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Statue commemorating Harriet Tubman, Ypsilanti District Library, 229 West Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The sculptor is Jane DeDecker.

Wikipedia aspires to contain “the sum of all human knowledge.” We’re partnering with the U-M Library to make sure our community and cultural institutions are fully represented in that equation.

In October, YDL will co-host a Wikipedia edit-a-thon of Ypsilanti and related pages. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. We want to engage our diverse community to paint a more complete picture within those articles. During the edit-athon, participants can add missing information, edit current content, and add sources to help bolster visibility and trustworthiness of existing
pages.

Ypsilanti resident Emily Puckett Rogers suggested the idea. “I noticed we don’t have a lot of detail on our City of Ypsilanti wiki page,” she said. “I’m learning about a lot of history and culture that I’d like to support in sharing with the wider world through Wikipedia.”

The edit-a-thon will start October 14 with a kickoff/training session, and conclude with a celebration on October 21. There will be a check-in on October 18 to track progress. Facilitators from the U-M Library will answer questions and help organize the work during the kickoff and the check-in. All sessions will be conducted virtually. To make sure your edits are tracked during the Edit-a-thon, visit our Wikipedia dashboard.

You don’t need any experience to participate. U-M librarians will provide everything brand-new editors need to get started. During the training session, participants will also learn about recommended library resources, such as the A.P. Marshall Oral History archive, to inform their work. If you can’t attend the training session, email Paula at Drummond@ypsilibrary.org or call 734-482-4110 ext 1306 to get the information you need to be able to edit.

Miranda Marraccini, one of the U-M librarian facilitators, is excited to make our entries on Wikipedia more inclusive. “Right now, most Wikipedia editors are white, English-speaking men. This lack of representation limits the range of information Wikipedia includes,” she said. “By contributing to Wikipedia, we can reduce bias and promote inclusion…on one of the most widely used websites in the world.”

Wikipedia has millions of articles and tens of billions of page views around the world every month. Including more diverse and rich content on our community pages will be meaningful and far-reaching. As Sue Gardner—former Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation—has said, “Wikipedia can only succeed in its mission if its editors are as diverse as the population itself.”

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