Join #1Lib1Ref 2021: Celebrating the humans and citations at the heart of Wikipedia

The act of writing Wikipedia is a group effort. The more people and perspectives that contribute to an article, the stronger it becomes. Wikipedia’s vast repository of information beginswith a human seeing a gap, then researching, adding a statement, and adding a citation. That seemingly small act of reading, summarizing, and attributing a source for knowledge is at the heart of the human learning experience that drives Wikipedia. 

As we celebrate Wikipedia’s 20th birthday and the people who make it possible, it is important to remember how integral libraries and librarians have been to helping the world do the same act that is involved on Wikipedia: asking key questions about what knowledge needs to be shared, seeking expert information to help us understand it and give context, and making it available to the world. Especially in a world facing uncertainty around a global health crisis, this important act of sharing the right information at the right time in a public forum makes us all stronger.

The annual “One Librarian, One Reference” (#1Lib1Ref) initiative is an opportunity for communities around the world to celebrate the unique and invaluable overlap of libraries and Wikipedia. This year, communities in Africa, Western Europe, North America, Central and Eastern Europe, and many other parts of the world are going to be celebrating. You can help us do that too by adding a single (or several) missing citations to Wikipedia articles.

One of the best birthday gifts for Wikipedia is your time helping to improve it.

Last year, #1Lib1Ref participants added 18,032 citations across over 60 languages — making more trustworthy, neutral information available at a time when it is needed most. We hope you will help us build on these efforts by joining #1Lib1Ref this year. 

Participating is simple: 

  1. Find an article that needs a citation, using Citation Hunt or any other preferred means.
  2. Find a reliable source that can support that article.
  3. Add a citation using referencing tools.
  4. Add the project hashtag #1Lib1Ref in the article’s edit summary.
  5. Share your edit(s) on social media and invite others to participate!

The Human Rights Challenge 

The act of creating and sharing knowledge helps us advocate for our humanity —  and libraries are often at the forefront of this work. As the International Federation of Library Associations documented in 2018, libraries are frequently on the frontline of protecting human rights, from championing the needs of the disabled, to ensuring privacy and participation in civic rights, such as access to government and freedom of expression.

As part of our continued collaboration with the United Nations Human Rights Office, we are adding a “Human Rights Challenge” to this iteration of #1Lib1Ref, focused on adding citations about human rights knowledge to Wikipedia in all languages. By sharing knowledge about human rights, we help the global public acknowledge, understand, and then better advocate for their own rights. To claim your rights, you must know your rights.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a celebration or a challenge without a small prize for those who help us reach new people with this critical knowledge in the world. The top two contributors of the most references to the global campaign and top three contributors to non-UN languages will get prizes from the Wikipedia Store. Please spread the word about this opportunity with librarians, human rights advocates, and Wikimedia communities alike — we need everyone, everywhere who has a passion for knowledge to join in us the timely and human act of adding one more citation to Wikipedia! 

More about #1Lib1Ref:

The 2021 #Lib1Ref campaign is the sixth iteration of a campaign calling on librarians and knowledge advocates from around the world to add a single reference to Wikipedia, helping make the encyclopedia more reliable and useful.

The campaign runs twice per year: First, from 15 January through 5 February, and later in the year from 15 May to 5 June.

In 2020, nearly half of the total participants for the campaign were new editors. Participants made 18,261 edits in more than 60 languages in January and in 33,257 edits in May. Dozens of in-person and online events accompanied the campaign. We hope to surpass these stats this year.

See our January report here and our May report here.

Share your story:

We are using the Facebook page Wikimedia + Libraries to coordinate discussions around the campaign this year. Feel free to drop us a question, start a discussion on a topic of your interest, or provide support to participants who have questions there.

Be sure to join the conversation on social media using #1Lib1Ref and follow the Wikimedia Foundation on Twitter,Facebook, and Instagram.

Alex Stinson is a Senior Strategist on Community Programs at the Wikimedia Foundation. Follow them on Twitter at @sadads.