Submissions:2014/Wikipedia, GLAM and Edit-athons in the Classroom: How We Did It

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Title of the submission
Themes (Proposal Themes - Community, Tech, Outreach, GLAM, Education)
Type of submission (Presentation Types) - Presentation
Author of the submission
User:Fuzheado (Andrew Lih)
E-mail address
US state or country of origin
Washington, DC
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
American University
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

How an entire university course was based on Wikipedia GLAM Edit-a-thons and survived to tell about it


In 2013, I had a wacky idea -- why not use Washington DC and Wikipedia as the ultimate learning classroom, and orient an entire university course around Wikipedia editing in collaboration with the most respected cultural institutions in the world? That's when "Wikipedia and Public Knowledge" came about as a class Andrew Lih proposed at American University for the Spring of 2014.

Thus, the first class known to be based around GLAM Wiki edit-a-thons was born to answer the questions: Who are the keepers of history in the digital age? What does Wikipedia’s crowd know that major institutions could reproduce for the greatest public good?

Over the course of 15 weeks, students in communication and journalism were put through the rigorous process of becoming proficient Wikipedia editors and Commons uploaders, and for 10 weeks edit-a-thons every other week were held with:

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • Freer/Sackler Gallery

Students were introduced to the concepts such as:

  • systemic bias and the coverage of women scientists (SIA)
  • digital scanning of original historic documents from the Civil War era (NARA)
  • copyright, sourcing and references (AAM)
  • the role of "living museums" as historical record and active participants in news media issues (NMAI)

The course resulted in high profile media coverage, such as a The NY Times Museums feature (Cohen, Noam. "Warming Up to the Culture of Wikipedia," NY Times, March 19, 2014. [1]) and attention from the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero and the Smithsonian Director of Web and New Media Strategy Michael Edson.


The presentation will describe how the class was conceived and how on edit-a-thons investigated different ways Wikipedia relates to GLAM institutions. How did the students interact with the Wikipedia community and GLAM professionals? We also talk about new directions that this class can take in the future iterations, including collaboration with different museums and new multimedia projects that could be undertaken to go beyond the 4.4 million text articles in English Wikipedia.

A full description of the course can be found at:

Length of presentation/talk (see Presentation Types for lengths of different presentation types)
75 Minutes (half of this time is also fine)
Will you attend WikiConference USA if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations

Interested attendees

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  1. Fhocutt (talk) 02:11, 4 April 2014 (EDT)
  2. LiAnna (Wiki Ed) (talk) 12:51, 7 April 2014 (EDT)
  3. GastelEtzwane (talk) 15:44, 7 April 2014 (EDT)
  4. Rhododendrites (talk) 21:41, 9 April 2014 (EDT)
  5. AWang (WMF) (talk) 12:31, 21 May 2014 (EDT)
  6. Uncommon fritillary (talk) 10:19, 27 May 2014 (EDT)
  7. Mozucat (talk) 10:19, 31 May 2014 (EDT)
  8. Add your username here.