Making Wikipedia better — one citation at a time

Dal Libraries contribute to #1Lib1Ref campaign

- January 26, 2017

Library staff taking part in its "Edit-a-thon." (Provided photo)
Library staff taking part in its "Edit-a-thon." (Provided photo)

Launched on January 15, the #1Lib1Ref campaign is uniting libraries around the world.

Supported by Wikipedia Library and a number of Wikimedia Affiliates, the campaign aims to make Wikipedia better for all by encouraging information professionals to add citations to Wikipedia entries.

Libraries of all types and sizes are hosting activities and the Dalhousie Libraries is no exception. Lindsay McNiff (information management specialist librarian) and Margaret Vail (systems developer) hosted a ninety minute Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for the Dal Libraries on January 24.

“We put out a call to Dal librarians, Libraries’ staff whose work involves reference shifts, and Libraries’ staff who have or are working on a Master in Library and Information Studies degree to join us in improving the mighty but flawed Wikipedia,” said McNiff.

"Many people use Wikipedia, but if the entry they’re using isn’t backed up by a reliable source, that’s reason enough to question the information.”

“Despite the stormy weather, we had nine participants and we edited 28 different citations during our edit-a-thon,” said Vail.

Wikipedia, which aims to be the “sum of all human knowledge,” as it puts it, is a free, collaboratively written encyclopedia. On English Wikipedia alone, more than 380,000 articles are in need of citations and another 210,000 have no references at all.

“In this 'post-truth' era, the ability of information professionals to provide access to reliable, verified sources of information, and when possible to contribute to the development of these impartial, accurate sources, is more important than ever,” said Donna Bourne-Tyson, university librarian.

The #1Lib1Ref campaign runs until February 3.


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