By Carolyn Sheffield, Project Manager
It’s hard to believe that already a week has passed since the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) and the Field Book Project co-hosted “Expeditions & Explorers: Two Centuries of Field Notes, An Edit-a-thon” at the National Museum of Natural History.
There were five main goals we had set out for this event:
- To encourage inexperienced editors and show them how they can contribute to Wikipedia
- To improve a selection of Wikipedia articles related to scientists and expeditions
- To make Smithsonian-held materials more openly linked
- To test a new transcribing tool to make our field books more findable and useful
- To increase awareness of the research resources freely available through libraries, archives, and museums
We’re thrilled to say that the 18 participants who joined us made fantastic progress on each of these goals. Those new to Wikipedia editing (myself included!) were made to feel welcome and received lots of great pointers on creating and editing articles. Altogether, four new pages were created and seven articles were updated with additional content and links. We’ve written before about the benefits of providing links between affiliated field book creators so that researchers can more easily find materials produced as a result of collaborations, affiliations, or participation on expeditions. So it should come as no surprise that we are thrilled that so many hyperlinks were added as part of the day’s editing activities. Several participants also tried out the Smithsonian’s new beta transcription site and provided valuable feedback. You can read more about the day’s events, including the wonderful tour of the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, on the Smithsonian Institution Archives’ blog: http://siarchives.si.edu/blog/field-notes-wikipedia-edit-thon.
You can help!
Although the event itself is over, you can actually still help us improve the Wikipedia articles on the Explorers & Expeditions to-do list and in making Smithsonian-held field books more openly linked. To get started, just visit the to-do list page and pick a topic of interest to you. Be sure to check out the possible reference resources listed for each topic and feel free to use and cite any new references that you find!
New to Wikipedia editing or looking for more guidance? Check out Meghan Ferriter’s (event co-organizer and SIA research associate) Tips & Tricks for creating Wikipedia articles.