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Wikimedia Foundation awards grant to WVU Libraries


Kelly Doyle will continue her efforts to create new Wikipedia articles about women from West Virginia through a Wikimedia Foundation grant. 

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The Wikimedia Foundation has award West Virginia University Libraries a $52,000 grant to enable Kelly Doyle, the Libraries’ Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity, to continue her efforts at WVU and expand the thriving program to three other universities.

“We are thrilled that the Wikimedia Foundation recognizes WVU Libraries’ contribution to Wikipedia and has chosen to support our continued work of addressing Wikipedia’s gender gap,” said Karen Diaz, interim dean of WVU Libraries. “We are very excited to continue this work and lead the academic library community in Wikipedia initiatives.”

Wikipedia has a well-documented gender gap – nearly 90 percent of the site’s volunteer editors are male – that has resulted in content about men and male-related topics greatly outweighing materials about women and female-related topics. WVU Libraries took the lead in 2015 with the hiring of Doyle as the first WiR for Gender Equity. At its core, a WiR’s role is raising awareness, creating partnerships and organizing communities.

Over the past two years, Doyle has recruited 350 students to create more than 50 new articles on Wikipedia related to women from West Virginia and edit and improve another 100 existing articles.

The Wikimedia grant, which runs through the 2018 calendar year, will enable Doyle to work with three partnering universities – American University Libraries, Ohio State University Libraries and University of Pittsburgh Libraries – to assist them in replicating this program on their campuses. An initial step will be creating training materials based on the experience and information gained at WVU. 

“By collaborating with other libraries and building programming that links to their efforts around information literacy we are excited about building ongoing capacity for libraries to continue the work Kelly has begun and to serve as institutional hosts for this work moving forward,” Diaz said.

A key to success at WVU has been collaborating with student groups for service learning credit. Here and at schools across the country, fraternities, sororities and other organizations require members to engage in service hours each semester to retain membership.

Doyle will guide the partnering institution on attracting volunteer editors, teaching volunteers how to edit Wikipedia, and structuring workshop and edit-a-thon opportunities to librarians and sorority members so that they can complete contributions to Wikipedia that enhance the site’s representation of women in exchange for service hours.

“This project will help us continue our commitment to building gender equity on Wikipedia,” Doyle said. “The universities gain a community of socially and academically engaged students, while the sorority students gain experience and the service credit required of them.” 

Doyle’s successes on campus are highlighted in the latest issue of WVU Magazine in an article titled “Women who are changing the tech world.” Doyle also recently participated in a BBC documentary titled “Utopia: In Search of the Dream.”

This grant was awarded as part of “A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia University.” The fundraising effort by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December.



CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator
West Virginia University Libraries

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