2 May 2016

Join the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon at the 228th AAS Meeting in San Diego

Gina Brissenden American Astronomical Society (AAS)

As part of the Wikipedia Year of Science, the Simons Foundation, in partnership with the Wiki Education Foundation, will host an edit-a-thon and training session aimed at improving astronomy, astrophysics, and planetary science pages on Wikipedia during the 228th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego, California. The edit-a-thon will take place Wednesday, 15 June, from 12:30–3:30 pm.

Let us know you will be attending:

Wikipedia Year of Science 2016

Why is this important? Think about the last time you heard a word, a date, or of an event that made you want to learn more. What was your first instinct? Chances are you turned to Google, and the subsequent Google search led you to a Wikipedia entry. Wikipedia is where the general public goes go to learn about pretty much everything – and this includes science. Wikipedia is viewed 8,000 times per second. There are more than 37 million entries, containing over 23 billion words, representing more than 290 languages.

Consequently, Wikipedia is one of the most powerful platforms for the dissemination of science information in the world. While Wikipedia’s coverage of science topics is robust and vast, clear gaps remain. Scientists can take issue with the ubiquity of Wikipedia — and the gaps that exist — or we can work together to make it as reliable and readable as possible.

During this edit-a-thon session, we’ll identify some of these gaps in astronomy coverage — participants will target pages on Wikipedia that suffer from a lack of quality content, as well as create new pages. We will also seek to increase the representation of diversity in science. Those with no experience have the opportunity to learn how to edit and properly cite sources. Participants will choose which pages to edit according to their interest and area of expertise.

Participants will also hear from the Wiki Education Foundation about a new model for learning and communicating science to the public: fostering sustainable and high-quality contributions through academic partnerships. To explore this, they’ll discuss effective ways for instructors to assign Wikipedia content in college-level classrooms.

Earlier in the week, catch an overview of the Wikipedia Year of Science’s goals and impact so far during the oral presentation, "Mind the Gaps: Wikipedia as an education model and public duty for scientists," on 13 June. You can learn more about the Wikipedia university classroom program by visiting the Wiki Education Foundation in the Exhibit Hall at booth #227 Monday–Wednesday.


To Join: All summer meeting attendees are welcome to participate in the three-hour editing session, or simply stop by and learn more about how to contribute to Wikipedia. You do not need previous Wikipedia editing experience to participate; there will be facilitators on site to train you. All you need to participate is a personal computer. An "Editing Best Practices" training session will kick off the event at 12:30 pm, with editing support throughout the session.

To Facilitate/Train: If you have experience editing Wikipedia and are willing to help novice editors get started, sign up to be an onsite facilitator for the edit-a-thon. Up to five facilitators will be selected, with preference given to those with Wikipedia editing experience; however experience is not required. In exchange, those five facilitators will receive complimentary registration for the 228th AAS meeting (or reimbursement, if already registered). The application deadline is 3 June. This session has been organized in coordination with the AAS Astronomy Education Board and is financially supported by the Simons Foundation.

When: 15 June, 12:30–3:30pm

Where: Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Aqua Salon C

A light lunch and other refreshments will be provided. The session is open to all attendees; however, we encourage pre-registration. Email Gina Brissenden to reserve your spot.