UNC’s Kenan Science Library hosted its fourth annual Women in Science Wikipedia Edit-a-thon this week.
Participants gathered Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. to write women back into history in the Edit-a-thon, a drop-in event geared toward improving Wikipedia entries about and related to women in science. The event was co-sponsored by UNC Allies for Minorities and Women in Science and Engineering and STEM Pride of the Triangle.
Interim head of Kenan Science Information Services Therese Triumph said the idea of a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was first introduced in 2013 by Emily Jack, the community engagement librarian at Wilson Library. Since then, a variety of different departments have put on their own Edit-a-thons, from psychology to African-American history. Triumph said she spearheaded the Women in Science Edit-a-thon in 2015.
“It's important to advocate for all people. Needless to say, women in STEM or non-binary people have been excluded generally because you write what you know, so if you are a white male from the Northern Hemisphere, you write about what you know,” Triumph said. “So, unfortunately it took a while for women and queer folk to realize that we have to get our history in there too.”
Since Wikipedia is such a large, open source of knowledge, it is beneficial to have librarians and others with a large amount of education on the subject editing it, and it is especially beneficial to have women and people of color contributing, Triumph said.