedly also liked the symbolism of the president facing west, out toward the rest of the country.

Inauguration Day. (2005). In Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc.. Retrieved January 23, 2009, from

In addition to providing me with the basic information for which I was looking, Credo also provided me with links to related resources. By clicking on the Our Catalog link, I get a list of books that are in the Weinberg Memorial Library. By clicking on the Academic Search Elite link, I get a list of results from this database. Wikipedia can’t do that!

Credo automatically created a citation for me in APA format, but I could also get my citation in MLA format. And, I can e-mail the citation to myself, or save it in RefWorks. Wikipedia definitely doesn’t do that for you!

Give Credo a try, and when you do, post a comment to let me know how you like it.