Event Title

Collaboration Across Cyberspace: NNLM’s Wikipedia Editing Campaigns

Session Format

Presentation

Conference Tracks

Outreach, Services, and Programs

Short Description

Wikipedia’s health and medicine articles are visited billions of times yearly, so it is vital that their content is reliable and accurate. To this end, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) has organized a series of Wikipedia editing campaigns. These campaigns demonstrate a program model incorporating elements of outreach and engagement, marketing, communication, and instruction to distant participants. Participants will learn why Wikipedia is an important health information resource, the basics of editing, how we have engaged virtually with individuals and organizations, what challenges we have faced, and our outlook for the future of these campaigns.

Long Description

Wikipedia’s health topics pages are visited a staggering 7 billion times per year, so it is vital that rather than futilely discouraging Wikipedia use, information professionals and educators strive to improve the crowd-sourced encyclopedia’s reliability and encourage informed use of this hugely popular resource. To that end, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine has organized a series of Wikipedia editing campaigns focused on improving Wikipedia’s health and medicine articles. These editing campaigns have incorporated in-person edit-a-thons as well as virtual events, and have engaged hundreds of students, faculty, and library staff (many of whom were new to Wikipedia editing) across the country in collaborative efforts to ensure universal access to high-quality health information. Through organizing these events, our successes have inspired us to confront our challenges with creativity, and each campaign has taught us ways to improve the next. This session will present NNLM’s Wikipedia editing campaigns as an ever-evolving program model incorporating elements of outreach and engagement, marketing, communication, and instruction to distant participants. Attendees will learn about the importance of Wikipedia as a resource for health information and the basics of editing, how we have worked to engage individuals and organizations virtually, the challenges we have faced and the steps we have taken to overcome them, and our outlook on the great potential for distance engagement we see in these campaigns.

Learning Objectives

After attendance at this session, learners will be able to:

1. Describe the importance of Wikipedia as a health information resource.

2. Describe how NNLM's editing campaigns have been organized to meet the need for reliable health information on Wikipedia and what aspects of the campaigns have been particularly successful.

3. Characterize challenges that have arisen throughout the campaigns and solutions that have been implemented.

4. Make simple edits to a Wikipedia article and participate individually or organizationally in an upcoming editing campaign if desired.

5. Apply the format of and lessons learned from this virtual collaborative program to other programs of relevance to their institutions.

Comments

More information about the NNLM Wikipedia editing campaigns can be found at nnlm.gov/wiki.

If possible, I would love to have attendees use their laptops/tablets/etc. to participate in a demonstrative editing exercise.

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Collaboration Across Cyberspace: NNLM’s Wikipedia Editing Campaigns

Wikipedia’s health and medicine articles are visited billions of times yearly, so it is vital that their content is reliable and accurate. To this end, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) has organized a series of Wikipedia editing campaigns. These campaigns demonstrate a program model incorporating elements of outreach and engagement, marketing, communication, and instruction to distant participants. Participants will learn why Wikipedia is an important health information resource, the basics of editing, how we have engaged virtually with individuals and organizations, what challenges we have faced, and our outlook for the future of these campaigns.