edit Tango’s activities at “Library Fair 2024 Forum in Akishima”

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May 18, 2024, I (User:Asturio Cantabrio) participated in the “Library Fair 2024 Forum in Akishima” held at Akishima City, Tokyo, Japan.

What is the Library Fair?

Main exhibition of the Library Fair is held in Yokohama City every November.

Librarians from various fields such as public libraries, university libraries, school libraries, and specialized libraries, companies related to library systems, companies in related fields such as publishing and printing, library consultants, library and information science teachers and students, avid library users will be exhibiting or visiting. It is not only a place for library-related business, but also a place for interaction and information exchange.

In addition to the main exhibition held in November, events called regional forums are held in two to three regions throughout the year. Akishima’s event is the first regional forum in 2024.

Library Fair 2024 Forum in Akishima

Akishimaensis is a complex facility that just opened in March 2020. The core facility is the Akishima Citizen Library, and other facilities include the Akishima City Local Material Room.

This was just when the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to take hold worldwide. Due to the trend of refraining from going out, Akishima City was unable to widely publicize the opening of Akishimaensis. So Akishima City positioned this regional forum as a commemorative event for the 70th anniversary of Akishima City’s incorporation, and used it as an opportunity to inform the Japanese library industry of the opening.

edit Tango’s activities

I participated in this event as a member of the civic group “edit Tango.” edit Tango is an organization based in the Tango region in northern Kyoto Prefecture. Core member Soseki-no-neko (User:漱石の猫) published “Town Revitalization with Wikipedia” in December 2023.

In addition to hosting Wikipedia editing events in the Tango region, edit Tango also conducts outreach activities across Japan. Our goal is to educate library personnel and citizens interested in libraries about the usefulness of Wikipedia through booth exhibitions and workshops.

Two people from edit Tango, myself (User: Asturio Cantabrio) and Soseki-no-neko (User:漱石の猫) participated in this “Library Fair 2024 Forum in Akishima”.

From 10:00 to 12:00, we held a workshop called “Wikipedia Editing Experience Session” for citizens interested in libraries. Additionally, from 13:00 to 17:00, we set up a booth for librarians entitled “Wikipedia Exhibition”. We conducted two types of activities in the morning and in the afternoon, with different subjects.

Workshop “Wikipedia Editing Experience Session”

The shelves of general books at the Akishima Citizen Library are arranged radially around the Exchange Plaza, and many library users pass around the Exchange Plaza. The upper part of the Exchange Plaza is an atrium. When an event is held in the Exchange Plaza, the bustle of the Exchange Plaza spreads throughout the library. We used Exchange Plaza as the venue for our workshop, “Wikipedia Editing Experience Session”.

The Tama area of Tokyo is a large area with a population of 4.2 million people, but there are few Wikipedia events such as Wikipedia Town held there, and it is an area where future Wikipedia outreach activities are needed. At this workshop, Soseki-no-neko introduced the features and usefulness of Wikipedia using PowerPoint slides, and then provided editing consultation to the participants individually.

One of the participants was a member of a library supporter group in the Tama area. Although this person had never edited Wikipedia before, he wanted to “convey information about choir activities in the Tama area to future generations.” He had a document that mentioned the choir, but he said that he could not find any other documents that could be used as a source.

If he create a new article called “XX Choir” in this situation, there is a possibility that it will be deleted because there are too few sentences . So I told him that there is a way to write about it in a larger article, for example, in the culture section of “Tama City”. For participants who had no experience editing Wikipedia, it was difficult to make the optimal choice while considering the standard for creating independent articles, so I feel that holding a workshop in Akishima City was meaningful.

Booth “Wikipedia Exhibition”

In the afternoon, the main program of the Library Fair was held in the gymnasium building, including a talk session on the publication of illustrated books and a panel discussion on the opening of Akishimaensis. edit Tango has set up a booth entitled “Wikipedia Exhibition” in the gymnasium building. During the main program, we demonstrated how to create a new Wikipedia article and also took to the stage to promote our activities.

We believe that Wikipedia editing events and editing consultations aimed at the general public are important, but we also believe it is important to educate librarians and administrative staff about the usefulness of Wikipedia. Many librarians and administrative staff probably think that “Wikipedia is unreliable”. However, if we post high-quality articles on topics that are familiar to them, they may change their perception of Wikipedia.

The venue for this event is Akishimaensis, and since the Akishima whale (Eschrichtius akishimaensis) is the symbol of Akishima City, we created a new title for “Akishimaensis” and “Akishima whale”. I am creating a new article on “Akishimaensis”, and Soseki-no-neko is creating a new article on “Akishima whale”.

In addition, I have created many new library articles on Japanese Wikipedia, and 15 of them have been selected as Good Articles (GA). I have actually received positive feedback from them.

On May 20, “Akishimaensis” were posted on the main page of the Japanese Wikipedia after selection by users. On May 21, “Akishima whale” were posted on the main page of the Japanese Wikipedia. Approximately 100 new articles are created every day on the Japanese Wikipedia, but only 3-5 of these are posted on the main page. This means that the two articles have been recognized as high-quality articles in the Japanese Wikipedia.

Akishima whale is an article about the species of creature. The day after Soseki-no-neko was posted, a Wikipedian knowledgeable about biology corrected the technical terminology, etc., and added over 10,000 bytes in total over the next day or so. The original article had a strong humanities element, but this person’s additions have enriched the natural science elements, dramatically improving the quality of the encyclopedia article.

On May 26, the article “Akishima whale” was selected as a Good Articles (GA) after a selection by users. During the selection process, the article received positive comments such as, “I think it’s good enough to be both an article on local history and paleontology” and “The content that included paleontology and town revitalization was also interesting”. This article can be said to embody the philosophy of Wikimedia (Wikipedia), which is created with the help of many participants.

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