Writing Wikipedia

Last June I took part in LCC’s first Wikipedia Edit-a-thon and I’m now an active member of the College’s new Decolonising Wikipedia Network. Prior to this my wikipedia editing experience amounted to adding and removing the same word when facilitating web 2.0 workshops back in the noughties.

The network and last year’s edit-a-thon have involved LCC staff and students, including the LCC Changemakers and collaboration with WikimediaUK.

LCC’s Decolonising Wikipedia Network supports students and staff to become Wikipedia editors and creators in order to increase the visibility and credibility of under-represented and marginalised figures and topics

From: LCC Decolonising Wikipedia Network

Editing Brenda

For the edit-a-thon in June 2020 we were encouraged to find an existing page of a creative practitioner that needed improving. I was keen to find someone with an education angle. Finding a page was much harder than I thought. The people I found either had well-developed pages or no page at all. In the end I found Brenda Rawnsley. Not a person of colour but, as women are really poorly represented on Wikipedia, accounting for only 18% of biographical pages, the page fitted the overall aim of the project.

One reason to bring Wikipedia into educational settings is to help develop information and digital literacies. Wikipedia has three core content policies:

  1. Verifiability
  2. No original research
  3. Neutral point of view

Brenda Rawnsley’s page lacked citations and referrencing reliable sources is essential for the encyclopedia. I found obituaries in several newspapers as well as magazine articles about related art exhibitions. To my suprise our University library had a book on Rawnsley’s School Prints project but COVID-19 scupered my access to it! The catalogue’s Search Articles Plus option also found some recent magazine articles.

These before and after screenshots show how I was able to improve the inline citations.

Screenshot of May 2020 references - one reference.
Before: References (May 2020)
Screenshot of June 2020 references - twelve references.
After: References (June 2020)

I was aided by advice on how-to write women’s biographies from the Wikipedia Women in Red project and Wikipedia’s own detailed training modules.

Introducing Alvaro

I have just finished my first original page. In March I read an article in The Guardian about the black artists selected for The Helpworth Wakefield’s School Prints project 2021. A project inspired by Brenda Rawnsley’s original School Prints. One of the artists – Alvaro Barrington – didn’t have a Wikipedia page. He does now.

With two pages under my belt I’m looking forward to helping other member’s of LCC’s Decolonising Wikipedia Network develop and introduce further pages. I plan to do more too but may switch my focus to my own discipline of digital learning.


We’ve had excellent support from Wikimedia UK in getting the LCC Wikipedia activities off the ground. A keynote for our Academic Leaders Day in 2019 by Wikimedia UK Chief Exec, Lucy Crompton-Reid, was followed by a workshop co-facilitated by her colleague Richard Nevell and UAL Librarian Alexandra Duncan. But kudos to Lucy Panesar and the LCC Changemakers for really making this project a success as one of the college’s decolonisation projects.

Students, Social Media & Job-Hunting

Presentation with LSE Careers Service reporting on our work supporting LSE’s students’ use of social media for job-hunting

Earlier today I was at AGCAS Social Media, London presenting ‘Digital Footprints @ LSE: Supporting students to use social media’ with my partner-in-crime LSE Careers Adviser Judith Baines. We were talking about the sessions we run for students, in particular a termly lunchtime seminar and more recently a Linkedin webinar.

There was a very interesting discussion about digital identities and the emerging “social netiquette”:

  • Is it OK to ignore connection requests
  • If someone recommends you on Linkedin do you need to reciprocate
  • Do you become ‘friends’ with your students
  • and so on…

Developing your web presence

A workshop for librarians, getting them to think about their own presence on the web, building on sessions run for academic staff at the LSE

I delivered this workshop with my colleague Jane Secker who has written more about the content on her own blog, see Managing your web presence. It focuses on getting staff to think about their own identity on the web, bearing in mind that this is how many people will first meet them!  It includes a short session on Writing for the Web.

Linkedin Webinar

Linkedin SmurfsGreat feedback for the first LSE Careers Service / CLT Webinar which focused on using Linkedin

As part of my work with the LSE Careers Service I co-facilitated a Webinar about Linkedin for job-hunting students. It was the first time we had offered a webinar and the first time we had run a session specifically on Linkedin.  The feedback was very positive:

“A really useful talk and a great way to communicate with the careers service. Thank you”

  • 9 out of 12 said they would make more use of Linkedin as a result of attending the webinar
  • All 12 participants want the Careers Service to run more sessions as webinars

The webinar covered 4 topics:

  1. What is Linkedin? Why use it?
  2. Your Profile – Get Noticed
  3. Get Connected
  4. Researching & Getting More Connected

We tried to minimise the chalk-&-talk by building in some interaction: stopping regularly for questions and using the built-in question tools.  It is very easy for the mind (& fingers!) to wander off in a Webinar so you need strategies for dealing with this!

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99zeros/474752493/

Power of the Retweet

It’s easy to forget how things are changing. Today I showed a great diagram I’d found to thousands of people!  3 years ago I might have emailed that diagram to a handful of people that I work directly with.

It all began yesterday afternoon when I came across a picture in a report:

There were a couple of retweets immediately  (the re-posting of another person’s tweet to share it with your own Twitter followers).  Then this morning, a retweet by @josiefraser (who has 6000+ followers) initiated several further retweets.

The final results according tweetreach were that a potential 19, 207 people had seen the tweet which compares with the potential 821 followers of my account.  It’s important to stress the potentially here as many tweets pass by in the stream unseen, plus the Twittersphere is full of abandoned accounts & so on. Even so, it’s very different from an email to a closed network.

Tweetreach screengrab (Graph of Tweet 'Exposure')

Looking at the reach of the retweets I was surprised to see how little overlap there is between the networks of those involved.  Of the 19000+ who might have seen one of the 24 tweets only 3285 saw it multiple times.  I’d wrongly assumed that there would be a much larger overlap between the followers of the likes of @josiefraser & @timbuckteeth