So here's the thing; I am somewhat introverted (an introverted librarian, I know, right?). I have never written a blog post before but I really want to push myself this year to do new things and to really challenge my boundaries. I've pushed my comfort zone and kicked off the year by joining the ALIA Sydney committee and progressed quickly to attending NLS6, my 1st ever conference. At NLS6 I was really challenged and one of the big things that stuck with me was the keynote presentation by Sue Gardner.
Sue Gardner is the executive director of the Wikimedia foundation which is a non-profit organisation which operates Wikipedia and a number of other projects. The mission of the Wikimedia foundation is "...to empower a global volunteer community to collect and develop the world's knowledge and to make it available to everyone for free, for any purpose."
Sue Gardner was so passionate about Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and all that it stands for that I couldn't help but be caught up in her presentation, which was not only informative but entertaining and inspiring. Don't get me wrong all of the presentations I attended at NLS6 were encouraging and entertaining but coming back to the daily grind of work as an intern I was hit with reality. Here I am at the bottom of the ladder, how can I possibly make a difference?
How about contributing to Wikipedia? I'm not really sure about what yet, but Sue Gardner really challenged the audience. We are librarians (and other information specialists) we have access to resources, we have training in "How to find stuff" and most of all we have a passion for enabling people to access information. What better way to assist people in accessing information than through a medium they are accustomed. With half a billion people around the world relying on Wikipedia for information should we as librarians not have a more active role in 'collecting and developing the world's knowledge'. This is something I have never considered before, it is a huge ask.
The idea of being a Wikipedian is to find a topic that interests you and credible sources to support your writings. Which is something librarians are good at. This is an important issue for a resource endeavoring to be an encyclopedia that contains the world's knowledge. She really got me thinking about how could I help? Contribute! In any way, I think I may start small and begin by attempting to edit and then progress to attempting to write an article. I am in awe of the people (like Tara Macphail and Tony Naar) at Wikimedia Australia that are volunteering their time to create articles about Aussie Paralympics for Wikipedia which lacked information about these inspiring athletes.
And Sue Gardner made it sound like so much fun, there is a huge community of wikipedians ready to share knowledge and collaborate with you. They are passionate about Wikipedia and I would suggest checking our her blog at: http://suegardner.org/.
She's even provided a 'how to' guide on her blog: http://suegardner.org/2012/08/15/how-to-write-a-wikipedia-article-its-easy/
So I guess here I am setting myself up for another challenge and you all along with me, how about contributing to Wikipedia?