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Wikifying America’s Legislative Process


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An introduction to editing Wikipedia, presented at the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, "Wikifying America’s Legislative Process: Congressional Committees and Hearings Wikipedia Edit-a-thon" on April 7, 2017.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Wikifying America’s Legislative Process

  1. 1. We all use Wikipedia, but what do we really know about it?
  2. 2. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia • Freely licensed without restrictions • All content created & maintained by volunteers • Non-profit educational project, supported by Wikimedia Foundation • All edits/versions are recorded indefinitely • Software: MediaWiki
  3. 3. Biggest. Encyclopedia. Ever. 5,377,555+ articles in English alone 44 million+ articles in 295 different languages
  4. 4. “A Wikipedia article is a process, not a product.” -Clay Shirky Global community site: A Hybrid of Tool & Community
  5. 5. CC BY-SA 4.0 Jason Krüger for Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.
  6. 6. Serves Libraries’ & Archives’ Outreach and Access Mission 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 90000 100000 Views on SIA Website Views on Flickr Commons Views on Wikipedia
  7. 7. More web visits = Meeting our outreach mission
  8. 8. 6th most visited website in the USA & globally 60+ million unique devices per day!
  9. 9. Who or what merits an article in Wikipedia? If a person or topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, then it is deemed “notable.” See Or type in search shortcut WP:N
  10. 10. Wikipedia Content Standards • Neutral Point of View • Verifiability reliable sources, cited correctly • No “original research” i.e. unpublished data, opinions, speculation • Assume good faith towards other editors • Avoid conflict of interest (i.e. creating a page about yourself) See Wikipedia: Policies and guidelines
  11. 11. Do I have to register an account? No, but there are lots of advantages to doing so. • A record of your work builds credibility & signals membership in the community • More privacy, since anonymous contributors’ IP address is recorded • More editing privileges: ability to create/rename articles, upload images, edit preferences NOTE: There should be a 1:1 ratio between editors and accounts on Wikipedia. Shared accounts are not allowed.
  12. 12. Can I edit the Wikipedia article about my workplace? My boss? My grandma? Possibly, but ONLY under the right conditions. “When advancing outside interests is more important to an editor than advancing the aims of Wikipedia, that editor stands in a conflict of interest (CoI).” Your #1 priority must be: making a better, more useful encyclopedia article.
  13. 13. Avoid Conflict of Interest Editing • Register a unique user account • Disclose your affiliations (see sample CoI Statement) • Cite authoritative sources • Don’t remove “controversies” • Recognize that no one person can “own” a Wikipedia article or control its content
  15. 15. Pro search tip: search within specific “namespaces” to find your answers quicker! Examples Help:Introduction WP:COI
  17. 17. Step 1 - Register a user account 1. Go to, click “Create Account” 2. Choose a username and password
  18. 18. Step 2 – Check for Visual Editor 1.Go to Preferences (top) and the Editing tab 2.Scroll down to Editor section 3.Uncheck Temporarily disable the visual editor 4.Change Editing mode to Show me both editor tabs 5.Hit the SAVE button
  19. 19. Step 3 - Create a user page, and/or a user sandbox 1. Click the red link at the top with your Username on it, OR the “Sandbox” 2. Write something on the new page (Hello world!) and click Show Preview. 3. Leave a comment about what you did in the “Edit Summary” box, and then click Save changes.
  20. 20. Citing Sources
  21. 21. Images: Wikimedia Commons vs. “Non-free Use” rationale Wikimedia Commons image Example: Teton Range Non-free image Example: Look Mickey