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Earlier this week, librarians all over the world joined the annual #1Lib1Ref campaign, supported by Wikipedia Library and a number of Wikimedia Affiliates around the world.  They have one goal in mind and that is to improve Wikipedia!

What is it about?

From January 15 to February 5, every librarian around the world is invited to choose their topic of interest on Wikipedia and add one reliable and free-to-read reference to it. As highlighted by Alex Stinson on the Wikimedia blog, this is a chance for librarians to make sure that information on the encyclopedia is verifiable and grounded in reliable sources.

This is a chance for #librarians to make sure that #information on the #encyclopedia is verifiable and grounded in reliable #sources. Click To Tweet

What do librarians have to do?

On the Wikipedia page dedicated to the 1Lib1Ref program, the organizers state that there are a few simple steps to be followed:

1. Find an article that needs a citation. Choose a topic that you love, or find one using Citation Hunt.

2. Find a reliable source that can support that article from any type of reference material.

3. Add a citation using the recommended referencing style by Wikipedia.

4. Add the hashtag #1Lib1Refin the edit summary so Wikipedia can track all the citations that were added through the project.

5. Publish the changes.

6. Share your edit on social media and connect with other librarians worldwide.

(information taken from The Wikipedia Library page. Click here to read all the details regarding the steps to be followed)

Why is the campaign important?

One good reason would be because Wikipedia is the most used source of information. It is usually people’s first choice when searching for information, not necessarily because they prefer it, but also because it is the search engine’s top-ranked result. But let’s face it, we all love the structured and straightforward way to read information on Wikipedia, right?

But as Alex Stinson, one of the project organizers, highlights in our discussion “Wikipedias in most languages have a number of biases that reflect the systemic biases of society at large, including an imbalance of Women contributors, poor representation of women, poor representation of knowledge and culture from non-European/North American parts of the world. Librarians are in one of the best positions to help address this situation.”

Another good reason is that librarians are a trusted source of information and they have positioned themselves as a fake news debunker. The statistics from The Pew Research Center show that the library is the best source for reliable and trustworthy information and it is gaining more confidence than most media outlets. So, what better way to educate people in using the right sources than making their most used source of information more reliable?

Also Alex Stinson adds that another critical reason is that Wikipedia and libraries are working on much the same outcome: sharing information with the public, and as they mention in the blog post earlier in the week: “its also really important, that we bring information professionals into the conversation as our movement strives to meet our goals”.

A fun and informational #event dedicated to raising awareness regarding the #1Lib1Ref project could be a great way for the #library community to get together. Click To Tweet

A more attractive reason is the possibility to create a new event at the library. A fun and informational event dedicated to raising awareness regarding the #1Lib1Ref project could be a great way for the staff to get together and bond. For example, the University of Minnesota Libraries hosted a Wikipedia edit-a-thon where they invited the whole library community to participate.

What is it in for librarians?

As pointed out by Alex Stinson, one of the 1Lib1Ref organizers, the main benefits of being part of the project would be:

The chance to practice your research skills on something for a broad public.

It’s fun! (it’s like asking reference questions about topics you are interested in!).

Learning how Wikipedia works, helps strengthen people’s ability for explaining internet research, and Wikipedia’s role in it, to patrons.

It’s a chance to talk with colleagues about the challenges created by fake news, the proliferation of information sources on the internet, and how to disseminate citations and other reference materials to improve access to information on the internet.

We can add:

More awareness for libraries.

A new chance to connect with the whole library community.

More access to trustworthy information for the citizens.

A new way to fight the fake news phenomenon.

To conclude, Wikipedia and librarians have the same mission: to offer free and unconditioned access to knowledge. This way, they can partner up to make sure that the right information is shared. On Monday, Wikipedia turned 17 years old. So what other birthday gifts can you offer to this awesome platform than a trustworthy piece of information?

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the 1 librarian adding 1 reference to Wikipedia project. We’ve gathered all the information about the project for you, so you can add a citation now! Here you can find the official website of the project. Curious about what’s happening with the event in the future? You can follow the page on social media on Facebook or Twitter and don’t forget about the #1Lib1Ref hashtag.

We will be back next week with another interesting article! Find us on social media via Facebook or Twitter and read the latest developments in libraries from around the world. 

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