A Civil War Wikipedia Edit-a-thon!
March 14, 2013
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has been working with the D.C. Wikimedia community to share our collections and research resources on Wikipedia. Wikipedia includes more than 22 million articles (in 285 languages!) and is visited by more than 470 million people each month, making it one of the largest reference websites in the world. All of the content is created, edited, and refined by volunteers—people who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and helping to improve and expand this heavily-used resource. The museum, committed to sharing our artworks with as many people as we can, is eager to connect with this huge online asset.
Last month, we held a full-day "edit-a-thon" inspired by The Civil War and American Art exhibition. The day began with coffee and introductions, followed by a tutorial on Wikipedia for new editors. Exhibition curator Eleanor Harvey gave a tour of the exhibition, sharing her depth of knowledge about the artworks on view. After lunch, the work began! The museum provided books, research files, and digital resources about selected artworks and artists from the exhibition, and the volunteers set to work using these to add and expand related articles on Wikipedia. We also added high resolution images of the artworks to the Wikimedia Commons, so that they could be easily used to illustrate the articles. You can see more photographs from the day on the Commons, and can find a full report of the work that we did on the edit-a-thon page.
We plan to hold regular Wikipedia edit-a-thons at the Museum, so if you have an idea for a topic, collection, or theme for us to focus on - be sure to let us know in the comments!
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