Women in the Arts Meetup & Edit-a-thon

300px-We_Can_Edit– Shira Loev Eller

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and National Museum of Women in the Arts are teaming up to organize a workshop and edit-a-thon focused on improving Wikipedia entries related to notable women artists and art world figures. Activities will include new editor orientation and training, and a behind-the-scenes presentation from the Archives of American Art staff. Coffee and lunch generously provided courtesy of Wikimedia DC.

This past Friday I attended a really fun and worthwhile event at the Archives of American Art: the Women in the Arts Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. As many of you may know from your own online searches or from Clio 1, women are poorly represented at Wikipedia, both as editors and as subjects. This is especially true of women artists, many of whose pages are either stubs or don’t exist at all. So, the idea behind the Edit-a-thon was to involve women editors in improving and creating pages for women artists. Staff from Smithsonian Libraries, National Museum for Women in the Arts, and many other area libraries and museums were in attendance.

Before the event, the organizers had identified a long list of articles that needed updating, which you can see on the Edit-a-thon’s Wikipedia page. After a short tutorial on editing Wikipedia and a fascinating presentation from Archives staff on some amazing women artists and critics, we each chose an article and got to work. Using reliable webpages, as well as reference books provided by several area institutions, we were able to create or improve a very long list of articles (see the Result/Outcomes section of the Wikipedia page).

I personally had a great time editing the article on American sculptor Margaret Foley. It was exciting to edit in a group environment with lots of like-minded colleagues. It also really helped that if I got stuck on a formatting or editing issue, I could get advice from more experienced Wikipedians. I definitely plan to attend similar events in the future. It felt good to be part of such a meaningful project, plus I got a free lunch!

Editors Note

You can check out Wikimedia’s blog post about WikiWomen’s History Month here.


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