RIT Libraries hosts Women on Wikipedia Edit-a-thon March 22

Participants welcome; training provided

Women are the subject of less than 30 percent of biographies on Wikipedia, and RIT Libraries is seeking the community’s help to improve gender equity on the internet’s leading source of information.

RIT Libraries will host its third annual Women on Wikipedia Edit-a-thon from 2 to 8 p.m. on March 22 at Wallace Library on RIT’s campus, in honor of Women’s History Month.

“The goal of Women on Wikipedia is to increase women’s representation on Wikipedia, both in content and as editors,” said Lara Nicosia, liberal arts librarian at RIT and co-organizer of the event. “By empowering our community to actively participate as editors, we hope to make strides toward lessening the gender gap that exists on this online tool.”

No experience is required to participate. RIT students and staff will offer basic training on how to edit a Wikipedia entry, then provide participants with an entry in need of editing to help them get started. Kari Horowicz, art and design librarian and one of the event’s organizers, hopes participants will improve entries about notable Rochester women.

“Jeannette Klute was a photographer known for her pioneering work at Eastman Kodak, which we have documented here in RIT Archives, but there is no information about her on Wikipedia,” Horowicz said. “We want to increase public knowledge of local women’s contributions to the world.”

The efforts of the past two edit-a-thons have improved more than 300 Wikipedia entries about women. Organizers hope to surpass that number this year.

Campus and community groups sponsoring the Women on Wikipedia Edit-a-thon include RIT School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, New York Chiropractic College Library, Lesbians who Tech, RIT Q Center, RIT Veterans and Military Club, Rochester Regional Library Council,

NTID Department of Cultural and Creative Studies, Deaf Women of Rochester, RIT Division of Student Affairs, and RIT Digital Humanities and Social Sciences.

Donations of personal care and menstrual hygiene products will be collected for the Sojourner Home, a shelter for homeless women and children, and RIT’s Center for Women and Gender.

For more information about the event, contact Sara May at sara.may@rit.edu or 585-475-2478.

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