Recently, the museum where I did my internship asked me to come back and train some new interns on the who, what, where, when, and how of the Wikipedia Project. This project was the mastermind of my lovely surrogate adviser/librarian at the museums’ library. She put me in charge, and I was able to develop a manual and a system for uploading information, links, and photos to articles on objects and artwork held at the museum.
Last summer, when the project began, it was an uphill battle. We had to deal with copyright, bully editors, convincing the higher-ups that this was a good idea, and learning Wikitext (Wikipedia’s own markup language). Myself and two other interns were put on the project, and I feel that we created a pretty substantial beginning to what will probably be an ongoing project for as long as Wikipedia remains one of the most trafficked sites online. I am proud that my museum is among one of the first to actively contribute to Wikipedia, along with the likes of the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institute, the British Museum, and more.
But back to the training! I feel like it went fairly well. My very first training session. Of course I prepared a powerpoint presentation, because if library school has taught me nothing else, it has taught me to always have a power point! Most of the presentation was actually just navigation through how Wikipedia works, and the features that laypeople usually never bother to look at. We set up user accounts, sandboxes, and played around with some formatting. Then in the afternoon I did a little more one on one work with each intern and we made some actual edits to some pages. I know it was probably pretty overwhelming, but I hope between the training and the notes/handbook it will be a little easier for them than it was for me starting out.
We’re currently working on making the project available to be worked on by those in the library, and those volunteering from home. I am especially excited about this because some weeks I don’t have the time to drive in and volunteer. I am also excited that all the interns seemed very adept at editing, and the project really needs some new interns who can spend a lot of time on it.
If your library or museum is interested in contributing to Wikipedia, be sure to check out the Wikpedia GLAM Project. On the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums page you can learn more about the who, what, where, when, and how of editing Wikipedia.