Wikipedia editing workshops aim to increase black history content

Feb 10, 2015

Schomburg Center laptop for Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon
Credit Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

New York Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture mixed technology with activism to increase the searchable content on Wikipedia.

Billed as an Edit-a-Thon, the downstairs research room of the Harlem branch of the library filled up with people eager to learn how they can become a Wiki-Editor.

“There is a lack of people of color involved in creating for Wikipedia and as the subjects found in Wiki-Searches.”

Miria Liriano is Associate Chief Librarian of the Gene Blackwell Hudson Research and Reference Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She says the library was planning to host a teaching seminar to help more people in the community learn how they can add to the international digital conversation.

The Edit-a-Thon posed another opportunity to attach the program to the activist hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter.

“That movement is not only happening in the streets but it’s also happening online and with Wikipedia being such a popular website, it also is a way that you can have a voice on what’s happening in the information age.”

The afternoon’s class was taught by a friendly and patient group of Wiki’s or Wikipedia programmers, who helped set up accounts, translate code and add new pages or edit those that had spare information. Liriano says it’s not only important to add missing content but to include links so that future Wikipedia users can be directed to more information throughout the web.