The first ‘wikimarathon’ about Spanish scientists and inventors took place on December 13 and 14, 2014. This special edit-a-thon was organized by Wikimedia Spain, in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología). These events were hosted simultaneously by six science museums in Spain: the National Museum of Science and Technology (in its two locations, Alcobendas and A Coruña), the Valladolid Science Museum, the House of Sciences of Logroño, the National Museum of Natural Sciences, and the House of Science of Sevilla.
The wikimarathon included a short talk about Wikipedia and Wikimedia, as well as an editing workshop where participants learned to edit Wikipedia. Progress was tracked through social networks, using this hashtag: #WikimaratónCiencia. About 96 participants registered through a website created by Wikimedia Spain: approximately 35% of them were women, and 17 of them participated online. To guide participants, 18 experienced wikipedians travelled to the museums from different parts of Spain, on a volunteer basis. To help attendees edit content appropriately, the museums offered access to literature in different formats — and food and beverages were also served. Each museum set up a different timetable, adapted for their opening hours. Beyond those two-day events, online participation was opened for three more weeks, for those who wished to continue editing from home.
A wide range of participants joined this program. In Alcobendas, a group of 7 to 12 year-old children attended the workshops with their tablets: they seemed to enjoy the talk and learned how to use the new Visual Editor tool. In Logroño, a family attended with two children: the youngest, aged 11, was particularly interested in contributing to Wikipedia articles about abyssal creatures, not scientists. During the talk, he found several errors in an article about a fish, and remembered that he had read a book on abyssal creatures in the library of the museum. He went to the library and returned a few minutes later with the book. After creating his account in Wikipedia, he corrected those errors in an accurate way. And in Madrid, a volunteer’s family came to the museum to hear his talk, including his brothers, sisters and their children; the museum provided original works from the scientists that people were writing about, as bibliography.
The event was a success and its main results can be summarized as follows:
- More than 700 edits were made on 135 different articles about Spanish scientists and inventors.
- 24 new articles were created.
- 49 new users created an account on Wikipedia.
- Several articles increased substantially during this event, most notably articles about the scientists Ildefonso Zubía (736%), Ignacio Barraquer (601%), Pedro Esquivel (383%), Cosme García (313%), Juan Manuel de Zafra (305%), Nicolás Achúcarro (233%), Juan Marcilla (156%), Fernando Casablancas (136%), Sixto Cámara (113%) and Luis Octavio de Toledo (104%).
- 103 new images were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by the National Museum of Science and Technology. These images are artistic portraits with a free license of Spanish scientists and served to illustrate the articles during the event.
- 23 photos of this event were also uploaded to Commons.
Rubén Ojeda, member of Wikimedia España
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