An edit-a-thon (sometimes written editathon) is an organized event where editors in a community edit and improve a specific topic or type of content, typically including basic editing training for new editors ("Edit-a-thon").
Wikipedia attracts millions of visitors every month and it is the #5 most popular website in the world after Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Baidu (Chinese search engine). In order to correct any bias from editors, Wikipedia edit-a-thons have sprung up to edit and populate Wikipedia with more diverse content.
Numerous edit-a-thons have taken place to correct the racial bias towards African Americans during Black History Month, Hispanics during Hispanic Heritage Month, and the gender bias during Women's History Month. In recognition of Black History the librarians at Berkeley College have decided to work with students to update articles in order to recognize the contributions of the African American community.
A wiki is a type of website whose contents can be edited from the web browser, and which keeps a version history for each editable page. Wikis are often, but not always, editable by any visitor to the site.
Definition of a Wiki taken from Media Wiki page on the Differences between Wikipedia, Wikimedia, MediaWiki, and wiki.
Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia, written collaboratively by the people who use it. It is a special type of website designed to make collaboration easy, called a wiki. Many people are constantly improving Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour.
"While there is no doubt that Wikipedia is a useful resource for almost any topic imaginable, many instructors discourage, even reject, papers that rely on Wikipedia as a source because they question the accuracy and validity of the content. Instead, instructors are asking students to cite primary or secondary source material."
Museum of Boulder Inclusipedia logo
Content on Wikipedia suffers from bias of its editors. The characteristics of 90% of the English Wikipedia editors are:
3. Formally educated
4. English speaking (native or non-native)
5. Aged 15-49
6. From a majority Christian country
7. From a developed nation
8. From the Northern hemisphere
9. Employed as a white-collar worker
In addition to diversifying Wikipedia's base of editors, a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon offers a unique and hands on approach to teaching information literacy. An edit-a-thon addresses each of the frames from the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education that was developed by the Association for College Research Libraries (ACR) , which is a division of the American Library Association. An examination of the correlation between an edit-a-thon and the Framework is outlined below.
Authority is Constructed and Contextual
Editors must question the authority of articles to be edited and ask themselves whether the article is biased or contains inaccurate information.
Information Creation as a Process
The English-language Wikipedia contains more than five million articles – and yet there are significant gaps in certain subject areas. Hosting an edit-a-thon with a dedicated theme can help to fill those gaps and understand the underlying reasons for information creation and need.
Information has Value
By editing articles based on a dedicated theme, students should be able to recognize issues of access or lack of access to information sources. In addition, students should be able to better understand and recognize the time and effort needed to produce knowledge
Research as Inquiry
Editing or creating a Wikipedia article requires selecting a topic and scope, tracking down sources by generating a search strategy, composing text and citing sources.
Scholarship as Conversation
Students will be able to see themselves as contributors to scholarship rather than only consumers of it. In addition, students should be able to recognize the changes in scholarly perspective over time within a specific discipline or subject.
Searching as Strategic Exploration
Students will identify interested parties, such as scholars, organizations, governments and industries, who might produce information about a topic and then determine how to access that information. Students will also learn how to refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on their search results.