Library to sponsor art and feminism editing event

Jeonghui Moon, an Adult Education major, finds a quiet spot to study in Stapleton Library. (Ashley Meredith/ The Penn)


Stabley Library will be hosting the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The event, which is in collaboration with Women’s and Gender Studies and the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture, will contribute to the body of national Wikipedia edit-a-thons and give students a chance to participate in the generative process that Wikipedia relies on to keep its information up-to-date and relevant.

“Libraries are the original home of information and reference sources,” said Dr. Theresa McDevitt, government information/outreach librarian for IUP Libraries.

“We have always been the place where people come together to learn about things. The library is the perfect place for such an event.”

Since 2011, Wikipedia has pushed hard to increase the percentage of women contributing to the archives after the Wikimedia Foundation discovered that fewer than 10 percent of its contributors at that time were female.

This was a startling discovery in today’s increasingly pro-feminine culture, given that Wikipedia is one of the most expansive repositories of knowledge in the world.

“While women are a numerical majority, they operate as a cultural minority,” said Dr. Lynn Botelho, IUP history professor and member of the Women and Gender Studies department.

“It’s important to have their cultural contributions recognized.”

This event is also meant to open the dialogue for students to discuss gender inequalities as well as gaps in historical knowledge.

“By providing opportunities for participants to improve coverage of women and the arts in Wikipedia, we are also opening up a space for the critical-thinking and questioning,” said Dr. Matt Vetter, IUP assistant professor of English and a facilitator for the event.

“Projects like these, furthermore, demonstrate just how vital literacy, humanities and cultural studies work remains, especially when it is critically applied to digital texts and interfaces.”

The event will coincide with International Women’s Day, imbuing the edit-a-thon with a symbolic importance that goes far beyond its practical utility.

In fact, members of the LGBTQIA+ community are particularly encouraged to lend their efforts to the edit-a-thon.

Today, women are no longer the only culturally oppressed minority group, so the event serves as an opportunity for other marginalized individuals to make an impact.

“People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to participate, but we are especially hopeful that transgender and cisgender women will participate,” Dr. Vetter said.

“The idea is that these new editors will diversify Wikipedia’s editor base and continue to be an active contributor to the encyclopedia after the event.”

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