Introducing WikiProject Women’s History

2011 February 4
Star pupil, 82 years old, reading her lesson in adult class, Gee's Bend, AL, 1939...

Star pupil, 82 years old, reading her lesson in adult class, Gee's Bend, Alabama, 1939. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott/FSA, courtesy of NYPL/Flickr Commons.

After positive feedback on my earlier post about Wikipedia, including a nice post by Knitting Clio, I’ve just started a formal WikiProject to work on improving Wikipedia coverage of women’s history. It’s called WikiProject Women’s History, also accessible by the shortcut WP:WMNHIST.

Anyone can participate, but I’d particularly love to see more professional scholars get involved. I know that there’s significant opposition to Wikipedia in some academic quarters, but I think that the information there isn’t going to get better unless people who actually know this stuff start pitching in. I’d really like WikiProject Women’s History to deploy a good quality scale that helps our students evaluate whether the material in any given entry is trustworthy for their own research. And, as I’ve already said, I think that competent undergrads can be involved in this work very fruitfully as a learning project.

If you’re interested, here’s how to get started:

  • Create a Wikipedia account. If you want to boost the contribution percentages credited to women, fill out your demographic information appropriately (even though it’s not required.)
  • Read a bit about how to contribute to Wikipedia. Start with their page on your first article. For the social conventions of “talk pages,” which are where discussion about individual articles and projects happens, see the talk page guidelines.
  • Edit the WikiProject Women’s History proposal to add your username (in section 2, “Support”) and add any comments in section 3, “Discussion”.)
  • Go to the main page for the WikiProject and help expand our list of articles that should exist. If you’re an experienced Wikipedia editor, you might help reorganize the list if it’s getting unwieldy. If you’re unsure of what to do, ask on the talk page.
  • Once you’ve added anything, no matter how small, to the WikiProject page or to one of the articles mentioned, add your name to the WikiProject Women’s History Members page.
  • Wikipedia’s organized by a kind of benevolent anarchy. If you’re interested in taking a leadership role (formal definition of goals and scope; implementing a quality scale; starting a task force for entries on a particular national context, subfield, or time period) please go ahead. Write a note on the members page about what you’re interested in working on, and start doing it.

Thanks for your interest. Please spread the word about this project to your colleagues and to any relevant mailing lists. Questions can be directed at me here or on my user talk page.

12 Responses
  1. February 5, 2011

    I LOVE this. I agree with you on the need for academics to get involved and believe for the most part that their resistance to wikipedia is outdated and futile. I team teach a high school women’s studies course (Women’s History and Women’s Literature). I am interested in ways that my students and I can get involved in this project. A few years ago a class began writing a wikipedia page about the 1977 women’s conference in Houston. I am ready to publish it and this project has inspired me to do so. Thanks.

    • February 5, 2011

      Molly, that’s great. Please do add the page to the WikiProject list when you’ve posted it. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect yet— that’s what cleanup templates are for. Just mark the sections that you think still need work, and we’ll get to fixing them eventually.

  2. February 7, 2011

    Excellent ~ so glad to hear of this. I’ve been working on building out a new category I created on Wikipedia as part of my undergraduate history class on KY women in the long civil righs era – “History of Women in Kentucky” – I’ll be sure and include mention of your project in all my entries also!

    • February 8, 2011

      Thanks for your interest, Randolph. After some work by Skud, we now have a WikiProject Women’s History template which can be included on the talk page of any entry that’s related to women’s history and should fall under the domain of our improvement efforts. Feel free to use it on your entries by putting the text {{WikiProject Women's History}} at the top of the talk page for a relevant entry. (Those are curly braces, in case this font doesn’t show them well.)


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