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Recap: Edit-a-thon to increase diversity in Wikipedia

Editing together and making underrepresented perspectives and people more visible for a more diverse Wikipedia: With this goal in mind, the Information Management Chair at the Institute of Library and Information Science (IBI) hosted an Edit-a-thon on October 6, 2023. The focus was on Wikipedia articles related to library and information science that were collaboratively edited on the spot and provided with appropriate sources. 

"Wikipedia should become more diverse in general, and with our Edit-a-thon we want to make our contribution to this in the area of library and information science," explains Laura Rothfritz, who initiated the Edit-a-thon together with ECDF professor Heinz Pampel. "In addition to working on Wikipedia contributions, we also shared ideas on general diversity issues and discussed how we can make the diverse voices in our field even more heard in the future," Rothfritz says. 

The participants reflected together on how to address epistemic inequality in information management and knowledge organization. The participants agreed that Open Science is central to making different voices and insights visible, but at the same time Wikipedia as a source of information and also as an image of society should be viewed in a more differentiated way and critically questioned. "Wikipedia's claim to provide open knowledge for all normatively coincides with those of library and information science, but there is a structural and gender-based inequality in editing practices, especially for female and diverse read editors," explains Professor Heinz Pampel, ECDF Professor of Information Management at Humboldt University in Berlin. As the entries are edited, it becomes clear that the Editathon is addressing a long overdue problem, as Wikipedia articles on library and information science topics are sometimes outdated and often not worded in a gender-appropriate way. "Further work is needed, so we are thinking very specifically about further formats to improve something here structurally," Pampel said. 

The event was sponsored by the ECDF's Gender & Diversity Network and focused on a broader perspective on topics such as interculturality, gender, inclusion and digitization in this specific scientific discipline. The Edit-a-thon is not the first event on diversity topics organized by the Chair of Information Management at the Institute of Library and Information Science (IBI) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: In 2020 and 2021, the Chair organized a workshop series on Data Feminism, and the Editathon is a continuation of the series.