Submissions:2021/When Students contribute to Wikipedia: A Local Initiative with Global Reach

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2021.


When Students contribute to Wikipedia: A Local Initiative with Global Reach


Global & Local

Type of session:



In 2013, I had coffee with a librarian colleague, John Dupuis (Abstract co-author). He mentioned Ada Lovelace Day, founded in 2009 by journalist, Suw Charman-Anderson, who pledged to write a blog post about a woman in technology if one thousand other people also wrote one. The day has grown into an annual international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) held on the second Tuesday of October. Activities include lectures and Wikipedia Editathons.

John and Dawn discussed holding a #FindingAda Day at York University, Toronto. While we both had experience with science policy and EDI, neither of us were experienced Wikipedians. We decided to develop our skills through a Wikipedia editing assignment for Dawn’s upper year Plant Ecology course in Winter Term 2014.

Students responded positively to their laboratory-based assignments. They did research on notable women Biologists, especially Ecologists, without Wikipedia pages. In Fall 2015 we organized our first drop-in Ada Lovelace Day Editathon, tailored to our primarily commuter main campus. In the meantime, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia held a Wikipedia Editathon in 2014, providing us with a handy poster template and event agenda.

We have held annual Ada Lovelace Day Wikipedia Editathons, except for 2020. Dawn expanded and adapted the Wikipedia editing assignment for all of her Biology courses. We also developed associated curriculum about the Open Access ecosystem, metadata, Creative Commons, Sherpa Romeo, and Institutional Repositories.

In 2020, Dawn joined the first WikiEdu session. She has found the training modules immensely helpful and has shared them with John as he and fellow librarians prepare for a virtual 2021 Wikipedia Editathon.

Webpages: Wikipedia assignments for Biology students: •

Wikipedia Editathons: • 2019: • 2018: • 2017: • 2016 • 2015

Internationalizing Wikipedia training: •

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Dawn R Bazely and John Dupuis

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

York University

Estimated time:

20 minutes

Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

At the Toronto GlamWiki Conference in 2019

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)