Wikipedia Editing Workshop

Written by: Madeline Alvis, Congress and Special Projects Coordinator
April 24, 2018

On March 24, a group of curious women and men gathered in the Banquet Hall at DAR Headquarters for a Wikipedia Editing Workshop. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia created and edited by volunteers around the world. DAR partnered with Wikimedia DC, the nonprofit regional Wikipedia chapter that educates the community about being involved and sharing knowledge, for this exciting event. After a brief training and introduction by Wikimedia DC, our group got right to work researching and editing.

In organizing this event, I was surprised to learn that of the 1.5 million biographies on Wikipedia only 17 percent are about women, and only 10 percent of Wikipedia editors are female. While compiling the suggested worklist for our event at Headquarters, it seemed fitting that our theme be Influential Women in American History. The suggested worklist included women Revolutionary War patriots as well as notable DAR members who have made their marks on American History. Our goal through this workshop was to help these women’s important stories become more detailed, accessible, and widely known on Wikipedia and beyond.

During the editing workshop at Headquarters, 17 articles from the DAR worklist were edited and one new article was created for Dr. Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett, one of the first five women doctors to serve in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and as a first lieutenant in World War I.  Attendees researched and made edits using online sources as well as ones pulled directly from our own DAR Library. The Wikimedia DC board member in attendance said the group at our event was one of the most engaged he had seen and they edited more articles in one day than any other beginner group he had worked with!

Are you interested in becoming a Wikipedia editor yourself? You don’t have to attend a workshop to learn how! This slideshow, created by Wikimedia DC, walks you through the simple steps of becoming an editor and offers some important guidelines. Once you become an editor, you can edit any existing Wikipedia page you like, and you can also still access the DAR suggested worklist. You can continue to return to this list and make edits to help expand these women’s pages.

Wikipedia editing can be a fun way to spread your own knowledge – whatever your area of expertise may be! We were delighted to host this event in conjunction with Wikimedia and hope that you will consider the possibilities for you and your chapter as Wikipedia editors!

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