I know I’ve skipped thing 9, but I’m holding off writing about Collaborate Ultra/Google Hangouts until after the live sessions.
Today I attended the University of Edinburgh’s Ava Lovelace Day event. In the morning I enjoyed interesting talks about Ada Lovelace, I briefly topped the leader-board at the metadata games and I heard a banana (not a typo!). In the afternoon there was a Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. I have previously attended Edinburgh University’s Wikimedian in Residence‘s training sessions and completed the Wikipedia Adventure, but I had not edited any part of Wikipedia apart from my user page. I was put off by feeling that I didn’t know enough about any subject to make changes to such an important resource.
I spent a long time looking through the hit list of articles to be created or improved. I decided I didn’t want to create a new article (too much work), or write about someone still living (too controversial). Many of the other articles appeared to already be quite good, or I was put off by some controversy on their talk page. I eventually found Margaret Rock. She seemed to be quite important (one of the top women codebreakers at Bletchley Park) but the page was very short and two out of three of its references were broken links. Surely this was an article that even I could improve. I started to collect references about her. In the end I only had time to correct the three existing references on her page, but I have saved my research and hope to go back and add some more information in the future.
So, what have I learned about Wikipedia? Writing the articles is a lot of work, but hopefully worthwhile as it is such an amazing resource. Edit-a-thons are a brilliant way to help people get started editing – I’m pretty sure I would never have tried editing if I hadn’t been able to go to one.
And, in case you were interested, this is how you listen to a banana: