Wikipedia edit-a-thons sponsored by UCR Libraries will make use of archives such as the Eaton Collection, the Water Resources Collection and the Tuskegee Airman Archive.
October 2, 2013

UCR Libraries to host events that will teach Inland residents, campus students, scholars and staff to write entries for online encyclopedia

By Bettye Miller

Wikipedia edit-a-thons sponsored by UCR Libraries will make use of archives such as the Eaton Collection, the Water Resources Collection and the Tuskegee Airman Archive. Pictured above are a fan magazine from the Eaton Collection, a photo by Walter Leroy Huber of the junction of the All American Canal with the Coachella Canal, and Tuskegee Airman Clarence D. “Lucky” Lester.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UC Riverside Libraries will host three Wikipedia edit-a-thons this fall during which Inland residents and university students, scholars and staff may make use of library resources to write articles for the free, online encyclopedia.

The first of the all-day edit-a-thons is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Box lunches will be provided for preregistered participants. Free parking will be available for community residents who preregister. Email to register for each of the three dates. Additional edit-a-thons are scheduled Oct. 26 and Nov. 23.

Veteran Wikipedia editor Adrianne Wadewitz will attend the Oct. 12 event and teach participants how to write articles that are polished and designed to face fewer challenges for accuracy and neutrality. Wikipedia trainers will attend each edit-a-thon.

Participants may access a variety of UCR Library resources, including documents housed in Special Collections and University Archives, to research articles of their choosing, said University Librarian Steven Mandeville-Gamble.

“We want this to be fun, but there is also a serious goal of enhancing Wikipedia as a platform of information exchange,” Mandeville-Gamble said. “These edit-a-thons will give students and others a chance to write in a public forum and learn how to create a well-crafted information article. It also is an opportunity for us to forge stronger relations with community members beyond UCR’s borders.”

Wikipedia describes itself as a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation that is based on an openly editable model. Content is produced collaboratively by anonymous volunteers who write without pay.

Two years ago Wikipedia launched its Wikipedia Loves Libraries initiative to collaborate with galleries, libraries, archives and museums in an effort to make the online encyclopedia a more accurate and useful resource, Mandeville-Gamble said.

The UCR librarian introduced Wikipedia edit-a-thons when he worked at George Washington University. The project was so popular that it continues on a monthly basis.

At UCR, participants in the edit-a-thons will be able to research topics that make use of UCR Libraries collections such as science fiction; the Tuskegee Airmen; author and former UCR Chancellor Tomás Rivera; historical figures in the political, cultural, and social life of the Inland Empire; water resources in California and the West; or Native American literature, art and culture.

“Participants can write about any topic, not just ones we suggest,” Mandeville-Gamble said. “This will be a safe place for people to learn to write Wikipedia articles, receive feedback, make their articles more ‘bullet proof,’ use citation tools and information boxes, and effectively utilize images. Our libraries have tremendous resources that can enhance Wikipedia articles, particularly those that relate to our unique collections and local history.”