Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wiki-a-thon for Women in Science

On Friday I participated via Twitter in the Wiki-a-thon hosted by the Royal Society to improve/create articles about women scientists in wikipedia.

Ever since I heard about this I thought it was a fantastic idea, and while I couldn't make it to London on Friday I was happy to participate online via the Twitter hashtag #WomenSciWP

During the event I improved the article about Martha Haynes (my former thesis advisor), notable especially as a Henry Draper Medal Winner, and made a new article for Lisa Kaltenegger, a young astronomer (with a dual posting at Harvard and MPIA) who works on exoplanets, and is already notable - she has an asteroid named after her, and was named "America's Young Innovator in Science and Technology in 2007 - and will I'm sure become more notable in the future.

What I missed on the day was the page with the list of scientists the Royal Society suggested needed pages. This is an excellent resource to keep plugging away at improving this area of wikipedia. As soon as I found the list I made two new articles about women astronomers on it who are featured in a book I have on "Women in Early British and Irish Astronomy" (by Mary Bruck). These are Anne Walker and Isis Pogson. I was delighted to notice this morning that the article on Isis has already been expanded beyond the start I made.

During the event @edyong209 tweeted to ask me some questions (and said he was writing an article for Nature about the event). He quoted me in that article which was a nice surprise: Edit-a-Thon Gets Women Scientists into Wikipedia (a note for any twitter skeptics - if I wasn't on twitter I would neither have known about this event, connected with Ed to have this "interview", or been quoted in Nature - an event which got picked up this morning by my University's media stream and emailed to me by my head of department.....).

There's been several other articles about the event too. It seems to have struck a chord which is great.

Throw off the Cloak of Invisibility (by Athene Donald, also in Nature)
Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Brings Women Scientists out of the Shadows (in the Guardian)

And as I write this my book on early British and Irish women astronomers sits on the table next to me, and I'm itching to dig into it to add more women to wikipedia. This might turn out to be a bit addictive!


  1. Wikimedia blog about the event with more links to coverage: http://blog.wikimedia.org.uk/2012/10/the-story-of-ada-lovelace-the-royal-society-and-wikimedia-uk/

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