A few weeks ago I attended Wikimania 2012, Wikimedia’s annual international conference which was held in Washington DC this year. I love Wikipedia although I’ve never edited/contributed to it; I thought this would be a good chance for me to learn more about what it’s all about and specifically about Wikipedia’s new GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) initiative.

So what’s the relationship between Wikipedia and libraries? It’s actually quite simple. It’s all about running an “editathon”–a Wikipedia editing workshop at a library which focuses on improving and creating articles on a particular subject area of the library’s choosing. For example, last year the British Library ran an editathon to develop the representation of British Library collections on Wikipedia, create new pages for poets, and improve the pages of authors with unique British Library material. Libraries benefit by gaining greater exposure on Wikipedia; by drawing new patrons into the library; and by making participants aware of the extent of their collections.

Since I’m a novice, there was quite a lot of Wikimania 2012 which went over my head. However, since I’m such a fan of Wikipedia, I found it fascinating to learn about the GLAM initiative and Wikipedia’s relationship with libraries. Librarians are all about trying to help people learn and use quality information. This goes hand-in-hand with the vision statement of the Wikimedia Foundation:

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.

Now that’s something that librarians and Wikipedians can both be proud about. I’m also going to check out some books on Wikipedia from our collection to learn more about the organization and more importantly, how to edit.

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