When was the last time you used Wikipedia? With more than 7 billion views a year on over 155,000 health topic pages, Wikipedia may be the most popular online health information resource. Acknowledging that Wikipedia is a highly trafficked source for health-related topics, it is then vital that we strive to improve the content and citations provided in health and medicine articles to ensure that our health professionals, patients, and patrons have access to high-quality, reliable information.
Building on the success of two past events, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine is continuing its efforts to improve consumer health information on Wikipedia with its third Edit-a-Thon on May 6, 2019. Using trusted National Library of Medicine resources like PubMed, MedlinePlus, and Genetics Home Reference, we will be working to add citations to existing Wikipedia articles related to health equity. New to editing Wikipedia? Get ready for the event by watching our past training hosted by Dr. James Heilman, a physician and active WikiProject Medicine editor. In this introductory session, Dr. Heilman provides an overview of the importance of Wikipedia and demonstrates how to add a citation to existing articles.
New for this Edit-a-Thon is an in-person editing session held at the Medical Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. Led by Aimee Gogan, Alicia Lillich, and Elaina Vitale, the immersion session will describe the importance of Wikipedia as a resource for health information and how librarians can utilize their research skills to make Wikipedia a better evidence-based resource. Not only will attendees participate in live editing of health equity articles, they will become part of a community of Wikipedians dedicated to improving health information. If you will be attending MLA, please join us on Monday, May 6 from 2:00 PM – 3:25 PM for this lively and engaging session!
Whether you attend the immersion session at MLA or host an event at your organization, we look forward to working with you on May 6 to improve health equity information on Wikipedia. Check out nnlm.gov/wiki to learn more about the event and make sure to follow along on Twitter throughout the day with the hashtag #citeNLM to ask questions, post photos, and share your Wikipedia experience. See you on May 6!
Coming Soon – Wikipedia + Libraries Health and Medical Information Course
If you would like to learn more about Wikipedia, we have an exciting opportunity for you.
NNLM MCR is supporting OCLC’s WebJunction team as they adapt existing curriculum from their Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together project to create an online course that includes a focus on health and medical information in Wikipedia.
Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together, an online, continuing education training for public library staff, was created and originally delivered by OCLC’s WebJunction program in 2017, as part of an 18-month project to strengthen ties between US public libraries and Wikipedia. The project was made possible with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, and OCLC.
The updated course is being developed with consultation from health and medical information subject matter experts and will be offered for free in Fall 2019 and in Spring of 2020. This course will offer in-depth training into topics such as how the English-language edition of Wikipedia works and how a reader can evaluate the quality and reliability of individual articles. It will introduce learners to active editing, with a focus on improving existing articles, and include a deep dive into uses of Wikipedia in the library
Kim Gile, Community Reference Manager at the Kansas City Public Library, was instrumental in bringing this opportunity to fruition. She suggested the idea for this course to the NNLM MCR and OCLC’s WebJunction team and brought the two groups together to begin this innovative collaboration.