Interning with the Smithsonian: Update 6

As we progress closer and closer to the edit-a-thon event in April, our agenda and event details are evolving. This update will provide some insight into these changes and how the edit-a-thon is shaping up to be.

Last update I spoke on the profile building I was engaging in to create the material that participants in the event would utilize, such as creating biographies for notable Native American women and adding external links to existing biographies. I have landed at a total of 11 notable women who do not have profiles and I have vetted the sources necessary to at least start Wikipedia pages for them and that fall in line with the editing guidelines put forth by Wikipedia.

Additionally, my last update also noted the efforts by Dr. Montiel and I to involve other staffers and departments of the Smithsonian Institute. We have been able to get in touch with these other areas and a number of people have now joined our project. We began working with the American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) who have previously worked on several edit-a-thon projects in the past and have taken the lead on reaching out to media communication departments within the Smithsonian to solicit participants for the event, obtaining the elusive EventBrite setup, and also providing digital instruction materials for the participants such as a slideshow that shows newcomers to Wikipedia on how to edit and contribute to Wikipedia. Moreover, they have advised us that it would be beneficial to focus more on the editing of existing profiles rather than new article creation due to the anticipated skill level of the edit-a-thon participants. While we have 11 profiles for creation, I will now be focusing on accruing about 40 profiles for revision such as adding images, external link information, and updating language and sources. And finally, the date has been changed from April 15 to April 23. In this discussion, it turns out that the original date for this event was April 23, which was decided before I was fully engaged with the project last year. But in our discussions, it was shifted to April 15…for some reason. I believe it was because we felt it would be better for our target audience (Tribal students), but AWHI advised us that April 23 might work better as it is a Friday.

But, as could be expected, inviting more people to join can sometimes complicate efforts. Because AWHI has a lot of experience in this area, they have started organizing meetings and develop digital material to advertise the event and making decisions internally within their organization apart from what Dr. Montiel and I have already decided. They also want to implement their own graphic to advertise the event despite already having the e-postcard I previously showcased in an earlier update post. While these conflicts could be seen as worrisome, I think this interaction is actually an important part of the learning process during this internship in seeing how internal departments and people work with each other when we all hold our own goals and objectives to accomplish our jobs. Therefore, I look forward to working with AWHI further on these matters to resolve any conflicts and effectively promote our upcoming event.

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