1Lib1Ref spreads to the Southern Hemisphere and beyond

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#1Lib1Ref is an annual campaign where librarians and other contributors to Wikipedia add references to improve statements with the ultimate objective of improving the reliability of Wikipedia.

In 2018, the Iberocoop Network participated in the #1lib1ref campaign (1bib1ref in Spanish) in Latin America. The campaign ran for three weeks in May 2018, to commemorate the birthday of Spanish Wikipedia. During the campaign, several Latin American countries participated in online and offline activities involving librarians and the general public to drive contributions on Wikipedia. In addition to the participation of the Iberocoop Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia and Mexico), the campaign attracted participants from Brazil, Portugal, France, Italy, Catalonia, Australia, Cameroon, India and Ghana.

The results of #1bib1ref from the Latin American participants were encouraging and a great start given the limited resources and very limited prior planning: 70 editors made about 522 edits in 371 articles with the hashtag #1bib1ref, and possibly more without the hashtag. The campaign that emerged during the same period under the broader hashtag #1lib1ref saw about 940 edits in 358 articles by 132 participants in 12 languages. On social media, 32 countries made 1200 posts with the hashtag, reaching 1.8 million people, 3.6 million times.

Here are some highlights from around the world:

  • For the first time ever, #1Lib1Ref saw participation from the West African country of Ghana. While partnerships were sought with libraries to champion the campaign, the Wikimedia community also stepped in and actively contributed by improving sources on several articles on Wikipedia.
  • Wikimedia Uruguay organised a workshop on Referencing on Wikipedia for the Educational Documentation Department of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • In Argentina, two workshops were organised by Wikimedia Argentina for the network of librarians at Universidad de Buenos Aires and at the School of Librarians of the City of Buenos Aires.
  • In India, two workshops were organised by Krishna Chaitanya Velaga for librarians at the Kakatiya University and Annamayya Library in Warangal and Guntur respectively. At the close of these workshops, around 118 articles were improved and 24 new participants were introduced to the basics of editing Wikipedia and importantly, adding a citation! The momentum built from the campaign saw its way into the Advance Wiki Training (for users familiar with Wikipedia) organised by CIS-A2K and Krishna which focused on addressing reference issues as well as encouraging the use of reliable references and shedding more light on the Wikipedia Library Program and how the different language Indian communities could benefit in terms of acquiring sources in their own languages.

All the enthusiasm and sharing around the campaign made its way even into Wikimania Cape Town in July 2018. The Wikipedia Library team organised a #1Lib1Ref workshop called Wikipedia 101 for Librarians, which I led, during the pre-conference at Wikimania. This 1-day pre-conference event trained librarians and library staff on how to contribute to the Wikimedia projects as well as enlighten them about their role in bridging some of the knowledge gaps that exist about South Africa on Wikipedia (as the theme for Wikimania 2018 implied). The session included lightning talks from active Wikimedians (Kerry Raymond and Andy Mabbett) working in the Wikipedia + Library space, a #1Lib1Ref editathon, and a Wikidata session to showcase the opportunities around linked open data. Jake Orlowitz carried the energy into the main conference with a three-year retrospective talk at Wikimania looking at the campaign’s evolution and growth.

This indeed is a new turn for 1Lib1Ref. We were able to witness great growth potential in emerging communities firsthand and the void that needs to be filled. On the other hand, the campaign is gradually gaining audience and transforming into a widespread activity in multiple Wikimedia communities and regions. We believe, in making the campaign more suitable to emerging communities we have generated the enthusiasm for participation from librarians and our friends in the southern hemisphere. Still to come, watch out for more activities from India and Iran in the coming months.

And of course, we invite everyone to join us for #1lib1ref 2019 kicking off in January for yet another opportunity to make Wikipedia even more reliable globally!

Felix Nartey, Global Coordinator, The Wikipedia Library
Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from the News section on wikimediafoundation.org, which operates under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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