I was honoured to be contacted, about 4-5 years ago now, by a group of microbiologists. They asked if they could prepare a Wikipedia page about me, specifically about my research and leadership roles across various microbiology societies. I hadn’t been involved with anyone generating Wikipedia content or editing before, and I was impressed by how thorough the checking of information sources and photos etc. was.
Earlier this year, I and several colleagues were looking at various web links for notable women from our University but also more broadly from the region. Once again it was disappointing to see how very few women had their achievements covered within Wikipedia pages. I am blessed with the support of a lot of women and men who support such an agenda amongst our staff and students, so I asked for interest in volunteering to commence a campaign to change this, via holding a wikipedia edit-athon campaign. I was heartened that many came forward to get this started, across the arts, humanities, social sciences as well as STEM subjects. Several people had some experiences of smaller such campaigns in their own subject areas, bringing much needed experience. All the volunteers had ideas of women across these diverse subject areas that they felt were worthy of such inclusion and that they could seek out the sources required to provide the evidence of these achievements. I was grateful that Dr Jenny Baker, a talented researcher within the College of Engineering, agreed to lead the project and she and I have had several productive meetings to progress this.
Fast forward to the summer and we were looking for a suitable platform to launch the wiki edit-thon campaign. Swansea University was joining the International Day for Women in Engineering for the first time and thankfully La-Chun Lindsay agreed to be our keynote speaker. As this attracted a good crowd we used this to launch the campaign, having set the date for the training session and editing for September 28th. I am thrilled to have support from two Wikimedians in Residence from both the National Library of Wales and the Wellcome Trust. These, and other notable supporters, will give training on how to find and develop content on some inspiring women from our region and how to edit Wikipedia pages too.You can find mor information at our university Wikipediaedit-athon page.
Jenny and I also decided to prepare a short podcast on why we felt we needed to set up a Wikipedia edit-athon campaign, I hope you like it and look forward to seeing the first results from our campaign!
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