West Virginia University Libraries is working with Wikipedia to address the gender gap in its encyclopedia articles through a new grant-funded position.
The Wikimedia Foundation has awarded the WVU Libraries a $27,100 grant to support a Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity. A Wikipedian in residence is an editor placed at an institution to facilitate the creation and improvement of Wikipedia articles related to that institution’s mission.
“We’re excited to partner with WVU to create the first gender-focused Wikipedian in Residence. This role will help us get significantly closer to Wikimedia’s vision of sharing the sum of all human knowledge,” said Siko Bouterse, director of Community Resources for the Wikimedia Foundation.
The Wikipedian in residence at the WVU Libraries will help to increase the profile of several West Virginia women who have excelled in their fields – whether that be science, healthcare, business, or entertainment – but who have not yet garnered the public attention they deserve.
WVU’s Wikipedian will work to identify and organize volunteer writers and editors, offer trainings on how to edit Wikipedia, provide encouragement and recognition for volunteers who help with the project, and establish assessment measures to evaluate each writer’s contributions.
The Wikimedia Foundation hopes to see a 25 percent increase in the number of articles on Wikipedia about West Virginia women and gender studies by the end of the project.
[Jon C.] Cawthorne, [dean of the WVU Libraries] plans to have the Wikipedian in place by September 2015, leaving plenty of time to make an impact and contribute articles before the 125th anniversary celebration of the graduation of women from WVU in 2016.