The KRC held a Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Tuesday January 24th at Wolfson College, in collaboration with the Khalili Foundation as part of the ongoing World Festival of Cultural Diversity (see here for further details: https://krc.web.ox.ac.uk/event/wikipedia-edit-a-thon). KRC doctoral student Edward Shawe-Taylor has written this report on the event:
Every student of Islamic art has at one point been confronted either with an absence of material, or an abundance of factual errors, when using Wikipedia. When an email was circulated asking for participants in an Islamic Art Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, therefore, it was no surprise that the uptake from the KRC was high.
With the aim of “tackling cultural bias online,” the seminar was a three-hour afternoon session, organised by the Khalili Foundation as part of their work with UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. The session was attended by many staff and students from the KRC, as well as from other faculties of the University. Most of us were completely new to the complicated world of Wikipedia editing. In the first half of the seminar, Martin Poulter, the Khalili Collection’s “Wikimedian in Residence”, showed us behind the curtain to see how Wikipedia operates. We were taught the mechanics of the website, how to edit and create articles, how to write clear and unbiased entries, and, perhaps most importantly of all, how to engage diplomatically with the multitude of experienced Wikipedia editors, whose articles we might disagree with.
After the lecture, we were free to put Martin’s excellent teaching to good use. We all set about editing articles which were relevant to our research interests, and, in some cases, composing them from scratch. By the end of the session, we had all successfully contributed to the representation of Islamic art on Wikipedia – and I’m sure many of us will continue to do so in the future.