The Wikipedia guru wore a shirt with “Not afraid to say the F-Word: Feminism.” At the Herman B Wells Library on Saturday, she led students in the third-annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.
The edit-a-thon was an initiative of the international Art+Feminsim campaign to increase Wikipedia coverage of women and the arts and to encourage female editorship.
Wikipedia is the seventh most-visited website on the Internet, Wikipedia guru Tassie Gniady said. Gniady is a manager in research technologies at IU.
One of the challenges of Wikipedia is 87 percent of editors are male, she said.
“Here you have the site that everyone is going to this website for information, but it’s going to reflect those who edit it,” Gniady said.
Sophomore Richard Solomon said the difference in interests between men and women account for the lack of information on female artists.
“The solution is to level it by having less male editors,” Solomon said. “Women should be represented as well in all of Wikipedia. It’s such an important source, too. Everyone goes there. It’s the first thing you do when you don’t know something.”
IU is one of 175 sites around the world to participate in this year’s event, Gniady said.
The IU site contributed to the pages of five female artists, specifically pages of Indiana natives.
Kendra Werst, graduate student in library sciences, edited the page for Janet Payne Bowles, a metal smith from Indianapolis.
Werst and the other editors used IU library databases to find information for the pages.
Werst said she wasn’t surprised most editors were male but was sad their work yielded limited information on influential women.
“There’s all these role models that I could have had growing up, but I never knew anything about them because history was written by somebody else with a different agenda,” Werst said.
The Art+Feminsim campaign was founded by art librarian Siân Evans and artist Jacqueline Mabey to reverse the skewed coverage.
The duo was inspired by edit-a-thons for science, technology, engineering and math on Ada Lovelace Day to honor the first computer programmer.
The Art+Feminsim edit-a-thons coincide with the weekend before International Women’s Day.
Last year’s event resulted in the creation of nearly 400 new pages and improvements to more than 500 pages, according to the Art+Feminism website.
Gniady has also been host to edit-a-thons in other subjects.
Her friend Adrianne Wadewitz inspired her to begin contributing to and editing Wikipedia pages.
“She made almost 50,000 edits,” Gniady said. “She was five years younger than I was, and she died two years ago in a rock climbing accident. So part of what we’re thinking about is just how to honor her memory.”
Wadewitz has her own Wikipedia page, which includes her contributions to the site and her advocacy against systematic bias against women on the Internet.
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