On Saturday we hosted an introductory session on Wikipedia run by Andy Mabbett. We learned the basics of Wikipedia and Wikimedia and then Andy helped us to start editing and adding articles.

Archives and Wikipedia

Some of us concentrated on adding to existing articles on the women shortlisted for Manchester’s new statue including Margaret Ashton, Ellen Wilkinson and Elizabeth Raffald. Top prize went to Yvonne who started a whole new article on Thorley Smith from scratch!

I learned so much from the session. Probably the most important aspect was gaining a bit of confidence in Wikipedia etiquette and formatting. Now I can’t stop!

Something I didn’t really consider until Andy explained it is the importance of not getting caught up in a conflict of interest. I work at the library. So although it’s OK for me to post external links to unique sources held in the library, it probably wouldn’t be OK for me to contribute to the article on the library itself.

The potential for Wikipedia to transform how libraries and archives present themselves and enable their users is clear. Wikimedia could also be a useful tool for surfacing non-commercially valuable assets.

I like how democratic the platform is. And how users are encouraged to communicate to resolve differences. But the big plus is how easy it is for people with basic IT skills to start contributing to Wikipedia, sharing their knowledge and getting acknowledgement for their efforts.