Help fill gaps in Wikipedia: our Leeds editathon

Written by Mia RidgeSeptember 8, 2022Comments: 0

Exhibition co-curator Mia Ridge explains how you can help improve Wikipedia’s coverage of local lives and topics at a Wikipedia editathon themed around our exhibition.

I’ve spent the past year or so doing deep dives into the history of mechanisation in Leeds and other areas within Yorkshire and Lancashire. In the process I noticed lots of gaps in Wikipedia’s coverage of industrial, textiles and northern history. But the great thing about Wikipedia is that you can be the change you want to see!

Getting started with editing Wikipedia can be a bit intimidating, so we’re collaborating with Dr Lucy Hinnie, the British Library’s fabulous Wikimedian-in-residence, to hold an editathon at Leeds City Museum on the afternoon of October 6th. At Living with Machines Wikithon: Exploring the Margins you’ll learn how to create and edit articles in Wikipedia to help improve its coverage of women and working class figures.

It’s a free event, but you need to book: https://my.leedstickethub.co.uk/19104.

We want to improve records about women who owned and worked in workshops, mills, and factories; the working class folk who pushed for better working conditions; and the employers who worked with them. We’re also interested in significant companies and buildings around Leeds, and the ecosystem of skilled workers and small companies that supported mechanisation in Leeds, from the 1700s to today. Some of the historians who worked on working class lives and collective action are also under-represented, but their biographies can be vital for understanding their work in context.

For example, could we find information about:

  • people who signed the weavers’ petition and provided evidence for Parliamentary Select Committees, including weaving masters and leading weavers
  • working class writers of autobiographies and memoirs
  • the women workers who agitated for strikes in Preston and around
  • the men and women who played on football teams based at northern factories
  • Temple Works and associated figures like John, James Marshall
  • artworks and images that depict factories, like the Girl at the Preston Loom – who painted it? Was it someone in a family that owned mills, as their surname and the focus on the machinery suggests?

Preparing for the editathon

If you’d like to get a head start on editing, you can create your Wikipedia account in advance. The British Library has a handy guide to setting up your Wikipedia account. There is also advice available on creating your accountWikipedia’s username policy and how to create your user page.

You may want to verify your Wikipedia account, which helps show that you’re a responsible user. The easiest and swiftest way to verify your account is to do 10 small edits. You could do this by correcting typos or adding in missing dates. However, another way to do this is to find articles where citations are needed via Citation Hunt, and add missing citations. For further information on adding citations, watching this video may be useful.

Living with Machines Museum Late

If you’re able to stay on afterwards, there are lots of brilliant activities planned for the special Living with Machines Museum Late from 6-10pm on October 6th. Unlike free daytime visits, you need to book for the Late.

A painting of two women working at looms in a factory
William Clegg, Girl at Preston Loom; The Whitaker


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