Edit-a-thon assists aspiring Wikipedia editors, highlights female artists online

There was experience to be gained for all at Friday's Edit-a-thon, an annual nationwide event founded by the organization Art+Feminism and hosted at USC by Professors Anna Swartwood House, Amanda Wangwright, Susan Felleman and Evan Meaney of the School of Visual Art and Design. Held in the multimedia classroom on the third floor of Thomas Cooper Library, the event gave students the chance to learn how to edit and author Wikipedia pages while contributing to the site’s limited information on female artists, a topic which concerns art historians to no small degree, Professor Laura Kissel informed the Daily Gamecock.

This is the Edit-a-thon’s second year at the University of South Carolina, and the fourth year since being founded by Art+Feminism, an organization dedicated to making information about under-appreciated artists more accessible to the public. 

“One of the primary reasons we stage this event is to give students and others in the community that opportunity to learn some of the techniques,” Professor Wangwright said, referring to the process of editing and authoring Wikipedia pages, parts of which can be tricky.

Emma Gallagher, a second-year nursing student, and Grace Whitbeck, a second-year psychology student, were both working on an article for prominent Japanese jeweler Miye Matsukata and noted firsthand one of the chief reasons behind the event. “There were a whole bunch of women artists that weren’t represented on Wikipedia, so that was cool to create something,” Gallagher said, to which Witbeck added, “And there was barely anything on [Matsukata] that we could find,” describing their experience.

There was a spirit of change for the better as students and faculty took the opportunity to learn how to participate in such a widely-used provider of free information as Wikipedia.

Third-year public relations student Alycia Hordos attended the event and left wanting to contribute more to Wikipedia in the future.

“I think it’s exciting. Wikipedia’s used by everyone, all over the world, and it’s rewarding, knowing that my words are on a public forum," she said.

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