University librarians host edit-a-thon to promote gender equality

Sasha Weilbaker, Staff Writer

Students and staff were involved in a collective effort to bolster the representation of female artists by editing Wikipedia pages during the first Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on March 4 in Bertrand Library. The event was organized by Director of Research Services & Information Literacy Kathleen McQuiston, Social Sciences Librarian Carrie Pirmann, and Arts & Humanities Librarian Courtney Paddick. The edit-a-thon was promoted through Facebook, Wikipedia, the arts department, and the department of women’s and gender studies.

With the goal of raising public awareness for female artists, participants edited existing Wikipedia pages by adding information, linking pages to similar artists, and correcting errors. Students new to editing Wikipedia articles were shown videos created by the Art + Feminism YouTube account, which provides technical aid to other edit-a-thon events.

Pirmann said that the librarians heard about the Art + Feminism Wikipedia event and decided to host one at the University because it sounded like something interesting and different than we normally do.They hoped that hosting the edit-a-thon would spread community awareness about the lack of representation of female artists on Wikipedia.

“That’s part of the issue, that people don’t realize there is such a gender imbalance on Wikipedia,” Pirmann said.

Both Pirmann and Paddick agreed that the event was a success and plan to do it again next year.

For it being our first event like that, we thought it went well … we only decided a couple of weeks ago to participate in the event, and we hope that next year we can make it even bigger,Pirmann said.

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